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Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

Since I know you girls are the smartest, prettiest, best shoppers around, I need some help.


My mom, sister, and I will be making a last minute trip to D.C. this weekend for a funeral. I'm checking out online getting an idea of what is more economical: driving or flying from NH/Boston. Can any of you deal hunters help?


It would be about an 8.5 hour drive without traffic, or a 1 hour and 15 minute plane ride. Time is a factor, but we are more concerned with the cost.


If we fly, all we will need is a rental car for the day.


If we drive, we will pay gas and tolls, a hotel for one or two nights, and food.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

If you can afford it, I would definitely fly. With the weather and traffic being factors in both directions, it may be a much longer trip than you anticipate. While driving split three ways would definitely be more economical than flying three people, if convenience is a factor, it's also a bigger hassle. 

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

My sister lives in D.C. and has been to Boston a few times, and she says it's best to fly if you can. Also, depending on what airport you fly into, getting around can be easy. I prefer to fly into DCA (Ronald Reagan International Airport) b/c it's close to my sister and it's closer to the city center. The metro is also directly connected to the airport, so if you want to save cab fare you can use that. That said, I would also suggest using the metro for getting around instead of cabs/driving b/c of how crowded/insane DC drivers are, plus it's much cheaper.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

I live in Baltimore, and I can say from experience that DC traffic is vastly different than Bmore.  I get lost everytime I go there, but driving is definitely more economical than flying, and flying does entail arriving ahead and bag check and rental car pu, so its not just an hour and a half.  Maryland just increased the tolls, so depending on the way you get to DC, there is an $8 toll crossing the Susquehanna River (pay only one way), and tunnels are $4 now (Thanks Govenor O'Malley).  


Either way, let us know what you decide!  Good luck!

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

Ok, now that I see where you are going   I never use BWI. Reagan (DCA) and Dulles (IAD) are much closer. BWI is often less expensive however. You can check SWA (southwest airlines) for flights to BWI. Otherwise look on Expedia (which won't include SWA in the search results) and check out the flights to IAD and DCA. Search using the code WAS instead of a specific airport because that will show you all DC area airports so you can compare times and prices. I looked for you and there is a Jetblue flight for $178 one way to Dulles arriving at 8:10am on Sunday. There are other flights also getting in early. If there aren't any problems you have plenty of time to get to Rockville. There isn't business traffic in DC on Sundays so flying into Reagan really won't be a big deal.. normally you would just have to be careful not to hit rush hour, but you would be fine. With no weather or unforeseen other problems, you can get to Rockville from Reagan or Dulles in 30 minutes on a Sunday morning. However, for someone not used to the area, I would give yourself an hour to allow for problems and wrong turns Smiley Happy If you drive, you will come down 95 and get on 495 and then you will get off on either the old georgetown rd exit which will put you in the edge of Rockville in about 3 minutes. Or you will keep going and get on 270 if you are going deeper into Rockville. You will completely bypass DC as someone else already mentioned.  

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

oops, I meant you would take the Rockville Pike exit.. not Old Georgetown.  

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

And…. if you are really going in and out same day, you might want to check cabs from dca vs iad to rockville and back.  It would be faster than having to go get a rental ..  I never take cabs there but often times there are flat rates when leaving an airports.  


While you are potentially figuring out what airport you might want to use if you fly, I thought I'd mention that car rentals are not at BWI. You take a shuttle.  It's no big deal but something to account for regarding time constraints. You can double check for this at DCA or IAD as well..  I don't rent cars when we are there.  DCA is the smallest airport which means in/out faster.  

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

Rockville is north of DC - making driving potentially less problematic because you won't have to slog into DC traffic. You can take the intercounty connector (ICC - recently opened) from 95 to 270 and be in Rockville. If you are staying in Rockville I would strongly recommend flying into Baltimore rather than Regan (which is downtown south of DC - HORRIBLE traffic). Tolls are high. I recently drove to Jersey and I think my tolls were close to $30 each way. Just crossing the bridge in Baltimore is $4! ICC has tolls too. On the plus side you will have less traffic as it is a weekend.


Agree about the weather and potential problems w/ both driving and flying this weekend. If you have to be here at 12 you are going to need to travel the day before. I can't see any way to get an early enough flight and then get a rental car and drive to Rockville. That, or you will drive all night to make it here in time for the funeral. Not sure about the train, but suspect that you have to travel the day before. So, no matter what you are in for at least 2 days and potentially 3 days for the trip.


