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Sightseeing During Transfer?

London
12 posts
Sightseeing During Transfer?

There are people on TA far more sensible than me...but we are landing at DCA from MCO at 16:49 on a Thursday in January. I am then flying from IAD at 22:40 same day. I would really like to divert via a site seeing location even if we can't get out of the car so for example pass the White House, or the big Abraham Lincoln statue as part of the transfer. Is that realistic in the time? Or is it too risky? And does anyone have any idea how I could arrange if it is? A simple transfer type company I arrange in advance are unlikely to be able to cater for this?

9 replies to this topic
Maryland
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
Level Contributor
62,481 posts
48 reviews
1. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

“Is that realistic in the time? ”

No. Not really.

We don’t typically use military time here. So...

You’re landing at DCA at 4:49 pm. Which is essentially the height of rush hour. Then you’re leaving IAD at 10:40 pm.

Is the IAD departure international? If so, they recommend arriving 3 hours in advance.

Will you have checked baggage? It might be close to 5:30 by the time you get that and get in a taxi to Dulles.

Then plan on an hour to get to Dulles. Might be less, but not enough time to head the opposite direction into the city at rush hour.

DC
Level Contributor
2,460 posts
1 review
2. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

You should have enough time. You will have to arrange this through a limo service. I'm not familiar with these, but others may have suggestions.

You would enter DC via the 14th St. Bridge. I would recommend going east along the Mall or on Independence Ave., looping around the Capitol and then heading west on Constitution Ave. There will be enough traffic that you would move at an appropriately leisurely pace for sightseeing. You might even have enough time to stop briefly at the Lincoln Memorial (the most impressive of the memorials) before continuing on to IAD.

London
12 posts
3. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

Thanks very much. Does anyone have any ideas regards who to use?

Maryland
Level Contributor
223 posts
4. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

You could either use Uber/Lyft/taxi or take an airport shuttle:

https:/…

Maryland
Level Contributor
223 posts
5. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

I meant to add --- take an Uber/taxi/shuttle between DCA and IAD. Agree with the other posters that you don't have time to see any sites in DC.

DC
Level Contributor
2,460 posts
1 review
6. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

A quick drive-through of the sites you want to see is a detour on your way to IAD. Instead of taking the GW Parkway to I-66, you exit at the 14th St. Bridge and do a loop around the Mall. At the end of your loop, you get on I-66 at the Teddy Roosevelt Bridge. It's maybe a 45 minute detour from a direct drive at rush hour. And you don't have to be at IAD three hours before a 10:40 pm departure. The airport is pretty quiet in the early evening. Two hours is plenty of time. Take it from someone who has done it too many times.

Arlington, Virginia
Destination Expert
for Arlington
Level Contributor
3,114 posts
49 reviews
7. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

If your DCA flight arrives on time, and if the weather isn't bad (e.g. snow or heavy rain, which plays havoc with traffic), this is very safely achievable. With a 4:49 scheduled landing, and checked bags, you'll likely be into the taxi line by 5:30. You don't need to be stepping through the front door of Dulles until 8:40 PM.

Yes, the airlines WANT you there three hours early for an international flight (to make their lives easier with luggage handling and document checks), but you don't NEED to be there until two hours prior (unless you have status with your airline I would take that two hours seriously, though, as the check-in lines for some of the carriers can get quite long. With status / premium cabin, you can arrive 90 minutes prior and be fine).

Give yourself a 30 minute cushion, and target arrival at IAD by 8:10. That means leaving the monument zone downtown around 6:50 PM. That gives you an hour and 20 minutes to cross the river from DCA, drive about the monuments, and head to IAD. If the weather is good, and if you can easily wheel your bags about, you might even consider taking a taxi from the airport to the Lincoln Memorial, having it drop you there, and walking around a bit before catching a second taxi to the airport. There is a cab stand at the north side of the Lincoln Memorial that should have cabs during that period. Or, alternatively, ask the driver who drops you if they want to pick you up at location X at time Y, to drive you to Dulles. They'll likely appreciate the fare out to Dulles as it's a good long ride for them.

Edited: 11:41 am, November 16, 2018
Aldie, Virginia
Level Contributor
285 posts
92 reviews
8. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

<<unless you have status with your airline I would take that two hours seriously, though, as the check-in lines for some of the carriers can get quite long>>

If you are not checking bags, I strongly recommend that you print out your boarding passes at your hotel in Orlando. That way you'll be able to skip the airline check-in lines and go straight to security.

DC
Level Contributor
2,460 posts
1 review
9. Re: Sightseeing During Transfer?

I want to emphasize that you should not do this with a taxi and probably not with an Uber/Lyft. Those drivers want to get you from A to B as quickly as possible and you're costing them by requesting a route other than what they would choose. Maybe if you offer the driver a substantial extra tip, but you're better off arranging this in advance with a car service so there won't be any discussions/negotiations necessary when you start out.

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