Hotels in DC that offer free shuttle service to both airports
December 3, 2015 6:13 AM   Subscribe

I'm flying into Reagan on a Wednesday and out of Dulles on a Thursday. I have plenty of time to get to my airport and I could rent a car but, I'm thrifty, and I would like to find a reasonably priced, safe hotel, that provides free shuttle service to both airports.

I'm a small town woman traveling alone. I have never ridden in a cab. I'm not open to riding with strangers so uber is out. I have google maps on my phone and I can get around okay, I just want the least expensive, safest option, with as few changes as possible.
posted by myselfasme to Travel & Transportation around Washington, DC (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Do you have to get around DC while you're in town? If so, tell us roughly where in the city you need to get to, as that will make a difference to where you should stay. The two airports are significantly far apart -- so you might think it would make sense to be in the middle, but for many visitors to DC it's better to stay close to National(Reagan) and therefore close to the city (and the subway), and just accept a long drive to Dulles at the end of the trip.
posted by LobsterMitten at 6:28 AM on December 3, 2015

Response by poster: I would be perfectly content to lay in bed until check out.
posted by myselfasme at 6:36 AM on December 3, 2015

Whst time, approximately, are your flights? And just to confirm, you have nothing to do in between and you don't want to do anything in DC, correct?
posted by k8t at 6:43 AM on December 3, 2015

Best answer: Unfortunately you're not likely to find a hotel shuttle that will service both airports. Airport hotels and those reasonably close to the airport will have shuttles to and from the nearby airport, but not the other. but Dulles is 45-50 minutes outside of DC proper, and Reagan is 15-20 minutes.

If uber and taxis are out, then you're left with public transportation or shared shuttles. If you have no business in DC and just want to be ready to go for your flight the next day, I think your best option is to book a Hotel nearby Dulles Airport with free shuttle service.

When you land in Reagan, you can directly walk onto the Metro train terminal. You'll switch from blue/yellow line to the silver line, then when you get to the end of the silver line at Wiehle-Reston East Metro, take a free bus to the airport. At the airport, you'll go to your waiting location for the hotel shuttle to take you to your hotel of choice. All told this should probably take you about 1.5-2 hours, and is very safe and likely the cheapest option, costing you no more than $5-$6.

The alternative is a taxi/uber, which will cost approximately $40 and get you there in 30 minutes. A shared ride service like Supershuttle is also possible, but will cost at least $20 and will likely make multiple stops to pick up other passengers on your way to Dulles.
posted by Karaage at 6:55 AM on December 3, 2015 [3 favorites]

Karaage has it. You should get as close as you can to IAD for hotel to minimize any traffic or logistical issues getting to your outbound flight. You can take a Blue Line Metro train from DCA, switch to the Silver Line at Rosslyn, then the airport's $5 shuttle bus from the Wiehle Ave./Reston Metro station to IAD to catch your hotel's shuttle.
posted by candyland at 6:59 AM on December 3, 2015

Ah thanks to candyland for reminding me that it's a $5 bus from Wiehle to IAD. So you're looking at no more than $10.
posted by Karaage at 7:22 AM on December 3, 2015

Metro is a great plan. If you have heavy luggage, or decide you don't want to deal, taking taxis is not hard. I understand your reluctance, I've been there. But I've been doing business travel into National, and concluded that taking taxis from the airport is easy, and surprisingly not scary.

You walk out to the curbside pickup outside baggage claim, and follow signs for "taxi" until you get to an area with a line of people on the sidewalk and a line of yellow/white cars in the street. It may be 1 person or or 50 people in line, but when it's your turn, you tell the airport concierge guy where you're going (eg "Bethesda Mariott") and he points at one of the cabs (he knows which ones service which areas). You don't tip that guy, just say thanks. You walk to that cab, the driver hops out and offers to put your bags in the trunk, you can say yes or no but there's no need to keep it on the seat with you. You tell the driver where you're going, they say okay. You play on your phone for half an hour, or you tell the driver it's your first time in DC and they'll point out things on the skyline as you go past. You get to the hotel, and the driver reads off the number on the meter (which is in plain sight this whole time). You tell them you're paying on a card, they hand you a computer (an ipad, or a little console that connects to the meter, or there's a screen on the back of hte passenger seat). It's like a restaurant checkout, there's a little box to click for 15/18/20/22% tip, and then you sign it. Driver helpfully gets your bags for you, and you're done. The way to the airport is basically the same, except you tell the front desk you want a taxi and they make the car appear at the time you request. Cost is $40-60 depending on where, and traffic.
posted by aimedwander at 7:27 AM on December 3, 2015 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Hotel recommendations are welcome.
posted by myselfasme at 7:32 AM on December 3, 2015

