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Washington DC is the place to be. This iconic destination makes for a perfect holiday vacation.
However, with so much available to see and do, planning a trip to Washington can be overwhelming. The last thing you want is to arrive with no plan of action and get swallowed by the crowd.
To give yourself the best head start and to help you plan for an amazing and stress-free vacation, this guide will give you all you need to know on planning your perfect trip to Washington.
How long to spend in Washington DC
Spending three to five days in Washington is ample time to see the highlights of the city. This will allow enough time for you to see the top attractions available as well as test out a couple of other activities and restaurants. However, if there’s more you want to do and see and three to five days is not enough time, you can always extend your holiday to cater to your trip itinerary. You can also, of course, plan a day trip to Washington DC from NYC. If you plan according, there is plenty you can see.
When to visit
Washington DC is a great vacation destination all year round. Summer is an extremely popular time of the year with people visiting for a vacation, this is a great time to visit if you love a bit of hustle and bustle. Spring and fall are great seasons for experiencing the beauty of Washington, especially with the Cherry Blossom Festival. There’s nothing more magical than Washington at Christmas. This is a great time to visit if you want to see the lighting of the Christmas tree.
Places to stay in Washington DC
Where you stay really depends on your budget for the trip. Washington offers a wide variety of accommodations from boutique hotels to economical hostels. The closer you are to the center, the more expensive it’s going to be. But, the perk of being close is that you’re super close to all of the attractions. However, if you’re looking to save money on accommodation or you’re not too bothered about being in the center of it all, look a little further afield. Suburbs such as Alexandria, Arlington, or Bethesda are great places to stay in Washington DC and are only a short metro/ taxi ride away.
Make sure to book the accommodation for your trip way in advance to avoid disappointment. The best plan is to book it as soon as your trip has been finalized.
The White House is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Washington DC, whether you’re looking for a quick photo of it or you’re wanting a full tour to see it all. The White House is an iconic building home to every president of America.
For anyone looking for a tour, it’s advised that you book well in advance to avoid any disappointment. Whilst White House tours are free, they are offered on a first come first serve basis and are often limited. Due to the popularity of the destination, it’s a go-to for most visitors which means it comes with a long waiting time. To tour the White House, it’s important to book ahead, US citizens will need to submit a request to visit through your state congressman. But, if you’re traveling from another country, you’ll need to submit a request to your embassy. The best plan of action is to plan your trip well in advance and get the ball rolling. It’s required that you book your ticket at least 21 days in advance. However, if you want a better chance of getting the tour, it’s advised that you put a request in between 3-6 months before your trip.
If you’re not too bothered about having a tour, you can still get some pretty fantastic views from the outside of the building. Through the gates, you’ll be able to see the front and back of the building.
Other must-see destinations:
- The US Capitol building
- Washington monument
- US Holocaust Memorial Museum
- The National Mall
What to do
Ticking off sightseeing from your to-do list is just a small part of your Washington DC experience. The list of places to see and activities to do is unimaginable. From experiencing live music and theatre productions to attending sporting events and museum exhibits, the list is endless. With so much on offer, there is something for everyone. However, with so much on offer, Washington is a popular destination for visitors all year round and so to make the most of your trip and to get the chance to see and do everything you want to, book way in advance.
Booking in advance also applies to restaurants. Once you’ve booked your trip and planned your itinerary, the next stage is to figure out where you want to go for food. Once you’ve narrowed down the main restaurants you’d like to go to, book way in advance to avoid any disappointment. The perk of this is that if your itinerary changes and you can no longer attend the booking you can cancel. It’s better to have something planned and booked than to be scouring frantically when you’re hungry on the day.
How to get around
There’s no need to hire a car in Washington unless you’re planning on staying a couple of weeks and looking to go further afield. With multiple transport options available, getting around will be a breeze. The city offers public transportation including the metro and buses. Other options include taxi services or uber.
With everything Washington has to offer, the city makes the perfect destination for a vacation. By putting a solid plan in place before your trip, you’ll be able to enjoy your vacation to the fullest.