So, who’s planning to come to D.C. for Inauguration?
If you raised your hand, I hope you’ve found a place to stay! I’ve been following a lot of the local news about the Inauguration on January 20th, and they are expecting between 2 and 4 million people to attend. I have to admit, even though I only live about 6 miles from the Capitol, I will not be attending. I am not a fan of crowds, it’s too far to walk (especially in January!) and the statement from Metro indicating that after the ceremony, it could take up to 8 hours for everyone to get home by Metro rail alone made me decide to make alternate plans.
So as you can probably tell, I’m not planning to attend the ceremony. I’ve gone back and forth on this, but my ultimate decision hinged on the fact that I’m very uncomfortable in large crowds (I’m short, and have been smashed between very tall people before and it is quite claustrophobia inducing) and the fact that so many people are going that I would probably end up watching on a jumbotron. Instead, I’m planning to have a few friends from my neighborhood come over and we’ll watch together and have brunch and drinks and relax and enjoy the event from afar and not have to deal with the crowds.
I have a number of friends who are renting out their homes for the weekend and who are making a significant amount of money doing so. There are a number of very well written contract templates out there for people looking to get renters. My friends are making $8000 for 4 nights in their two bedroom home. I considered this for a brief second, but decided against it. I don’t like the idea of strangers in my home, plus I’m not sure where I would go that I could take my cats with me. Additionally, I’m sure there’s something in my lease agreement that forbids such a thing.
So, are you one of the millions who will be here? I have a few tips for you, and will have more as the event gets closer.
First, do you have a place to stay? Seriously. If you don’t, you better start looking now. People are reserving rooms that are hours and hours away.
Be prepared to be patient. It will be crowded. WMATA is working to make public transit as easy as possible, but well, I have very little faith that all will run smoothly. If you can stay close enough to walk, even if it’s 3 miles away, you should walk. Seriously. And don’t think about driving in the city. Just don’t do it.
Watch the weather. D.C. weather is unpredictable. 62 degrees one day, 34 degrees and rainy the next. It might be nice, it might be miserable. Be prepared.
Don’t expect to rely on cell phones. They are working to bring in additional temporary cell towers, but it may be tough to get a call out while you’re at the ceremony. Everyone will be calling their friends and family so they can share in the event.
Bring cash. Yes, D.C. has ATMs, but with all the people coming in, the ATMs might get drained faster than you think.
Watch out for the doors on the Metro. They are not like elevator doors. If they are closing and you stick your arm in, they will not stop and will close on your arm. You will bruise. And be yelled at by a Metro driver because they can’t move with the doors open. Watch your bags and clothing and small children as well. While I find it hilarious when someone gets their backpack stuck in the door and ends up pinned, it just causes delays and that’s the last thing anyone wants on such a crazy day.
Be courteous and respectful. This is a historic event. It will be crowded and people may be miserable while trying to get home. Remember that you’re there to celebrate. Smile at the stranger standing next to you. And have fun!
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
I don’t know that I think it will be dangerous, to be honest, as long as your son is smart and careful about his surroundings. Honestly, I think that teenagers will be better able to deal with it – not that I’m that old, but somehow, ten years ago, going to a huge event and being smashed in with strangers and possibly standing in the rain and cheering and being all excited sounded like a heck of a lot more fun than it does not!
My son had his hotel booked and tickets paid for in May. He is a teenager going with a school group. I have having second thoughts about allowing him to go. My older son went to the last Inaguaration but there was no where near this many people.
I’ll keep checking on you updates.
Racquel Groebner says
Property tax assessment is based on the value of the home at the time of purchased and adjusted every year. The rate is established by the State and voted by Californians. That’s why we have one of the lowest property tax rate in the country. Your citizenship or residency status has no bearing on the tax rate. Anyone includes a person from outside of the USA can buy properties in the USA. Good luck. Wait another six months to buy in California. We have not seen bottom yet.