As the nation's capital, Washington DC is home to some of the most famous landmarks and historical attractions in the United States, both symbolic and practical. From the White House to the Washington Monument, and from the Lincoln Memorial to Capitol Hill, you'll have your work cut out for you if you want to see everything in one trip.
As you're planning your packed itinerary, make sure to purchase Washington, DC visitors medical insurance or travel insurance. You never know if or when plans might go awry, and it never hurts to be prepared.
Visitors Medical Insurance for Travelers in Washington DC – FAQs
Visitors medical insurance is short-term health insurance coverage for non-residents visiting the United States. It can cover the treatment of new illnesses or injuries that occur after the effective date of the policy, acute onset of preexisting conditions, return of mortal remains, and other benefits depending upon the plan you purchase.
Do I need visitors medical insurance for Washington DC?
If you are visiting the USA as a tourist, visitors medical insurance is not legally required. However, you must consider the price of healthcare in the USA, which is the most expensive in the world. If you do not have visitors medical insurance coverage, treatment for any illness or injury you receive during your USA trip would have to be paid for out of your own pocket.
Why buy visitors medical insurance before traveling to Washington DC?
It is impossible to predict when a sudden illness or injury will happen, and that includes while on an international trip to the USA. You will not be able to depend on your domestic health insurance outside of your home country, so it is essential to have the financial protection of visitors medical insurance. Without it, a single medical issue could result in serious financial damage.
Trip Cancellation Insurance for Travelers in Washington DC – FAQs
A trip to the Washington DC can be expensive. By the time you add in the cost of airline tickets, hotels, tickets to attractions, and ground transportation, it’s a big investment. However, most people are well aware of this. What they may not be aware of is the fact that most of these prepaid expenses are nonrefundable. If you have to cancel your trip, you’ll need the protection of trip cancellation insurance.
Why should I get trip cancellation insurance for my Washington DC travel?
Picture this: You’re approaching the departure date for your trip to Washington DC, and you suddenly become extremely ill, or a family emergency pops up. There’s no way you can travel. But you’ve already paid for your airfare and hotel, and they will not refund you.
This is where trip cancellation insurance comes in. It can help you get reimbursed for your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses if you must cancel your trip for a covered reason. The amount it can save you could be massive.
What can be covered by trip cancellation insurance for Washington DC?
Trip cancellation coverage is a major component of travel insurance plans, but it isn’t the only component. Your travel insurance plan for Washington DC can cover instances related to travel delays, trip interruption, lost baggage, delayed baggage, and even emergency medical expenses.
The exact scope and amount of coverage will depend upon the plan you choose. Therefore, you are advised to compare several travel insurance plans on this website, and see which one offers the best coverage for you.
Washington DC’s Most Popular Places for Travel
Washington DC is packed with more monuments, museums, and attractions than just about any other place in the US. Exploring all of them in a short period of time would be difficult, but here are few you should put on your list.
The White House
Built in 1792, the White House has been the official residence of every US President except George Washington. British forces set fire to the building in 1814 during the War of 1812, but it was rebuilt by 1817 when President James Monroe moved in. President Theodore Roosevelt initiated major renovations in 1902, most significantly moving the president's offices to their current location in the West Wing. Today, the White House has 132 rooms, 35 bathrooms, and six levels. Free, self-guided tours are available to the public, but anyone wishing to visit must submit a request through their member of Congress. International visitors can arrange tours through their country's embassy in Washington, DC. The nearby White House Visitor Center displays interactive exhibits, historical information, and videos featuring reflections from past presidents about the residence.
The Capitol Building
The US Capitol Building, located on Capitol Hill, is home to the two halves of the United States Congress, the House of Representatives and the Senate. The building's dome was modeled after that of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and is one of the city's (and the nation's) most iconic structures. The inside is decorated with frescoes, reliefs, and paintings depicting scenes from American history. Free tours are available, but all require advance online reservations. To visit the House or the Senate while in session, you should either contact your Congressional representative for a pass or, if you're an international visitor, make arrangements through the visitor center.
