Hi everyone! I’m currently sitting on the Washington Deluxe bus going back to New York City from Washington DC. I figured that it would be wise to write this post since everything is still fresh on my mind. We spent about 3 nights in Washington at the Donovan House Hotel (not the best hotel I’ve stayed at, it’s on the average side), which is a Kimpton Hotel and if I had to compare it to New York, New York wins hands down! That’s a personal preference of course but culturally speaking, Washington definitely has more cultural activities to offer such as museums, memorials, the national zoo, the national cathedral and the list can go on. Was 4 days and 3 nights enough to see everything? Absolutely not! Below are 5 tourist hacks for Washington DC, gained from personal experience of course because there’s no better way to learn than to experience it yourself!
1. Be your own tour guide
You know those Citysights or Big Bus hop on hop off busses? Whatever you do, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT book a tour with those. Unfortunately we paid about $50 per person for a 48 hour loop bus but don’t be fooled, they only run from 9am to 5pm on a daily basis and if you want to take a tour at night, you have to pay another $50 per person. Trust me 8 hours go by extremely quickly and there are 4 loops in total, each loop taking over 2 hours to complete because it has to stop every 5-10min. Plus the worst part is you spend half your day waiting for a bus at the stop, they say that the bus should come every 30min but do they come every 30min? NO!
Here is what you should do:
Go on one of these city busses websites and download the map, print it out and circle all the places you want to go. They always go to the top tourist attractions. Then go purchase yourself a metro card for the metro busses and the rail (there are more metro bus stops than these hop on hop off ones). Generally tourist maps will probably cost you around $2 but it’s well worth it. Make sure you plan in advance, see where the nearest metro bus stop is for each place you want to go and be your own guide.
2. For those who are travelling on a budget
There are tons of places to visit and see that don’t charge you an entrance fee, just go look up Smithsonian Institution museums. The Smithsonian Institution is the world’s largest museum and research complex, their objective is to increase and diffuse knowledge, hence all their museums and galleries requires no entrance charge. The institution is administered by the United States Government and trust me, their museums and galleries are not only very impressive but well worth visiting.
3. Carry an umbrella
Whatever you do, make sure you carry a small umbrella with you in your handbag because from what I’ve heard and experienced, Washington has more rainfall than Seattle, which is a lot apparently. So don’t risk it, just carry an umbrella. The weather seemed a little unpredictable while I was here (end of October), on the day we arrived, it was 26 degrees and the rest of the days were 14 degrees and that’s a huge difference. It would be sunny in the morning and then grey and cloudy in the afternoon. Keep your umbrella in a ziplock bag because you don’t want to walk around holding a wet umbrella when it stops raining but you also don’t want it to wet your handbag.
4. Georgetown is a must
Of course you can’t only go see museums, monuments and galleries in Washington. You also need to relax and do some shopping and I personally think Georgetown is perfect for that purpose. It’s the oldest town in Washington and it is named after the King George II of Great Britain. It’s the perfect place if you’re looking to explore and hang out in a trendy town with lots of boutique stores, cafes, restaurants and bars. Walk down the beautiful cobble stone streets and just admire the beautiful architecture of the town.
5. Keep snacks on you
Food is something you actually have to make time for when you’re travelling, unless you’ve planned in advance and made some reservations at your favourite restaurants. We hardly ever book the hotel with breakfast because sometimes you really just want to sleep in a little and not have to rush downstairs for breakfast or mostly likely you want an early start to your day and the last thing you want is to spend an hour having a breakfast buffet. Breakfast can be healthy and simple when you’re travelling, head to your nearest CVS (they are everywhere) and stock up on some greek yogurt, muesli, fruit or instant oats and voila! Breakfast sorted! Of course coffee can be pre ordered as room service or just head to a Starbucks (my personal favourite is the pumpkin spice latte). Make sure you keep a small pack of nuts or biscuits just in case you’re hungry and you’re in the middle of something, it should keep you satisfied till you get to a restaurant.
Also, there are so many parks, you might want to make a friend or two like I did with my popcorn! 🙂
Hope you enjoyed this post! Happy travelling! If you want to see more photos from my trip, make sure to share this post and comment below!