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Washington DC area in late August 2013

Nashville, Tennessee
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Washington DC area in late August 2013

My husband, 10 year old son and I are planning to drive from Tennessee to the DC area in late August. We are struggling about where to stay. Part of us wants to stay in DC for convenience, but the $35 to $40 parking per day on top of steep room rates seems crazy...that's like a dinner for the three of us. Husband is retired military so we want to see the wall, White House if possible and of course the Smithsonian for our son. We're also crazy for history if that helps with any suggestions. Thanks for your help everyone!

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Arlington, Virginia
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1. Re: Washington DC area in late August 2013

1. Post your inquiry in the D.C. forum, you'll get far more attention.

2. This question comes up often. It basically comes down to which you value more -- your time or your money. Hotels that are further out tend to be cheaper because you give up vacation time to get back and forth to them. You need to decide how much time you want to spend every day just getting from your hotel to the things you want to see, and how much you're willing to pay to reduce that time.

3. If you are not going to use your car during your visit -- which you shouldn't have to do -- there are places you can leave your car during your whole stay that have a lower rate. The garage at Union Station and satellite parking are popular.

4. If you aren't picky on having lots of frills in your hotel, there are a few older hotels in Arlington that are popular with tourists because they offer free parking (notably the Americana and Best Western Iwo Jima). Other hotels in the Rosslyn and Crystal City area tend to offer parking that is cheaper than DC ($15-$20 a day), and sometimes offer room rates you can book that include parking. The Hampton Inn and Suites Crystal City, Holiday Inn Rosslyn, and Marriott Key Bridge fall into those categories.

5. Late August is a comparatively slow time during the summer, because Congress is not in session and frankly the weather is gross for walking around (high heat and humidity). You may get lucky with a great last minute deal as you get closer -- rooms downtown for $79-$99 that would be $200 at other times of year often pop up. I'd suggest booking a fully refundable rate now, and then as you get closer (about a week or two out) looking for a non-refundable special price you lock in. Some folks on the DC forum can also offer pointers to particular dates of stay, so when you post there be sure to post EXACTLY which day you are arriving, checking out, and your target budget per night.

Santa Cruz...
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2. Re: Washington DC area in late August 2013

Have you checked out the multiple options for military lodging in the area? They aren't as convenient, but the price definitely helps offset the inconvenience.

Alexandria, Virginia
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3. Re: Washington DC area in late August 2013

Warthog: Has provided some great ideas! I will share another option that can transform your visit into something really special. My husband and I often take advantage of local specials for 'Stay-cations' where we explore our own city as tourists. I love to live richly, but on the cheap!

Our favorite staycation was at the Historic Willard Hotel, one of the finest in DC (Lincoln stayed there before his inaugural and it is where the term 'Lobbyist' comes from as many hung out in the Willard Lobby for an opportunity to get Lincoln's ear. It is in the core of the city across the street from the White House and Smithsonians are a block away.

Rates for Aug 24-26th are as low as $187/nt.+27 taxes/fees (an amazing price as rooms are normally twice the price!!). August is hot and humid and miserable! The ability to walk a few blocks to everything cannot be discounted, come back to nap or cool off in the gorgeous lobby then resume your itinerary was a great experience.

Parking is a huge cost variable, and I will now add, so is metro for multiple trips. You can shoot straight up the 14th St. Bridge into the city and hang a left at the hotel directly at the valet; drop off your bags and family and start your holiday. I would consider parking at an alternative site with cheaper parking or (extreme hassle) drive to a remote location like a metro station in the suburbs (Metro parking is free on weekends according to the WMATA website) to save on parking. You will pay no matter what to park your auto, so do the math!

I explored and found an interesting website that locates parking lots in the city near the hotel. Vs the $40/day parking at the hotel, I find a lot nearby at National Place for $15/day. Check this link for more info!


Net-Net: Stay in an extraordinary hotel for your stay, and have the mobility to walk to virtually every site in the city by foot saving time, hassle and pay just a little more for the advantage!

4. Re: Washington DC area in late August 2013

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