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument is a 555-foot shining white obelisk built to honor George Washington, the "Founder of His Country." Congress approved the project in 1783, but construction didn't start until 1848 or finish until 1885. The stones' different colors reflect the different stages of the monument's assembly. A circle of 50 American flags surrounds the base. Inside, visitors can see engraved stones from different cities, states, and foreign countries. An observation area at the top allows for aerial views of the National Mall and a significant part of the city at large.
The Lincoln Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial, portrayed on the back of the US five-dollar bill and one-cent piece, serves as a tribute to President Abraham Lincoln. The memorial sits at the west side of the Reflecting Pool of the National Mall. Its massive marble columns were designed to evoke the feel of an ancient Greek temple, and the statue of Lincoln inside measures 19 feet tall and weighs 175 tons. Its interior features murals and engravings of important events from Lincoln's life, and texts from his greatest speeches. The memorial's steps were the site of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s famous "I Have a Dream" speech during the Civil Rights Movement in 1963. The monument is largely outdoors and is open to the public 24 hours a day.
Museum of Natural History
The National Museum of Natural History, a Smithsonian Institution, is a popular tourist site for families and young children. Notable permanent exhibits include the Hope Diamond, one of the most famous jewels in the world whose history traces as far back as 1666 France; Sant Ocean Hall and its 45-foot replica of a North Atlantic Right Whale; and the David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins, which traces the course of human evolution over six million years. The museum also features dinosaur exhibits, Egyptian mummies, daily tarantula feedings, and the Butterfly Pavilion. Admission into the museum is free, although certain exhibits do charge a fee.
Key Guidelines for Travelers in Washington DC
The key to an enjoyable vacation is the right amount of preparation. When visiting Washington, DC, keep the following in mind.
Unlike many major US cities, Washington DC has ample public transportation options, so it’s easy to get around without renting a car. In fact, nearly 60% of commuter trips in DC are made by public transit, bicycle, or walking.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority oversees an array of public transport options including the Metrorail, Metrobus, and DC circulator, which can provide access to most points of the city. Purchase a reloadable SmarTrip card or use mobile pay to take trips seven days a week.
The Washington DC area also offers over 350 Capital Bikeshare stations, allowing access to 3,000 rental bicycles 24 hours per day.
Crime and Safety
Washington DC’s crime rate has dropped significantly over the past few decades, and crime is primarily centered around certain blocks with known gang activity. However, being a major city with lots of tourist traffic, petty crimes such as pickpocketing are common. Be extremely vigilant about your valuables when sightseeing. Carry your cash and cards in a money belt instead of a wallet, and never leave your bags unattended.
Remember that certain attractions in DC require advanced tickets or arrangements. You cannot tour the White House, US Capitol Building or Ford’s Theatre without advanced tickets. Other attractions, like the Washington Monument, do not require advanced tickets, but admission is available on a first-come, first-served basis. During busy tourist times, this can mean long lines.
Being the capitol city of the US, Washington is frequently visited by protestors and demonstrators, usually congregating outside the White House, Capitol Building or a well-known monument. This can happen with greater frequency immediately following elections and controversial political decisions.
While the vast majority of these demonstrations are peaceful, there is always the possibility that they can turn violent if opposing sides clash. It is advised to pay attention to local media, and avoid areas where demonstrators might congregate, rather than unintentionally becoming involved.
Washington DC Weather
Washington DC has a humid subtropical climate, which means that summers are warm and humid, and winters range between cool and cold. Precipitation is possible every month of the year.
The most popular time to visit Washington DC is between March and May. March brings the famous Cherry Blossom Festival, and the many parks and monuments of DC are in full bloom by the end of the month. May has arguably the most agreeable weather, with average high temperatures of around 76°F (24°C) and nighttime lows of 54°F (12°C).
Before You Travel to Washington DC – Do This
- Check what activities require reservations or tickets, and reserve them in advance.
- Bring comfortable shoes, as sightseeing in Washington DC typically requires quite a bit of walking.
- Protect yourself from uncertainties during your trip with visitors medical insurance or travel insurance for Washington, DC.