24 hours at Niagara Falls: Part 1-Planning

The trip plan

Expenses

Airfare: Portland to Buffalo (~$750 roundtrip for 3 people)
Hotel: Swiss Cottage Inn~$100 (shared by 4)
Car Rental$20
Gas:$5
Parking: $10

Trolley: $6

Average cost per person~$290 per person+ hotel. Can be cheaper if planned in advance. Continue reading

24 hours in Washington DC Part 2: A trip during government shutdown

Key Takeaways and Tips

a. You can see a lot of DC in 24 hours. However, DC has enough to keep you covered for at least a week. The approach that works best for me is to get a flavor of the major sites and then devote majority of my time to one or two sites. Experience has taught me that if I rush between sites, I remember nothing about the trip a year later.
b. Parking is extremely costly in DC. However street parking is free whole day on Sunday and Saturday after 6:30PM. I found a lot of empty free parking near the Capitol and at the intersection of 22nd St and Constitution Ave. Public transport or biking is the best way to go. However, it can take up a lot of your time in a short 24 hour trip. On empty traffic days, driving can save you significant time. Parking is also free at the Basilica and Franciscan Monastery.
c. You must do a DC by night tour. There are paid tours with Old Town Trolley or you can drive yourself for free by following the map here: http://www.trolleytours.com/washington-dc/map-google-location.asp. The DC monuments look amazing at night.
d. Philips museum and National Museum of women in Arts has free entrance on the first weekend of the month if you have any Bank of America card. Further you can get cheap tickets to the Newseum and Madame Tussaud’s from goldstar.com. Continue reading

24 hours in Washington DC: Part 1- Planning

washingtonplan

(Click to see full size, Google link http://goo.gl/maps/Ntb7n)

Expenses

Airfare: Portland to Baltimore (~$200 roundtrip)
Hotel: Willard Intercontinental. Free with Chase Priority Club Visa
Car Rental: $13
Gas:$25
Parking $45 (ouch!)

Average cost per person~$230 per person+ hotel Continue reading