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How to organize a last minute trip to Washington DC and save

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Last weekend I organized a last minute trip to Washington DC. In this post, I will tell you about the savings I’ve made as I discovered some great deals. I will let you know what was interesting to see, what I would do differently next time, and where I went on the way. Enjoy!

how to save on a trip to washington what to see in Washington travel adventure bucket list

How I saved $212 on my weekend getaway in Washington DC

Deciding on a destination

Usually organizing a trip last minute means you will pay extra. With many apps available you can actually save. Here is my last weekend trip cost compared to my standard ways to book holidays.I looked at the weather forecast on Friday and yet another weekend in NYC was going to be raining. I checked Washington & Boston as I wanted to see those two cities. It appeared as the weather was going to be 28C/82F and 31C/88F degrees Sat & Sunday respectively in Washington. Boston was much cooler so I decided on Washington.

Renting a car

First thing I would normally do I would go to Booking or Expedia and book car and hotel. Instead, I booked a car for 2 days through this page and paid less than $50 in total. A week earlier when I ordered a car for 1 day only I paid $94, so it is 75% in savings. So happy I found this page. I had a car from Enterprise, but I paid through this website so the price was significantly lower.

Booking a hotel

Next thing was a hotel. I went on Booking and Expedia and looked at the prices. Lowest was around $130 but as there were plenty of hotels available I wasn’t in a rush to book it so I gave myself time to look elsewhere. I noticed I had this app on my phone for quite a bit and decided to give it a try. What I found was a 30% lower price on the same hotel I found on Booking, which was also very close to Capitol Hill.

This app is great for last minute hotel deals. My Hotel was discounted 30% but note this was the cheapest hotel already. You could easily find 4-star hotels discounted as much as 50%.

The only thing I wasn’t sure was the location- Chinatown. In NYC Chinatown is very specific and even though from the pictures it looked like the hotel is brand new I wanted to see it first to check out the area. When we came to Washington and found the Hotel, we were very surprised how clean and different Chinatown is in Washington compared to NYC. We loved the location, staff, room everything about the hotel. Additionally, you can get a tea/coffee in the Panera next door, which was very convenient considering the temperature outside. All you had to do was to show your hotel key card.

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Looking for parking spot

Another big saving was parking. We needed to park our car for at least 24h, standard price was $50 in the carpark next to hotel but I found an app which was showing prices based on the location and timeframe. Our parking was $10. It was exactly the same parking that would charge us $50 if we didn’t book it through this app. On Sunday we could park for free on any street in the city and we took advantage of it, parking next to visited museums.

Use THIS link and get $5 off your first parking.

Savings

With the standard way of booking, I would have paid $188 for car + $130 for the same hotel I was in + parking would have cost me $50. Total: $368

With my last minute booking, I paid $46 for car +$100 for hotel and $10 for parking. Total $156, this is 58% or $212 in savings

What to see in Washington DC

When first time in DC you would probably want to see the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Capitol, and Museums. Smithsonian Museums are all free, all next to each other, hard to overlook.  The Museum everyone recommended us was Air & Space Museum, but we couldn’t decide on others as we knew we don’t have time to see all of them. I went on Instagram and started searching #dcmuseum. Hirshhorne Museum was in some pictures that I really liked, unfortunately, all those exhibitions were already closed. We also went to National Portrait Gallery. I think we would need 1 or 2 more days to visit all museums.

What I would do differently next time

The distance between hotel –>Capitol –>Washington Monument –> White House–> back to Washington Monument –>Lincoln Memorial and back to the hotel is quite big. We took Lyft 4 times during this 2 days, just to travel around 1 mile. Each ride was between $6-8. This is not bad considering it was two of us, we would probably spend the same in the subway. There were bicycles though that I was very tempted to take and I definitely would next time. Bikes look like the NYC city bikes, the only difference this are red not blue and are cheaper than in NYC. You can pay $2 per 30min ride or $8 per day. Additionally $8 one time service charge. All in all it would have been around $16 for 24h per person which is not bad.

We didn’t go to Georgetown, I am not even sure why we forgot about it. Maybe because when we went 14th st in U st direction all the buildings in the surrounding looked like the ones I saw on pictures from Georgetown. Next time I would go there with a bike.

bicycle washington

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On the way to Washington DC

On the way to Washington, we thought about stopping in Philadelphia or Baltimore. We decided on 1 stop in Baltimore. On our way there we went to a great restaurant: Lib’s Grill. I had a lobster roll and mimosa, for a good start brunch and my husband had a burger- as usual. He had 3 burgers during 2 days 🙂 Clearly, we are eating differently. The village we stopped in, Perry Hall was really beautiful. I didn’t take any pictures as I was focused on navigating, but it was idyllic. The quietest, cleanest, greenest village I’ve seen in a long time. A few minutes later we were in Baltimore. I would recommend checking out the Barnes and Noble store in the Harbor as the architecture inside is terrific. We only went to Baltimore Harbor, we loved it, you can rent out a dragon for $20 for 30 mins.

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So this is how I  my last minute trip to Washington DC. Let me know what do you recommend to see and if you know any more ways to save,

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Tags: what to see in Washington DC, last minute trip to washington dc, dc sightseeing, how to save on DC trip

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Joanna
Joanna

Hi, my name is Joanna, I started this blog in Jan 2017. I created posts about beauty, fashion, travel, rabbits, money blogging ect. Simply put: all the stuff I care about. After 10 months I realized my blog is not getting enough traffic so I dived into research. Till Oct 2017 I only had around 700 visitors on my blog per month. Then I implemented my Pinterest strategy and automated my pinning with my own build tool – PinMeApp. In Nov 2017 I got 3300 page views and then in Dec 2017 8500. That is how my app was born: PinMeApp. I wanted to help others grow traffic to their sites as well. Today I offer subscription for my app, but I also teach people my Pinterest strategy, step by step what I did to grow the traffic so fast, so this blog is now getting around 20k page views each month. I also offer Pinterest Management and implement my strategy for brands who want to reach their audience on Pinterest as well. My Pinterest account reaches over 5m people monthly. If you want such results feel free to contact me. Cheers, Joanna

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