After 3 years of living in the area, we have come up with a few Travel Tips for Washington DC.
We love to travel but the most important thing to me for my travel plans is saving money so I can stay on a budget. I will share with you all our great tips on traveling through Washington D.C. and how easy it is to stay on a budget when touring the Capitol.
Why pay more when you don’t have to is my motto. I want to have a travel experiences that doesn’t revolve around spending my life savings.
Washington DC is a great place to visit for a 4 day getaway. With wonderful ethnic food from all cultures. Washington D.C. is so diverse you can't go wrong finding your favorite foods.
If you don't want to sit down there is no shortage of street Food Trucks exhibit with their own special touch for all different taste buds.
Growing up I never thought a food truck was the way to go, but let me tell you that I was wrong. Since most of these food truck owners have their own restaurant. They can be found alongside the road next to the Washington Monument.
When I started traveling I would always make a list of everything I wanted to see so I can plan my day for a little of everything. On our last day of touring DC, we decided to visit the Vietnam Wall and see the area before we started packing for our next move.
It’s a special place with so many veterans that come to visit every day. I admit, I started crying when I saw all those names. I just could not believe how many sons, fathers, and brothers have died during this war.
The names are engraved so clear on black marble that reflects your own image. It is truly a symbol of honor with sadness that is overwhelming. When we were walking by, it was hard to notice because it is underground in the park when you begin to walk down.
Almost like a burial for the soldiers to rest. In this past year of traveling, I have never seen such sadness from families or others traveling solo with no one by their side while visiting some of DC memorials.
First thing to consider when planning a trip to the area are the hotels and if the hotel room is close walking distance to everything. This makes it easy to figure out if a car is need for the area. I would not rent a car, but fly since it's so easy to get around in Washington D.C.
The hotels will typically charge $35 to $45 a day to park the car. Not to mention that parking anywhere in town is very expensive and not easy to get in and out. Unless I do a road trip I don’t usually rent a car in any metropolitan area. Not to mention road trips are my husbands favorite since he says you get to see everything.
Flying into DCA? The Metro can be picked up right outside of the airport. The DC Metro subway system charges you based on distance and how far you travel, not to mention you have all the busses available at your leisure, making travel so easy and inexpensive. There is also the Potomac River with a water taxi services that makes it easy to get around Washington DC. and even see the cherry blossoms in springtime.
Travel Tip Video Tour
Places to Stay
There are tons of hotels in the area in addition to all the AirBnB. The question is how soon should should one book a hotel? I usually do it 3 months in advance because it’s always cheaper. I also don’t pick high season to make it super affordable. I always try an be open minded on picking the best yet the most affordable places to stay to make the trip super fun.Let's remember, we all have to work full time to go on vacation.
Don't forget buying travel insurance in case something comes up, but please read the fine print on what's covered. I have to say it helped us out going on our Paris vacation trip when my in-laws became ill.
- Holiday Inn Washington DC – Capitol
- Mandarin Oriental, Washington, D.C - great for Cherry Blossom Season!
- Hyatt Place Washington DC/National Mall
For the most part, people that come to visit the Capitol will be doing a lot of walking. So pack light so you can get into the Metro and Uber without carrying 3 pieces of luggage with you. It can get pretty tiring. The most important thing that I don’t forget, is my backpack. It’s light to carry your passport photo, water, snacks and not to mention medicine if needed.
I travel with it during that day and never over pack or else it gets to heavy while walking around the entire day. Believe me I have over packed in my early days and I’ve learned the hard way and I don’t make that mistake anymore. Sometimes it's a challenge for us girls to pack light. Unfortunately, my husband gets furious since he has to carry all the luggage when we travel. Opps!
Things I pack in my backpack
- granola bar
- screw top water bottle
- trail mix
- hair tie
- map of the area
- hand sanitize
Things to do - FREE!
You can find many area attractions on my travel blog section and can give you an idea of things to do in Washington DC if you decide to visit. Now for some of us in the United States we don’t travel the world every month, but when I’m in D.C. there are is no shortage of people from around the world visiting.
I hear every language from countries all over the world not to mention visitors from every state. It truly is one of the most diverse areas I have ever seen in the USA which I think out beats New York City's multi-culture. Don't worry though everyone speaks the local language of english when in DC.
- Smithsonian National Museum is a great place for a quick look at American history.
- National Mall will have you touring the great monuments of DC just follow the trail.
- National Capital has officially been dynamic city with plenty of highs and lows the last few years so make sure to take a tour where all the arguments begin!
- Renwick Gallery should not be missed, a true art world in America.
- Holocaust Museum is the saddest place we visited but a reality of war and human suffering.
- White House is a must if your in the area. It’s a small home with lots of security.
Places to Eat
With DC becoming a top tier foodie destination, making reservations is a must to some of the fancy food places in town when traveling 4 or more. If your like me, I like to explore for food. I feel like a hunter trying to find the perfect bite. Here are a few of my favorites since I have been living in town.
- Food Trucks are a must when your in town which you’ll see them all over town.
- Curry Pie is the best Indian food I have had while being in DC.
- Paul’s for a croissant and latte made me feel like I was back in Paris.
- Lady Camellia for afternoon tea and pastries, this is my pick.
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