Itinerary whizzes and Washington DC gurus: can you help tweak my plans for a trip from the midwest to DC for four nights, all under $800-1000?
I need to be in the DC area for a conference that starts early morning Monday October 17 and continues through Thursday October 20 (four hotel nights).
My allocated budget is $800 and I can spend maybe $200 more than that ($1000 at most). Here is my current plan:
Flight (GFK-DC Area airports): $600+
*Alternative: Amtrak to MSP, MSP-DC Area: $500 + a lot of aggravation
Here is where I really run into trouble.
Can I stay at the Alexandria Days Inn on S Bragg
($48/night) and still be able to safely (and sanely!) commute over to the conference hotel (Arlington/Crystal City Doubletree
)? That Days Inn is super cheap (with terrible reviews), but is it safe and can I get to Arlington within a reasonable amount of time during rush hour traffic (on public transpo)?
Otherwise, I can stay at the Americana (from this recent thread
on decent cheap DC hotels--which doesn't help me as much as you'd think, because I need a decent cheap Arlington hotel), which is also in Arlington and I can walk to the Doubletree from there. It's about $88/night, though, and that's twice the price of the Days Inn.
Budget (Days Inn): $600 flight + ~$210 for hotel= $810
Budget (Americana): $600 flight + $386 for hotel= $986
Budget (Doubletree): $600 flight + ~$950= $1550
So, I am open to better suggestions and thoughts on safety and transportation, alternative means of doing whatever. I have never been to DC, but I'm fairly well traveled and I'm willing to be adventurous (at this budget, I have to be).
Things I have thought about and tentatively ruled out:
-staying in a hostel (prices are comparable to the Days Inn and all are situated about an hour's commute from the Doubletree)
-staying at the Doubletree (it's $226/night!)
-Couchsurfing (I don't have an account, and if I understand correctly, it would be 'rude' by Couchsurfing's standards to sign up and immediately request a place to stay without any reputation)
-a roommate (I'm not opposed, but don't know anyone going--if anyone's going to DLC
, I'm all ears!)
So my question is in two parts:
Part one--is it safe to stay at the Days' Inn (S Bragg St, Alexandria), and if so, how are the buses in DC area (do they run late, fill up quickly, etc)?
Part two--can you think of a better hotel to stay in than any of the three listed above (Days Inn, Americana, Doubletree) that's cheap and close to the Doubletree (metro: Pentagon City stop) or off a nearby metro stop? I'm not afraid to walk or take public transportation, but I am worried about being late because of it.