D.C. on a Dime

D.C. was a trip that Victor and I took as a “babymoon” before our second was born. I had been itching to go some where since I finally passed all the sickness and exhaustion the first few months of pregnancy brings. We hadn’t been anywhere since the summer and my initial thought was to go back to NYC over Christmas break. When I started looking for plane tickets I soon realized they were not in the price range I had hoped so I started researching places to visit during Christmas time. Victor and I love Christmas so we wanted somewhere that had the spirit of Christmas like NYC. Washington, D.C. popped up and the price was right!

Plane Tickets and Planning

We found round trip tickets through Spirit for $150 per person. Christmas time is a very busy time to fly so I managed to find us a trip right before the crowds started. We flew out the morning of Dec. 18th and flew back the evening of Dec. 21st. I booked our flights on Nov. 10th so that gave me a little over 5 weeks to plan! Our first step was to try to get a tour of the White House, but we were not successful. After that it was on to booking our hotel. After researching things to do, I realized that everything that you want to do is FREE! This is one of the most affordable trips to take because most tourist attractions cost you NOTHING!


We stayed at the Club Quarters Hotel on 17th street, which ended up being just a few blocks from the White House! We usually only book where they have complimentary breakfast but this place was running a special for only $80 a night (normally $200) and it was in a central location. Our hotel rewards had racked up and we got one free night, so we only paid 93 dollars after taxes for our stay! I always read hotel reviews before booking a hotel. I wanted to make sure the price reduction wasn’t because of unpleasant conditions. Needless to say that was not the case. We loved the hotel and had a great view. (See photo below) The room was small but who hangs out in their hotel while in DC…no one!:)


Day 1

We landed in Baltimore at 10:15 a.m. and proceeded to the Amtrack station. When purchasing your ticket, you want the value ticket! Trains are constantly running. Once we made it to DC we headed to our hotel. Our room was ready before check-in so we were able to drop our bags and change before heading to our reservation at Founding Farmers. This place was awesome and delicious. You have to have a reservation or you will be running a very high chance of not getting a table. The food is locally sourced and fresh. Our waiter was a hoot and cracked jokes about Republicans because we were from Texas. In the photo below we were laughing because he said, “Say I love Donald Trump!” The people next to us did not find that amusing at all but oh well 😉


When we left the restaurant the temperature had dropped about 20 degrees, so we raced back to the hotel to put more clothes on! BRRRR! We then headed to see the White House and as many monuments as possible. We were also able to see the Christmas tree display outside the White House. They had a tree for every state and territory! The subway stations are much farther apart in D.C. than New York so be prepared to walk!

Day 2

We decided to purchase 2-day trolley tickets, from Old Town Trolley Tours, so that we could hop on and off at the places we wanted to visit. When you are 6 months pregnant, you realize that you can only walk so far! Since everything we wanted to do was basically free we didn’t feel bad about spending money on the trolley. Our trip was a short one, so we didn’t want to waste time walking from place to place. They had a winter promotion where you buy one day and get the second for free. We paid $60 per person and it was money well spent! We started our day at the National Archives. This is where the most precious documents of our country are housed. We were not allowed to take pictures but I will tell you that it is a must see! We moved on to the American History Museum then to the Holocaust Museum.

We then rode the trolley out to the Arlington National Cemetery. If you have the chance to visit the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier please do it! We were able to see the changing of the guard. Those soldiers show you what pride for your country and dedication really means.

We then headed back into the city and took a short break at the hotel before hopping the trolley and riding out to Georgetown. This is the cutest area with cobblestone streets and fun shops. We of course stopped at Georgetown Cupcakes and then checked out a coffee shop named Peet’s. We managed to visit during their grand opening and got free drinks! We then crossed the street and had some amazing pizza at Pizzeria Paradiso. One of our pizzas had an egg on it and it was amazing! We then caught a taxi to the zoo, which is also free. We didn’t see many animals but we were able to enjoy the beautiful seasonal zoo lights. After that I was exhausted so we road the subway back to the hotel and crashed!

Day 3

We had booked a tour to visit the U.S. Capitol, which again is also FREE, so we got up and stopped at a breakfast restaurant, Wicked Waffle, that served all things waffles. Victor went sweet and I went savory. Next, we hopped on the trolley and rode to the Capitol building. You have to book your tour in advance so go to the website before your trip. Our tour guide was hilarious! We were able to see rooms that our founding fathers served in, including Abraham Lincoln!

We then rode the trolley around and saw the few monuments we missed and hopped off at the Air and Space Museum. Once we finished it was time pick up our bags from the hotel and head to the airport. Our flight was bound to leave around 8:40 p.m. that evening but ended up getting delayed until 1 in the morning! This pregnant girl sure did sleep on the floor of the airport! LOL! We ended up getting vouchers for the inconvenience and made it back home at around 5 in the morning.

Final Note

Washington, D.C. is definitely an affordable trip! If you go during the off season you can stay in a central location and get great deals. It was cold but we had a blast! I highly recommend purchasing the trolley pass to avoid walking for MILES. I am not exaggerating when I tell you everything is far apart. There are 19 Smithsonian museums and tons of monuments to visit that cost you nothing. If you want a tour of the White House, get online and write your senator early because it books up fast. We definitely splurged a bit on food because we spent nothing on tourist attractions and I was pregnant so food was a priority! I hope that we can return during the spring with our children one day and see the cherry blossoms. If you want any more tips or tricks, feel free to comment below!

