Tuesday, 29 January 2019

An overview of Washington DC

Washington DC is the capital City of the United States of America and I got a chance to spend a few days in the beautiful city. There are three airports in DC and I was using the Washington Dulles International Airport which is more likely the furthest compared to the other two airports which are Baltimore Washington International Airport and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.Passing through the immigration was faster as compared to other times I have gotten the chance to travel abroad.Straight to the point the immigration officer asks you what exactly you are going to do in the country and when you will be leaving.

Documents that you should have at the immigration 

  • Passport
  • Declaration form that are handed over inside the plane.

I was not asked for the documents below but just to be on the safe side . It is better to have them to show that you are at least capable of taking care of yourself.

  • Hotel Booking
  • Return ticket
  • Cash in USD
  • Invitation letter , if you are attending a conference, workshop or any other programme.
  • Travel itinerary if necessary. (Tourist ) 
Airlines that travel to Washington DC from Nairobi 
Unfortunately there are no direct flights to Washington from Nairobi . Thus whichever airline you opt to use will have a stopover at its hub. Below are some of the airlines that fly to Washington.

  • Turkish Airlines
  • Emirates Airlines
  • Qatar Airways 
  • British Airways 
  • Ethiopian Airlines
  • Lufthansa 
  • KLM
Kenya Airways and Royal Air Maroc do not fly to Washington Dulles Airport.They fly to John F. Kennedy International Airport and then you will have to take another connection flight to Dulles Airport.I got to use Ethiopian Airlines from Nairobi to Washington and I will only recommend it if you are on a very tight budget . Thus if you are looking for cheap deals then I would advice you to book a flight using Ethiopian Airlines mobile application or directly from their website. In addition the airline has city tours that range from 20$_25$ if you have a long layover. (Prices are subject to change

  • If you are flying with Ethiopian Airlines please be very cautious when it comes to checking in.  Even if you get to check in online be very punctual at least three hours prior your departure time.
  • Travel light if you can because from my experience my suitcase was damaged.
From Washington to Nairobi I got to fly with Qatar Airways and I can totally recommend it. The services offered both on board and at Hamad International Airport are simply amazing. The main hub of the airline which is in Qatar has really good restrooms in case you end up having a long layover. Women have their own quiet restroom same to men .

  • If you are flying with Qatar Airways choose a flight that has a short layover. This is because the airline will not be in a position to grant you free accommodation if there were other flights available that had a shorter layover.  (Especially flights from Doha to Nairobi )
Hamad International Airport, Qatar

Washington Dulles International Airport 
Dulles Airport is very far from Washington DC because it is in Virginia. Thus if you can travel light I would advice you to use the public transport which is cheaper as compared to a taxi. I was traveling solo during fall and since I traveled with two suitcases , I only had the option of taking a taxi. My plan was to take a shared Lyft which would cost me around 35$ but that did not work out. Simply because each passenger in the shared car  is only allowed to carry one suitcase. Therefore, I had to take the Washington DC taxis that are readily available at the airport. I paid 68$ but the price could have been higher if it was during rush hour or if there was traffic. Luckily it was on a Sunday morning.

Methods of transport at Dulles Airport 
  • Bus plus the metro-15$
  • Washington Taxi -65$-100$
  • Shared Uber or Lyft-35$-40$
  • Personal Uber or Lyft-50$-65$
Prices are subject to change.

If you are travelling solo then you need to know what suites you best.I stayed at an average hotel , hostel and a five star as well. This is because I wanted to explore all the options that would fit in my budget and the cheapest option is staying in a hostel. For this option i can highly recommend Hi International Hostel because I found the hostels to be very clean and well managed. According to me most of the four star and five star hotels are expensive due to the tax issues, I found the prices to be affordable without the taxes included. Another factor that you should consider is the fact that the hotels inside DC are expensive as compared to the ones in Virginia or Maryland. If you are travelling in a group set up airbnb is the best option for you.

I personally used booking.com but compared to the hotels in Kenya most of the hotels only had the double option when it came to the rooms. Single occupancy was not available thus if you are travelling solo you will have to pay the same price you would have paid if you had a partner or roommate. This only applies to the hotels for the hostels you can get rates for single occupancy.

Things to do
If you want to explore DC  then I will advise you to stay in a hotel or hostel that is located on 11th street to 13th street. This will enable you to visit the monuments without paying for transport since it is a walking distance. Below are some of the places that you should visit in DC.

  1. White House , if you get to travel during fall make sure you see the National Christmas Tree. (free)
  2. Lincoln Memorial Park.(free)
  3. China Town. (free)
  4. Washington Monument .(free)
  5. National Mall. (free)
  6. Smithsonian Institutional Offices. (free)
  7. National Museum of African American History and Culture.(free but you have to book online in advance.)

Well that is it for my overview of Washington DC. As always opinions expressed are my own!


  1. i have put this into my Bucketlist. Thank you.

    1. You're welcome and I am glad it is now on your bucket list.

  2. Very informative, I will definitely visit those places when I travel there