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Washington, D.C. Trip Report

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Hey Everyone! I’m back from a brief vacation. We went to Washington DC for a family reunion with my brothers and their families. It was great to see them. Unfortunately, I got sick 2 days after we arrived in DC. I must have picked up a cold during my flight from Portland. It was the whole shebang – fever, chills, body aches, coughs, and headache. Ugh! Fortunately, nobody else caught the bug. I went to see several attractions but rested a lot at the rental. My vacation wasn’t great, but at least I didn’t ruin it for others. Luckily, RB40Jr is old enough to go out with my brothers’ families. He went to see many attractions with his little cousins and had a blast.

Washington, D.C.

We booked a rental from Vrbo near the Union Station. It was very convenient because there is a Metro stop there. The neighborhood was pretty nice. There were many restaurants and grocery stores in the area. The great thing is we felt pretty safe. I didn’t see any homeless tents or crazy people wandering around. This is a huge improvement from Portland’s Union Station. Our Union Station is in the sketchiest neighborhood in Portland. I frequently see people behave erratically whenever I drive by. Why can’t we clean up downtown like D.C.?

Overall, I was quite impressed with Washington, D.C. The public transportation was stellar. We used the buses and Metro every day. It was easy, convenient, and safe. The touristy area was great too. I read that DC also has a big homelessness problem. However, we didn’t see any tents around the National Mall. The city must have swept up the camps recently. The area was clean and peaceful. The monuments and parks were quite impressive as well.

The Korean War Veterans Memorial

Museums and attractions

The best thing about Washington DC is the Smithsonian Museums. They are all free to enter. We visited as many of them as we could. The kids enjoyed the museums tremendously. I got a few souvenirs from the gift shops to help out a bit. I think free entry is awesome. Visitors can come and learn about so many things. Some attractions require a timed entry ticket, though. Here are the attractions we visited.

  • National Air and Space Museum – You can learn about the history of aviation and space exploration. They have the Wright brother’s original Kitty Hawk!
  • National Zoo – The kids enjoyed it a lot. We saw the 2 pandas just in time. They are getting recalled to China soon.
  • National Museum of Natural History – The kids liked the fossils, gems, and cell phone exhibits. We saw the Hope Diamond. It was big.
  • United States Botanical Garden – I didn’t make it to this one. The kids did, though. They liked the frogs.
  • National Museum Asian Art – I went to this one by myself. It was great. There are even some items from Thailand. Those swirly patterned pots are neat.
  • National Archives – The kids saw the Declaration of Independence, The Constitution, and various other historical documents. We watched National Treasure that evening and had a good time.
  • White House tour – My brother got tickets for his family to visit the white house. Unfortunately, our senators ran out of tickets so RB40Jr and I didn’t get to take the tour. Oh well, next time.  
  • Planet Word – RB40Jr and I went to this one when my brother visited the White House. It was actually really good. It’s a museum dedicated to the spoken word. There are many interactive exhibits and we had fun.

How much we spent

This trip was somewhat expensive. I haven’t flown to the East Coast in a long time. The ticket price is much higher than the last time I visited (16 years ago). The rental price was also high. But it was still much cheaper than getting a hotel for 6 adults and 6 kids. Here is how much we spent.

  • Flight – $594 for 2 tickets. Actually, this isn’t too bad. Mrs. RB40 was in Virginia for work so she went to meet us in DC for the weekend. We didn’t have to pay for her flight.
  • Rental – $1,750. This is pretty high for 7 nights, but still cheaper than getting a hotel. It was good for the kids to stay in one house too. They had a lot of fun together.
  • Food – $290. I wasn’t impressed with the food in D.C. The food is better in Portland for about the same price. In particular, the food truck was not good. It was expensive and the food was meh.
  • Local transportation – $108. We took Uber to the airport and used the Metro to get around town.

Total – $2,742. Ok. This is not too bad. RB40Jr had a great time with his cousins and saw many attractions. It was a great trip for him.

I haven’t been to D.C. so it was great for me as well. The U.S. capital is quite impressive. There are so many things to see. Mrs. RB40 told us Washington, D.C. is one of her favorite cities and now I see why.

Have you been to Washington D.C.? Were you impressed?

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Joe started Retire by 40 in 2010 to figure out how to retire early. After 16 years of investing and saving, he achieved financial independence and retired at 38.

Passive income is the key to early retirement. This year, Joe is investing in commercial real estate with CrowdStreet. They have many projects across the USA so check them out!

Joe also highly recommends Personal Capital for DIY investors. They have many useful tools that will help you reach financial independence.

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