The White House
- Oh, the White House. Tip #1: Put your name in for a tour the moment you think you’ll be in DC. You probably still won’t get one if you’re going in the summer, but it’s worth a chance.
- Your Secret Service check-in may be interrupted by oh, say, the Russian delegation arriving for a meeting with the President, but the Secret Service personnel are pretty cool as long as your name is on the approved list.
- If you think you have a White House tour but you never turned in all personally identifying info (name, SSN, passport number, DOB, etc.) you don’t have a tour. Period. We saw several people sadly turned away because they had a confirmation number but hadn’t been screened. Don’t believe your tour company if they say it isn’t necessary.
Parking in DC
- This sounds banal until you drive in DC, want to get out to see a national treasure, and need a place to leave your car. Try the Mall (not the shopping sort) and the Tidal Basin for cheap or free 2- and 3-hour parking.
- Beware of broken meters. If you see a spot that looks too good to be true, it probably is. I don’t know the DC police policy on broken meters, so maybe check that our in advance… All I know is that our fourth parking spot finally worked right around lunch time one day.
- By way of follow-up to #2, don’t try to park at lunch time. Low blood sugar + stressful situation makes a challenge into, well, an opportunity for the will to override emotions. That sounds nicer than reality.
- Read parking signs CAREFULLY. The rules for parking spot will likely change from hour to hour, and you will get a ticket. Don’t ask me how I know that.