D.C. on a Dime

I really just want to sit in one of those orb chairs at our hotel.

I really just want to sit in one of those orb chairs at our hotel. (Photo: kimptonhotels.com)

We had big plans for a vacation this year: It was possibly going to be the last big vacation we went on before “Operation Baby” commenced. A cruise? Possibly. Crazy West Coast adventure? Maybe. Trip to Australia? If we became rich overnight, sure.

But then the furnace broke. And the pipes started leaking. And we still wanted to build a backyard garden and chicken coop. The Frankfort House needs a new roof (which we new was coming). We want to invest in Caitlyn’s Up North jewelry business. With our luck, the car will probably break down next.

You know, all those “adult things.”

So it was time for a 180—where could we go that would still be fun, be longer than an overnight trip and not break the bank? After much searching, it came down to Las Vegas or Washington, D.C. Caitlyn’s never been to Vegas, but we both have friends in the D.C. area that we haven’t seen in ages, so the hotbed of politics won this round.

Her’s how you can visit D.C. without dropping so many Benjamins, especially when all you’ve got are Washingtons:


Non-stop, round-trip from Indianapolis International Airport (IND) to Ronald Reagan International Airport (DCA) is as cheap as $168 per person through Southwest. We had to shell out a wee bit more ($178/person), but it sure beats Vegas airfare, which is neither nonstop nor cheap.

"Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma kimpton re-warrrrds."

“Karma, karma, karma, karma, karma kimpton re-warrrrds.”


Faithful readers of this blog will know I’m a big proponent of the HotwirePriceline “mystery hotel” method of lodging. So long as you book a 3.5-star or above, you’ll never be disappointed. Well, I broke that rule this time.

Caitlyn and I recently stayed at a Kimpton hotel in Chicago and loved the decor, ambiance and location. It also seems like every time I research a vacation for us, I wind up back at a Kimpton hotel: They’re stylish, modern and most have free wine hours during the evenings (if you’re into the sort of thing).

We wanted a hotel with a good location and a pool, and Kimpton has a couple boutique hotels that meet that criteria in DC. Plus, if you sign up for Kimpton Karma, the hotelier’s loyalty program, you get a 20% off coupon good for your first trip.

With the coupon, we were able to snag a king-sized bed for $176/night, plus tax. For four nights, it came to about $800. Just a couple of blocks from Dupont Circle, the hotel looks swanky and we’re excited to check it out. Another perk of the loyalty program? You get a free $10 voucher to spend at the bar or on the minibar in your room.

Stuff to do

It’s Washington, D.C.! That means all those museums are (for the most part) free! We did splurge and bought a couple of tickets to see the Scottish Ballet’s rendition of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Kennedy Center. It’s been a long time since I’ve read the play, so methinks the misses and I will need to rent the movie in advance to make sure we know what’s going on once all the prancing about stage begins.

In all, we’re anticipating the entire trip—airfare, parking at the airport, lodging, stuff to do, food, dog/cat-sitting, spending money, etc.—will come to somewhere around $2,100-$2,300. If I can snag some Groupons to some tasty veg-friendly restaurants, then maybe cheaper.

Stay tuned for updates this summer about how the trip goes!

What do you like to do in DC that is affordable and fun?


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