DC drivers are seriously impaired when it comes to coping with any kind of weather. I have lived all over the United States and this place takes the cake. Random slow downs, creeping along at either 40 MPH on the highway OR 90 MPH when it is raining. Rubbernecking. Weird traffic congestion. As far as I can tell the average driver IQ drops about 30 points if there is any form of precipitation in the region.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

That last paragraph is SOOO true. There is no in between, people are either crazy reckless or absurdly cautious. And if I see ONE more person driving through rain on 66 with their flashers ON (illegal and misleading - flashers mean you are stopped!)...


I grew up in Northern Virginia, and I still don't know if it is the locals or the transients who make the roads hell.


Flying into BWI is often cheaper, and if you are going to be in Rockville, it is probably an easier drive. If you choose to drive, you can go through PA to avoid some of the NJ tolls, but it adds a bit of time. If you are a AAA member, they can help you plot the best route, and may be able to help you get a deal on airfare. Good luck!

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

The train goes from DC to NYC.  I am guessing it also goes to Boston?  You might want to at least check it out.  

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

OK, as a local, I have a different perspective.


If you fly, it's in-back in one day.  Which day is it specifically? If you drive, when will you be driving back?


It's supposed to rain Friday and wintry mix Sunday night-Monday.  You don't want to play with the incompetent drivers around DC in any sort of weather.


You may also want to check out FlyerTalk- they're amazing at finding discounts.  The Acela will be similarly priced to a flight.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

The funeral is Sunday from 12-4 in Rockville. I would love some expert local advice!!

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

Lucky you, Rockville, MD is totally different from DC. In Rockville, parking is free and less stringent.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

Flights are usually cheaper out of Manchester than Logan.  There aren't bereavement rates anymore so be prepared to pay $300 - $500 a ticket if you fly.  My BIL had to fly from Logan to FL last minute when his younger brother suddenly died in October, it was very expensive.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

I just looked at Jet Blue -- if you fly out Friday and come back Monday, it's $179 from BOS and $133 return if you go into Baltimore.  Similar prices into WAS.  The options on Jet Blue are much, much better from Logan these days.  Check directly on the airline websites.  (And with Jet Blue, I found that their regular fares are better than bereavement fares.)


From memory, Acela isn't much cheeper.  It does have the benefit of going right into DC, and from there you can use the Metro.


If you're going to stay, consider staying outside of the city near a Metro location if you can easily get to the funeral.  City parking can be horrible. 


You're going to need a hotel for at least one night.  You can't do the drive round trip.  (And the timing really depends on when you leave and when you hit the cities along the way.  I can get to Philadelphia in 5 1/2 hours in good traffic with no trouble, and DC is a couple more hours.)  Use AAA to find a well rated hotel room; the last time I was there I trusted to a chain name and it was a BAD decision -- we changed hotels after the first night and would have changed that day if we hadn't had to go into the city for a late night pickup from the train.


Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

That's weird because when we have flown before the tickets out of Manchester were more expensive than Boston. I always check both anyway.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

It think it depends on where you are going and what days of the week.  The commuter jumps like to DC can be much cheaper out of Manchester.  have you thought about taking the train?  I bet you could take the Acela a lot cheaper than a flight and it does run Manchester to Boston to DC.  My BIL takes it from Boston to DC a number of times a year.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

Hmm if I remember correctly I think I paid about $16 in tolls driving from DC to South Jersey... they do add up,sometimes they are $4 a toll. But yeah if you have the time to lose a day traveling down and a day traveling up driving is always cheaper. Its always so exhausting though. If I can I like to spring for plane tickets it is just a better experience. Car rentals are cheaper on the weekends than on the weekday. Would someone not be able to pick you up/host you? Any family members here? But yeah. Driving is cheaper but it would be a very long drive maybe a full day or more if everyone would be willing to take shifts it might be more doable.


Have you looked into taking a train possibly?

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

My sister's roommate mentioned a train. Never taken one before, but it seems like a good option.


I think my mom would prefer to rent a car if we flew or took a train, and stay in a hotel if we drove.

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

Not to mention parking rules in DC. When I used to visit my ex I would go home with 2-3 new parking tickets every weekend. Smiley Sad 

Re: Help with Last Minute Trip to D.C.

This is what I'm struggling with!


How can you possibly arrive "stunning and impossibly fresh looking" when you've driven up to 14 hours to a funeral? (Extra points for those who know that quote) Smiley Wink


Like, do you spend a little extra money to be able to sleep in your own bed, and get ready in your own house?

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