In April, when we first decided we'd like to try to make a family trip across the nation to Washington, D.C., one of the first questions was on how to select the right time of year to travel.
Originally, we were going to sign up for a TeenPact class (not an affiliate link) in Washington, D.C., which is held during the 2nd week of October, but we changed our mind. We can do that, right? :) We decided that instead of spending a lot of time in lecture/classroom situations, we'd rather be out and about, seeing the sites of the city.
I'm so thankful we made that decision! Guess what happened during the week of TeenPact's class in 2013? One of the joyless government shutdowns. :( Shudder.
In the future, one or both of our girls may decide to take TeenPact's "Back to D.C." classes...but since this was only our second big vacation in our daughters' lives, and they are in 8th and 10th grades, we decided to make it a family affair.
You may think it would be easy to select the best time for your family to spend time in Washington, D.C. However, it really depends on what you'd like to do while you are there.
After reading lots of advice online, we decided to spend time in Washington, D.C. from October 19-26. Here's why:
Washington, D.C. is a popular place to visit from mid-March through mid-June, and again from mid-September through early November, although we rarely saw tourists in mid- to late-October.
Events to consider as you make your vacation plans include the Capital Pride Festival, rallies and other events on the Mall, the Marine Corps Marathon, and conventions. You can see a calendar of upcoming conventions on the DC Convention Center website. Our last day in Washington, D.C. was the day before the annual Marine Corps Marathon, and the Metro transit system was jam-packed!
We were told we'd find the highest hotel occupancy rates and prices during March through September, as well as during the business week (Mondays through Thursdays).
Maybe due to the government shutdown that resolved itself three days before we arrived in D.C., it was quieter than normal, but we felt October was a very enjoyable, less stressful time of year to travel around the D.C. area.
The Washington D.C. Convention & Tourism Corporation recommends booking your trip four to eight weeks in advance before arriving. Also, last-minute rates can provide good savings, should you decide to take a trip on short notice.
Plan to spend more during peak spring and fall travel months, particularly during cherry blossom season and graduations. Special events such as the Inauguration will also drive up airfare prices.
Either advance planning (one to two months ahead) or last-minute sales will provide the best hotel rates. Check hotel company websites to see if online-only prices or sales are being offered at participating D.C. properties. If you're planning on visiting during a major convention, try to book even earlier to make sure you get a decent rate (as well as a room).
Hi! I'm Julieanne!