If you stay somewhere around Reston that offers shuttle service to the Metro and Dulles, you'd streamline your trip a little and not have to take the airport bus. I think I've stayed here before, though I didn't use a shuttle:
posted by hey you over in the corner at 8:36 AM on December 3, 2015

If I were you, especially for one night, I might stay in the Hilton Garden Inn Courthouse, in Arlington, VA. It is close by taxi (or subway/Metro) to Reagan National, and right on the subway line that takes you to Dulles. They have a shuttle that looks like it would take you to and from the Metro. Lots of good food options nearby if you want to leave the hotel.
posted by gudrun at 8:40 AM on December 3, 2015

Metro is cheap, that is true, but it is not always easy to navigate if you're a newcomer or not a city dweller. I know a cab can seem intimidating, but speaking as someone who has had to get used to doing both cab and Metro on a regular basis (we drive our own cars where I grew up), a cab was far less of an nerve-wracking adventure to me than carrying a suitcase on the Metro. I urge you to consider taking a cab, if you are looking for a stress-free trip above all else.
posted by backwards compatible at 9:32 AM on December 3, 2015

I live near Dulles. Everything near Dulles is going to be cheaper and more suburban than everything near Reagan. I am a travel wimp. If it were me I would book a ride with supershuttle for Wednesday to go from Reagan to a hotel near Dulles (Herndon, VA has a ton of affordable big chain hotels). Supershuttle is designed to do exactly what you want -- picks up right at the airport where the hotel shuttles pick up, takes you to your hotel, it's big and clean. Then Thursday before my flight I would take the hotel shuttle to Dulles. DC traffic is such a freaking nightmare that it is unrealistic for any hotel to run shuttles to more than one airport, but this would get you the same experience and price that you are describing in the question.
posted by selfmedicating at 10:05 AM on December 3, 2015

The plan to stay around Dulles has the advantage of being near your destination if you have an early morning flight, but isn't the easiest, travel-wise. The simplest is to get on the metro at DCA and go five stops on the blue line to Rosslyn. There are a few pricey hotels that are basically on top of the metro station, but if you're willing to walk 0.4 miles, the Best Western or Inn of Rosslyn should both be $60-$70 (if you don't want to walk, the 4A bus is a 2 minute ride basically door-to-door from the metro to the hotels). Rosslyn is also quite dense and walkable, which might not be the case at some hotel near IAD - I know you said that you're mostly there to sleep, but it might be nice to be able to walk out of the hotel and grab a burger or a cup of coffee or whatever. The next morning, you go back to the same Rosslyn metro station but instead of going underground, catch the 5A bus which is an express bus, with luggage racks for travelers, that takes you straight to IAD with no stops in between. The express bus is $6 last I checked, and the metro will be $2-3. No transfers, no hassle.
posted by exutima at 10:36 AM on December 3, 2015

Beaten by exutima! Blue Line from National Airport to Rosslyn, then the 5A straight to Dulles will be the least amount of transfers and hassle if you're sticking to public transport.

OP, don't forget that you'll need a SmarTrip card to ride Metro/Metrobus, though the 5A bus does take cash. There's $8 of value stored on new cards, so just to be safe, I'd top it up with an additional $5 minimum.

If you do find yourself wanting to go out and about, you could take the Blue Line from Rosslyn to the Federal Triangle stop, then ride the DC Circulator's National Mall route for $1.
posted by evoque at 10:49 AM on December 3, 2015

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone! I flew into Reagan, took the blue line to the silver line (visiting with very friendly locals along the way who helped me with my stop), took a bus, and arrived at Dulles to take a shuttle to the Hyatt, where I had an amazing suite for only $88.00. I really didn't want to leave! The shuttle drivers that the Hyatt use were very nice. It took me around an hour to travel between the airports and it cost around $10.00.

On a side note, I stayed at the Crystal City Marriot near Reagan for my return. It had everything in it that I hate about hotels: stinky carpet, strong cleaning chemicals that hung in the air, bored lobby workers, a pathetic little cafe that messed up my order, overpriced water, only one microwave, 12 stories away from my room, thin walls, and a backed up tub. Along with all of that, the shuttle driver on check out seemed be recovering from his New Year's eve and forgot that I was sitting behind me, causing me to miss my stop at the airport (he didn't even stop!) and taking be back to the hotel, where he locked me in the shuttle for a few minutes. I demanded that he let me out and I refused to ride with him after that. It took me an hour to get to the airport that was one mile away, because I had to wait for another driver. The Hyatt spoiled me.
posted by myselfasme at 8:38 AM on January 4, 2016

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