There are a few strategies for finding cheap hotels in Washington DC. If you are planning a visit to this beautiful city, you probably won't be spending a lot of time in your hotel room. Saving on hotel rates will allow more flexibility in the rest of your travel budget.
Timing is Key
Washington DC is a "company town" and the "company" is the United States government. As the capital of the United States, its principle business is the business of the Federal Government. When Congress is in session, hotel rates go up, as rooms are filled with business travelers. Congress is usually in session between mid-January to July and September through late November.
The other major impact on hotel rates is the annual Cherry Blossom Festival. Spring in Washington is always busy, but when these gifts from Japan burst into bloom, thousands come to enjoy the spectacle and hotel rates rise. Consequently, the busiest time to visit DC is between mid-March and June. If you are on a budget, this would be the best time to avoid the area.
There are two times to visit if you are looking for the lowest hotel rates. The first is late August until early September. Congress does not reconvene until after Labor Day and summer tourists have returned home for the start of school. The other most advantageous time is between Thanksgiving and mid-January. Congress is not in session and most tourists are focused on the holiday season. The downside to this time period is the DC weather. It can get snowy and cold in the area. There is, however, something magical about the White House covered in snow.
Location Affects Price
Washington is a large urban center. Hotel rates in the DC area usually follow the urban pattern: the closer you are to the center of action, the higher the hotel rates. Since Washington DC has so many business travelers, the closer your hotel is to the Capitol or downtown Washington, the higher the rate. DC also has a high hotel occupancy tax. If you stay in a surrounding suburban area, such as Northern Virginia or Baltimore, you will see your hotel costs drop. Transportation shouldn't be a factor, as there is an excellent subway system, the Metro, and a rail system as well.
Some Cheap Hotels in Washington DC
There are a variety of cheap hotels in Washington DC. In addition, many offer specials that further reduce the price. A good place to look for specials, discounts and other tourist information is Destination Washington, the former non-profit Washington DC Convention and Tourism Corporation.
Here are a few suggestions for hotel bargains in Washington DC and surrounding areas.
This family-owned hotel dates back to 1914. It is in walking distance to the National Mall and the White House. The amenities include an underground parking garage, a laundromat and two full service restaurants.
American Guest House
The American Guest House is a bed and breakfast located near Dupont Circle. The area is the site of beautiful Victorian homes. The hotel is located near a Metro stop.
Woodley Park Guest House
Near the National Zoological Park, the Woodley Park Guest House is a 16-room bed and breakfast. Amenities include free high-speed Internet and proximity to the Metro station. The Woodley also offers a breakfast featuring organic and local produce. Some rooms have a private bath, others have a shared bath.
There are many ways to score cheap hotels in Washington DC. You just need to pick your travel dates carefully and look for specials and you can preserve your budget during your trip.