I posted this originally in the Alexandria, VA, forum and it was suggested that I post it here as well. So for your reading enjoyment....
Recently I had a business trip to Alexandria, VA. Typically I just fly in/out of Regan National and either get a hotel shuttle (when available), use the metro or grab a cab (if tight on time). However, this year the airfare into Regan National was just ridiculously expensive and since I avoid Dulles like the plague, I looked at BWI as an option. Sure enough I found a very reasonable rate for a direct flight from Cleveland to BWI. Now, how do I get from BWI to my hotel in Alexandria?
Well, I did some searching on the web and also searched a few of the TA forums. There are a lot of options. I read something about a train to Union Station then the metro to Alexandria followed by a short walk to my hotel…there might have been a bus in there as well. But the discussion of that option also included the comment “I would not want to do this with a lot of luggage” so I kept looking. In the end, I opted for a shared ride service, the Super Shuttle, and that worked out very well for my situation. The major reason that the shared ride worked for me was that I was not in a rush either getting to Alexandria (as I was arriving on Monday in the early evening and my meetings did not start until Tuesday morning) or getting back to BWI (since I changed base following the conclusion of my meetings and spent the night at a hotel next to BWI and caught an early morning flight home on Friday).
A few notes:
As mentioned, the carrier was Super Shuttle (the blue vans with the yellow lettering). However, I booked the trip from BWI to Alexandria through DC Tours (that’s who came up with the best price on the web search). Cost for the inbound trip was $38. The return trip I booked directly with Super Shuttle and that price was $47. So I reckon you can save a little money by booking through DC tours.
On the way from BWI to Alexandria (I was staying at the Westin Alexandria), there were three other passengers, each going to different destinations, and I was at the last stop (which I expected). The drive time was about 90 minutes and I guess the total time from the point where I checked in with the Super Shuttle to arrival at the hotel was a little less than 2 hours. Again, I was prepared for this amount of time and I was not under any schedule pressure, so it was not an issue.
As mentioned, I was moving to a hotel next to BWI for the final night (Four Points by Sheraton). The interesting thing was that the Super Shuttle reservation person said that I could not do the shared ride as a “point-to-point”, and that the end point had to be BWI. OK, minor inconvenience, but I knew that I could just jump off at BWO and take the hotel shuttle back to the Sheraton. But that worked out well since the driver said he would just drop me at the Four Points after he stopped at BWI. There was only one other passenger on the return trip and she was already on the bus when I got on. The return travel time was about an hour, although the bus was nearly an hour late for my pick-up. Again, not an issue for me as I was not on a tight schedule.
Overall, I think the shared ride shuttle provided by Super Shuttle worked well, was fairly cost effective and basically hassle free. It worked well for me as I was on a very relaxed and loose schedule. If you are trying to get somewhere in a hurry, it probably would not be a good option. Plus the combined air and ground transportation costs of flying into BWI were well less than half the cost of going through Regan National. I’ll still consider National as the entry point of choice when traveling to the area, but now I know that I have a very viable alternative in using BWI and Super Shuttle.
Here's the link to the DC tours website with the info on the ride from BWI to Alexandria:
And the direct link to Super Shuttle:
Safe travels, y'all!Edited: 5:06 pm, May 11, 2013