Local Experiences

Flying to Washington DC: Dulles International Airport

Spring is just around the corner and summer is following right behind that. Which means, its time to start planning your vacations. Coming to DC can be a great low cost vacation with tons to do. But, before you book your flight we got some tips for you. There are actually three airports in the DC area and some are easier than others, which means you can literally come from anywhere to DC and go from DC to anywhere in the world! But, all that can make getting to the sites a little tricky. That’s where we come in. This week, we’ll take a look at some different ways to get into DC and let you know a few tips on making the trip easier. Today is part two: Dulles Airport!

Flying into DC

There are three airports in the area and you may be flying into one and out of another. The number one choice is Reagan National which we talked about earlier. It may be a little pricier to fly into, but our biggest tip about flying into DC is to take into account the time and money it can cost to get to/from any of the other airports. That said, if you find yourself flying into Dulles Airport, here’s a little info to help you on your way.

Dulles International Airport

Named after President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, this is our second choice for DC area airports. On the exterior, Dulles Airport looks spectacular from the outside. It has also had its fair share of history. Recently, the new super airliners like the Aerbus A380 and Boeing 747-8 made their maiden voyages to here. It was the landing point for the first ever supersonic flights from Europe aboard the Concorde jets in 1976. Space shuttles have even made their way through Dulles in 1983 and most recently in 2012 when the shuttle Discovery landed here after doing a fly by of the National Mall (click here for an awesome video of that historic event). You can even find one of the original Concorde jets as well as the real Space Shuttle Discovery in the neighborhood! Dulles airport is just a quick 5 minute drive to the Smithsonian’s amazing Udvar Hazy Center which is a bigger and better version of their Air and Space Museum on the mall. If you have a little time while you’re in the neighborhood, its worth every second you spend there.

Inside, Dulles Airport is HUGE. They have their own Subway to get you to the terminals as well as these weird things to move people around. But, it can be easy to get lost so pay attention the the signs and build in an extra 10 minutes just to the terminal once you are done with security. There are plenty of food options, but none of them have ever knocked our socks off.

So what’s wrong with Dulles Airport? Well, its a little far from the city. About 27 miles from downtown, its about a 30 minute drive without traffic. Taxi rides can run upwards of $70 one way. Though, they do have a dedicated road that will bring you about half way to the city guaranteed without traffic. And Dulles is great about offering a number of options to reach them. They are building a Metro Rail station there which will hopefully be ready in 2017. The Metro also has bus service provided by the 5A line which will get you there for for just a few bucks from L’Enfant Plaza or Rosslyn Metro stations. The Washington Flyer also offers bus service from the West Falls Church Metro for just $10 one way. The other way to get to Dulles would be Super Shuttle.

The Super Shuttle is a popular way to get to and from Airports nation wide. The upside is that its door to door service available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They have a number of options from shared van services which along with you and your bags, they may pick up or drop off a few others on the way to and from the airport. They also offer limo service as well as private car/van service. It can be a little pricey depending on the airport you going to or from. Rides can be around $30 or more each way from Dulles or BWI. In addition, the shared van system means it may take a little longer to get to your destination with the extra spots. But, they do guarantee you’ll be on time for your flight, which is some nice peace of mind. Check out their site here and see if it makes sense for you to take the Super Shuttle on one of your airport trips.

The verdict on Dulles is that its a fine alternative to Reagan Airport. Being a little far away means its going to cost extra time and money to get to and from the airport. It may be cheaper to fly into than Reagan, but you could make that up by the money you spent getting there. That said, its the fourth busiest airports in the country meaning there is a huge variety of flights making Dulles a major worldwide hub for air travel.

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