Washington, D.C. gets plenty of tourists and visitors every year thanks to its standing as the capital and political center of the United States. Most people know the President lives here, but aren’t extremely familiar with other aspects of life in the District of Columbia. If you’re getting ready to book an extended stay in D.C. and you’re not sure about what to expect, you’re probably in need of a bit of guidance.
After all, a city as busy as this one will come with its own set of challenges and unique considerations to keep in mind. With that said, here are 7 tips that will help you plan a more enjoyable extended stay in Washington, D.C:
- Look for Monthly Rentals
Paying for a hotel room or weekly rental can quickly add up and become very expensive. From a budgeting perspective, it makes more sense to opt for monthly rentals instead, especially if you know for sure that you’re going to be staying for more than a couple of weeks. Monthly rentals will save you money because you’ll inevitably pay less per day by avoiding short stay options altogether. You can use companies like Blueground to quickly find monthly quality rentals in Washington, D.C. The user-friendly website makes it easy to compare rental options based on a variety of criteria, amenities and neighborhoods. Blueground is truly one of the best ways to find furnished, equipped and serviced apartments in the area. You can see their latest D.C. listings here: https://www.theblueground.com/furnished-apartments-washington-dc-usa.
- Know the Neighborhoods
Like in every city, D.C. has some good neighborhoods that are nice to live in and then some not so good neighborhoods that you should probably try to avoid. The cost of rent also varies widely depending on the area you choose. So, before you decide on a place to stay, it’s important to research the neighborhoods well. Some of the more prestigious areas include Capitol Hill, Eastern Market, and Logan Circle. On the other hand, neighborhoods that you may want to avoid for comfort and safety include Brentwood, Deanwood, Anacostia, and Stadium-Armoy.
- Use the Public Transportation Systems
Washington, D.C.’s Metro system is a surprisingly convenient and clean way to get around town quickly and affordably. If you’re going to be staying for a few weeks and you want to make the most out of your time, you don’t want to be stuck in traffic all day. One of the first things you should do after arriving in D.C. is pick up a few hard copy Metro schedules and route maps. That way, you’ll never have a problem getting from one place to another in a safe, fast, and affordable manner.
- Create a Must-See Itinerary
When you’re visiting D.C., there are certain attractions that you simply can’t miss out on. Go ahead and make a list of such attractions and plan out your itinerary for at least the first week. That way, you won’t be rushing to see important landmarks before your departure date, and you can spend the rest of your time leisurely enjoying the city without feeling like you might’ve overlooked something.
- Get a Sightseeing Pass
Once you’ve made your must-see itinerary, you can save a lot of money and centralize the process of buying bus tour tickets by purchasing a sightseeing pass. This would give you access to multiple bus tours and more than 40 stops that you can hop on and off at for no extra charge. If you’re planning an extended stay, your best option is to get the FLEX pass, which gives you 30 days of admission-free city touring.
- Be Prepared for Heavy Traffic
As we hinted at earlier, the traffic in D.C. can be absolutely horrendous at times. If you’re the type of person who absolutely refuses to use public transportation, be prepared to experience longer-than-usual travel times. Luckily, all of the major rideshare networks are very active in the city, so finding an Uber or Lyft is usually quick and easy. Furthermore, the traffic only becomes a problem in certain areas and during certain hours, so knowing when and where to drive can help tremendously. For more info on that, check out this guide on how to avoid heavy traffic around Washington, D.C.
- Be Prepared for a High Cost of Living
Washington, D.C. has one of the highest average costs of living in the country. That means that everything is generally more expensive here than it is in most other places, so keep that in mind when creating your budgets. As a rule of thumb, just add about 5 to 10 percent to any estimates that you come up with to account for the extra expenses.
Don’t Forget to Bring a Good Camera!
Finally, as a bonus tip: don’t forget to bring a decent camera or a phone that can capture HD photos, as you’ll want to have a nice gallery to show off when you get back home!