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DC & NYC Vacation: WOW!

November 19th, 2007 at 09:33 am

Last night I returned from a 9-day trip to Washington DC and NYC. It was a wonderful trip full of fantastic experiences. If they are able to, I highly recommend that every US citizen visit Washington DC once in their lifetime. I believed that before I went there (that is why I planned for a long time and set money aside for the trip), and now that I have actually been there I believe it even more strongly.

We visited the Memorials on The Mall (it was Veteran's Day Weekend, so there were many veterans there; as you can imagine that made it even more emotionally moving than it already is --- fortunately, we had packed our tissues). We toured the Capitol building and Botanic Gardens, the National Archives (where we saw the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights), the National Portrait Gallery, Air & Space Museum, Museum of Natural History, Museum of African Art, and the Sculpture Garden. We saw the Zero Milestone, the Library of Congress, the Supreme Court, Lafayette Square, St. John's Church, Decatur House, and the White House from the front and back (yes - we stood there with the other tourists, gawking through the fence). We shared DC-themed ghost stories in the evenings after dinner (I read up on them before the trip). We ate pizza at Union Station. We sat on a bench on The Mall, eating Carousel Dogs, with views of the Washington Memorial in one direction, and the Capitol in the other. We even saw a drug bust going on next to the Potomac River! Smile We spent an absolutely delightful day at Mount Vernon.

In NYC, I wanted to just hang out with my family, and that is exactly what I did. In DC I played tourist, but in NYC it was all about loved ones. The only excursion we made was to a neighborhood park. Coloring pictures and playing games and musical instruments with my niece and nephew was much more rewarding than sightseeing or going shopping!

Of course, this trip cost money. I had set aside $2,000 for the trip, and then shortly before the trip I pencilled out a budget of $1,734. I actually spent $1,511 so far (I still have to get my pictures developed, but even after I have done that I'll be at least $200 under budget). Overall, I am pleased with my spendings. I did everything that I wanted to do to have a fantastic experience. I economized where I reasonably could (by walking and taking public transportation, and eating breakfast & dinner at our rental, for example), but also enjoyed some pleasant splurges that I would never do in my everyday life (such as buying a butterscotch sundae in the middle of the afternoon). Here are my numbers, budgeted and actual. There is only one item on this list that bothers me: I had purchased a bus ticket on-line at a great sale price, but I screwed up my reservation and I had to reissue it at full fare plus a $4 service charge. That was $38 spent completely needlessly, and since it was due to my own carelessness, it does bother me. But, looking at the big picture of my total expenditures, I think I did pretty well.

Mileage to & from the airport (DH drove me there & picked me up) = $48 Budgeted & Actual
Airfare = $311 Budgeted & Actual
Lodging = $840 Budgeted & Actual
Bus between DC & NYC = $35 Budgeted (Actual = $73 --- Ouch!!!)
Food & Beverages = $180 Budgeted (Actual = $101)
Local Transportation (Shuttle bus, Metro) = $70 Budgeted (Actual = $47)
Admissions = $25 Budgeted (Actual = $13)
Film & Photo Development = $30Budgeted (Actual = $5 + Photo Develeopment, not done yet)
Gifts = $100 Budgeted (Actual = $48)
Souveniers = $50 Budgeted (Actual = $25)
Misc = $45 Budgeted (Actual = $0)

THANKS AGAIN to all of the SA members who offered money-saving tips and advice on what to see!!! You all really helped in my trip prep!

5 Responses to “DC & NYC Vacation: WOW!”

  1. monkeymama Says:

    Oh yes, DC is splendid...

    Glad you enjoyed and glad you're back!!!

  2. disneysteve Says:

    I've been to Washington many times and I'm familiar with everything you mentioned except the Zero Milestone. What is that?

  3. scfr Says:

    disneysteve - The Zero Milestone is the point from which all distances in the USA are measured (from DC). Here is a write up on it by the Department of Transportation.
    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/zero.htm

    It is located across Pennsylvania Ave from the the White House. It's probably not the sort of place you would want to take a special trip to visit, but if you happen to be at the White House or Ellipse, it is worth walking over to take a look.

    I learned about it in the free guidebook I got from AAA about DC. Not surprising that it is the sort of thing AAA would note, given their emphasis on automobile travel.

  4. Ima saver Says:

    Glad you had a good time. I was born in Washington D.C. at walter reed hospital. I hope to see it some day.

  5. 3bean Says:

    I'm behind in blogs, but I'm so happy to hear you had a positive experience in DC. I lived there 200-2004 and will be moving back this summer. Lately, I've been feeling a little down about some of the burdens associated with DC (traffic, cost of living), but your post made me thin about all the great things, too! Thanks!

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