Travel to Washington, DC:
There are two airports that serve the immediate Washington, DC area: Dulles (IAD) and Reagan National (DCA). Dulles tends to have more flight options, but Reagan National is significantly closer to central DC. For example, a cab ride from Dulles can take upwards of an hour to reach downtown, while Reagan National is only about 15 minutes away by car and also provides direct access to the Metro. Baltimore/Washington (Thurgood Marshall) Airport (BWI) is also an option, although, like Dulles, BWI is about 45 minutes to an hour away from downtown DC by car (and public transportation between BWI and Washington, although available, varies depending on the day and time).
Lodging for the Legislative Blitz:
Washington, DC can be an expensive place to stay, particularly when Congress is in session. You normally will trade price for convenience, with the more expensive hotels being located near the White House and Capitol Hill, and cheaper hotels located outside the city center.
You might consider searching sites like priceline.com or hotwire.com, which will allow you to find good deals on hotels without knowing the brand in advance. This will almost always get you the best deal. If you use Hotwire, you can limit your hotel search to specific areas: "Georgetown", "Dupont - Embassy Row", "Downtown", "White House", and "Verizon Center - Penn Station" are neighborhoods that will give you access to the Metro and to our Sunday information/training session or Capitol Hill itself.
You can also find hotels near DC Metro stops outside of Washington, DC. For example, hotels in nearby Arlington, VA tend to be less expensive than hotels in Washington proper and they provide easy access to downtown Washington. Hotels in suburban Maryland are also an option. Hotels located near stops on the Red, Blue, or Orange lines provide direct routes to Capitol Hill. In addition, although the precise location of our Sunday information/training session will not be confirmed until sometime in early February, it will be held in or near downtown Washington at a location that is easily accessible by Metro. (For example, last year our Sunday session was held near the Foggy Bottom-GWU station on the Orange and Blue lines.)
There are also plenty of hotel options via AirBnB, and while these often vary significantly in quality, you can generally find a room very close to Capitol Hill for an affordable price.
Although the Space Exploration Alliance does not recommend any specific hotel to use for this event, and you should find a local hotel that best suits your individual needs, various "blitzers" have indicated that they have stayed at the following hotels in the past:
Parking is expensive within DC, and if driving you might consider using the Metro's "Park and Ride" to park outside the city. Check with your hotel to see what parking options it offers. You can also search for parking at the Washington, DC Visitor's FAQ .
Getting Around the City:
The Metro is the cheapest method, although reliability can occasionally be an issue, particularly during off-hours (weekends and late evenings) when delays sometimes occur due to maintenance and/or repairs, and the system can be extremely busy during the morning and evening rush hours. Google Maps will provide you with specific Metro directions and timing, but always make sure to give yourself an extra 15 or so minutes during peak times.
Taxis, as well as Uber and Lyft services, are available. However, keep in mind that street traffic can be very congested, not to mention completely stopped if you have the misfortune to be blocked off during a Presidential motorcade. Note that prices for Uber and Lyft can jump in inclement weather.
Walking: If you have a hotel that is close enough, sometimes the fastest method to reach Capitol Hill is simply to walk. Downtown DC is relatively easy to navigate, though it helps to have Google Maps provide specific directions to certain government buildings.
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