4 Tips for Traveling on a Budget

Do you ever sit around and dream of places you would love to visit? I do…ALL THE TIME. I feel like once we get home from one trip I am already beginning to think of the next place to go. If you visited my Pinterest page you would see my obsession. (You would also see my obsession with DIY projects, cooking, and party planning) I am definitely a planner but love to have an open schedule. I think I fall more under the category of researcher. I want to know everything I can possible know about a place before I go and visit. Research saves me time and money, two things we never have enough of….

Tips on How to Travel on a Budget

  • Research

Research is KEY! I have planned trips months in advance and ones where I have a few days to get it together. If you show up to a new place with no clue on how to get around or what to do, it is likely you will spend more money than you are hoping. Things you need to know in advance are transportation tips, best neighborhoods, things to do, and places to eat. The best way to find these things out are from people who have been there and the internet. Of course you can’t believe everything you read on the internet so make sure you have more than one source! Pinterest is definitely my go to when I start my research. On this one site you have first hand experiences from personal blogs as well as travel websites. Also, I will usually start asking friends in person and on Facebook if they have any recommendations.

  • Credit Card Points

Do not….I REPEAT…Do not use this step if you are not good at living on some kind of budget. You must have the discipline to pay this credit card off every month to not have any interest rate fees. Two years ago we decided to get a credit card that would reward us with travel points. I had been RESEARCHING 🙂 ways to save money on travel and this kept popping up. We took the plunge and it has saved us tons of money! We use our credit card as a debit card. We charge everything to it but we live on a budget and track this budget daily. At the end of the month we pay of our credit card. We do not pay the statement balance. We pay exactly what we charged to the card that month. Our credit card does have a 99 dollar yearly fee but compared to the amount we save on travel it is worth it. I think last year we used our travel points for plane tickets, hotel stays, and car rentals that probably totaled up to at least $600 dollars. Do your research on which credit card would best suit your needs.

  • Reward Clubs

Reward clubs that do not require and fees or commitments are great. We use hotels.com to book our hotel stays if we are not using travel points. Once you have 10 hotel night stays you get a free one. This of course takes a little while to accumulate but it does pay off. They also send us discount codes on occasion that we can use when booking. If you are loyal to a certain hotel chain then I would recommend signing up with them to earn rewards.

You can also find reward clubs that have a yearly fee that pay off. Spirit and Frontier have fare clubs that will save you on flights and Frontier even has kids fly free with their fare club that has paid off for us multiple times.

  • Fly Cheap and be Flexible

We do not have loyalty to any airline company. Our credit card points allow us to book on any airline. The majority of the time we end up on Spirit but they just end up being the ones with the lowest price. We have also flown Frontier, United, American, and Southwest. Of course Southwest has amazing perks and great staff but you tend to only get a good deal during their sales.

Evaluate your personality and needs while reading this. The cheapest airlines are NO FRILLS. This means you do not get pretzels, large seats, free baggage or free medium sized carry-ons. My family does not need these things. We try to find direct flights and remind ourselves we are only on the plane for 1-3 hours and the actual trip is where we want to spend our money. These airlines also require you to plan ahead. If you are taking baggage you need to pay online in advance. We have gotten really good at packing so we fit everyone’s things into one bag or for shorter trips we fit everything into backpacks and pay no baggage fees. If you can be slightly flexible on your days you will end up with a great deals. We save tons of money doing these things and you can do the same!

Download the app Hopper and Skyscanner to find and monitor flights in order to get the best deals! Hopper will alert you when prices drop and when is the best time to buy. They have now included hotels as well!

Many times when we get the itch to travel we go to Skyscanner and choose explore everywhere. Then you can put in your departure destination and a time frame and it will show affordable places to travel! I can’t tell you how many times we’ve said “oh this place is affordable and we’ve never been there lets go!” If there is a specific place we want to go, I start researching when is the most affordable time to visit.

  • Extras

Lastly, here are a few extra ways to save money that may not work out every time. We try to travel to places where we know people and stay with them. We do not do this every time we travel but it is nice when you can. We also take our own kid gear! We take car seats, strollers, baby carriers, tablets, toys, ect. We do not always need all of these things but if we do we do not rent or repurchase these things at our destination. Next, we put on our maps app to avoid tolls. We do not pay the extra rental car fees for the toll tag or the insurance. When we drove from Miami to Key West, we needed the toll tag so it was worth the fee but in Orlando…totally unnecessary. Also, stay at a hotel that has free breakfast or complimentary happy hour, and no I don’t mean just free drinks. When you travel, food expenses add up so save by eating at the hotel and purchasing snacks from a grocery store for the visit. Finally, we love discounts and bundle pricing! Every where is different and you have to do the research but many times you can save tons of money. City Pass is a great example of a bundle that can save you money if you have the time to use all the coupons.

I have so many more tips that are exclusive to the places we travel and those will come out eventually. I hope this helps you take the leap to travel more often and don’t be afraid it will break the bank every time.