By Jeanenne Tornatore
Calling all Presidential (Inauguration) hopefuls! In contrast to the high cost of travel to attend the inaugural events of 2009, those hoping to be a part of this year’s historic weekend will find getting to and staying in the nation’s capital much more attainable.
While travel bookings for the event have just started to spike for the first time since the election in November, according to Orbitz.com bookings, there is still a large amount of hotel inventory available. And with the public inauguration celebration on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, many Americans may consider this long weekend getaway the perfect way to celebrate the life and achievements of MLK himself.
On Orbitz.com, standard hotel rooms in the city start at $250/night over inauguration weekend (January 18-21). Travelers on a budget, however, should look to neighborhoods just outside the city, where 3-star hotels can be found for $200/night. And those willing to forgo some amenities and opt for a 2-star property 15-20 miles further from the city will save the most with rooms from $75/night.
Those who traveled to attend the 2009 celebration may remember that with big events come minimum night stay requirements. During the 2009 inauguration weekend, many hotels in the D.C. metro area imposed a 3-4 night minimum length of stay. The good news is that with less demand for rooms this year, many hotels can now be booked for two nights (January 20-22) for those who prefer a shorter stay. But while some hotels may have softened this requirement, travelers should note that almost all hotels remain completely nonrefundable for these dates.
A few other tips for travelers hoping to find an affordable way to be a part of this historic weekend:
- Get it together and save. Booking your airfare + hotel together as a package is typically less expensive than booking these same components separately.
- Stay and play. Flights in and out of D.C. will likely be full on Friday and Monday. Consider adding a day onto your trip to see the sites and avoid one, or both, of these peak holiday weekend travel days.
- Go Metro. This Capitol city has a fantastic public transportation system that can quickly and easily get to you all of the major monuments and event sites.
Jeanenne Tornatore is a senior editor for Orbitz.com.