Tag Archives: frugal vacation

Washington, D.C. Trip! – Free in D.C.

(This picture was taken at the WW2 Memorial in front of our home state)

This Thursday night 7 of us departed from Florida for a 14 hour road trip to visit our family who live by Washington, D.C.! We were very excited because several of our group had never seen D.C. before. We had an absolutely amazing time and our main regret is that we wish we could have stayed longer!

Why did we drive instead of flying? With 7 people going we decided that it would be cheaper to drive. Had we been able to find round trip plane tickets for $200 per person it would have cost us over $1400 to fly and that is a low estimate. Instead we spent $100 each, $700 total to cover the cost of renting a van, rental insurance, and gas. This was a savings of 50%. It also worked out well that we had a vehicle to drive while we were there because there were so many of us. The downside was the long drive, but we all slept for a huge portion of the trip and brought a small TV to which we attached our Xbox (which is also a DVD player) and that helped to pass the time.

For those of you who have never been to D.C. you may not know that many of the coolest things to do in Washington, DC are free! All of the monuments in DC are free and so are all of the Smithsonian museums. We visited the Washington monument, Lincoln’s memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the WW2 Memorial, what would have been the reflection pond had it not been under construction, The National Gallery of Art, The Air and Space Museum, The Natural History Museum, The National Sculpture Garden, and I’m sure I’m forgetting several others but none of which did we have to pay for. The Washington D.C. Zoo is also free but during this short trip we were unable to make it.

Among the highlights of our trip were going to the Andy Warhol exhibit, seeing a giant dead squid, the mammals exhibit, seeing all of the Artwork at the National Art Museum, riding on the Metro (D.C.’s subway) and spending time with our family. Below are some pictures we took during the trip.

( The Washington Monument from inside the WW2 Memorial )

( Outside the Lincoln Monument )

( The Vietnam War Memorial )

( Picasso inside the National Gallery of Art )

( Inside the Lincoln Monument )

( The Natural History Museum )


We also saved money by-

– choosing a slightly smaller but fuel efficient rental van

– packing as lightly as possible to fit in the van

– staying with family

– eating at our relative’s houses instead of going out to eat

– bringing our own drinks and snacks along the road trip and with us during day trips to DC

– having family who gave us tons of “souvenirs” to take back with us for our households

– driving whenever we could instead of taking public transportation

– taking pictures instead of buying tons of souvenirs

Overall, for all of you frugal people out there, Washington, D.C. has a lot of fun things you can do without spending a dime. Your main costs when considering a vacation there are going to be transportation, food, and a place to stay. We were able to keep those to a minimum. We probably also spent about another $250 for food while we were there but none of us ended up spending very much. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of our family who welcomed us with open arms, provided amazing food for our small army and gave us a place to stay that was hundreds of times better than a hotel. We had an amazing time and we all want to visit again soon.

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