Sunday, June 08, 2008

Washington DC Travel Advice

I have just spent three nights in Washington, DC. I have some travel advice for anyone who is going to DC. I am not going to spend much time telling you what went wrong because the stuff that went right was so very good to know.

If you are driving, do not drive into DC if you can help it. Parking is expensive, if you can find it. Last time we went to DC we witnessed some on-street "touch" parking, and were amazed that the nearest parking businesses near our hotel (it had 17 full spaces in the back) charged $10/day and you had no access to your vehicle for 8-10 hours each day.

This time, we decided to find out what commuters do. The Metro website is absolutely what you need. Click on a stop on the map and mid-way down the page is a link to Google. Zoom out once and you can easily drag your way around to nearby metro stations. Search for hotels on this map and get one close to a Metro station. If you have an AAA card, see if the hotel you've chosen offers that discount - it's usually good for about $10/night savings.

Park at one of the stations that has a car on the Metro map. Leave your car there for your entire trip. Let me explain how that works. They will charge you to leave the parking lot on week-days. The one we parked at was $4.95. We thought, Ok, we arrive Thursday and leave Sunday - that's going to be two weekdays at the very least. Wrong. If you park on Monday and leave on Thursday you pay ... Thursday. If you park on Wednesday and leave on Sunday you pay ... nothing. They charge you to leave the parking lot on week-days. So if you always plan your stay to leave the parking lot on a Saturday or Sunday, your entire parking experience is free.

That was such a wonderful surprise! Thank you, Washington DC!

On the down side, we were near the White House. Very few businesses are open in the area outside regular office business hours. We had to find the Starbucks and McDonald's in the neighborhood to be able to breakfast on Sunday for less than the hotel $14.95 breakfast buffet! This is not the case all over DC. But this time, we had a hard time finding food!

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Anonymous Bobbi said...

Good to know. Thanks for sharing!

June 09, 2008 5:18 PM  

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