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First trip to DC

MN
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First trip to DC

My 15 mo and I will be visiting towards the end of April and wondering about renting a car or taxi and hotel locations. We will be in the Union Station area for most of the trip but wondering if it's worth the cheaper cost staying a couple of nights a little farther away from downtown. A few things to consider:

1) We are going to have to figure out transportation to/from the airport and our hotel anyway (unless our hotel has free shuttles to/from the Reagan airport) - Do most Union Station hotels offer shuttle service to the Reagan airport?

2) Freedom of having a car to visit some areas outside of Downtown area

3) Is it worth paying for a cab or renting a car to get to a cheaper hotel outside of downtown - I know the cost is relative to what we can find but on average is it worth changing hotels with the costs associated with changing?

4) If we decided to use public transportation to/from our hotel in Union Station, can we bring our bags on the bus or train? I'd rather pay for a shuttle or taxi than have no space on the train or bus with our bags.

Thanks

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Washington DC...
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1. Re: First trip to DC

The Union Station area is a fine neighborhood to stay, if a little quiet after work hours. It is easy to get to Union Station from DCA, either by Metro (1 change of trains, plenty of room for bags if you're not arriving at rush hour. See www.wmata.com) or a cab (about $20 one way to your hotel). It would be unusual for a hotel near Union Station to have a shuttle from DCA--check your hotel, but I seriously doubt it.

Don't rent a car for your whole trip--the Metro, Circulator bus, etc. can get you everywhere in the District. If you do need one for a day trip, you can rent a car for the day at Union Station as opposed to renting at the airport and paying for expensive parking.

Re: your staying outside of town question, many folks do this and take the Metro in from outlying areas. See Crystal City, Alexandria, and Rosslyn for the most convenient "outlying" options.

Silver Spring...
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2. Re: First trip to DC

I don't think it is a good idea to take a train (Metrorail) from/to the airport and hotel with your 15 month old kid and luggage. Of course luggage is allowed on trains and busses. Whether there is space depends on how crowded it is. It is NOT advisable for you and your 15 month old to take Metro between your hotel and the airport.

Most hotels do not have shuttles from DCA. Take a cab or arrange a car and driver. You can find the approximate cab fare at the DCA website.

Don't know how long you will be here, but I don't think you will want a car the whole time for maybe visiting the outside areas on one day. You can rent a car on a particular day and go to Mt. Vernon or something. All depends on how long you are here.

Washington DC...
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3. Re: First trip to DC

Your post is a bit confusing. But to answer one question; I don't know of any hotels in the city that offer any sort of free shuttle from the airport. Some of the hotels in Alexandria and Crystal City do have a free shuttle from DCA (Reagan National Airport); A taxi from DCA to a downtown hotel will be less than $25 unless traffic is unbelievably bad. If you are traveling alone with a baby and luggage, you do not want to attempt Metro.

The only circumstance where you might want to rent a car would be if you want to visit sometime away from the city. Otherwise it is a burden and will cost you to park.

Edited: 25 January 2010, 16:30
MN
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4. Re: First trip to DC

Thanks for the responses and apologize for any confusion. At work and was trying to get it posted before it took too long. As for renting a car, it would only be for 1 or 2 days. My wife has a conference and we are going to fly in 1night before and stay an extra day after. We have a hotel booked for 4 nights (over $400 a night that her work is paying for) so we would need to find a hotel for 1 night before and after. Being a first time parent and traveling with her for the first time, I didn't think about how much of a hassle it might be on the bus or train with our bags and her. I appreciate the feedback. Thanks

Washington DC...
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5. Re: First trip to DC

So there is going to you, your wife and the baby. Not just you and the baby as it first appeared to be. Still I wouldn't try to use Metro unless you pack very light. With a baby there is a lot of stuff that goes along. And if you try during rush hours, the trains are crowded and then you would have to change trains and find your way to the hotel. A lot of hassle.

You might want to look into Crystal City for your first and last nights if you don't want to pay the price to stay near Union Station. Most hotels there have a shuttle service to/from the airport. And a taxi from there to downtown is no more than from the airport. And the Metro stop means you could get into the city easily.

6. Re: First trip to DC

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