I’ll be traveling to the DC area for the first time in mid-March. We’re flying into BWI but staying in Arlington. What will be the best method of transportation to get from one to the other?
If you aren’t arriving late at night, you can take a train from BWI to Union Station in DC. (You have to take a bus from the airport for a short ride to the train station.) Then from Union Station, you can take the Metro or a cab to Arlington.
A taxi from BWI to Arlington would probably be at least $80, easy.
I don’t know about “best” but Metro would be most convenient if your flights are between 6:30 AM (9:30 AM on a weekend) and 10:30 PM. Bus route B30 runs every 20 to 40 minutes, depending on time of day; three separate stops at BWI then none until it arrives at Greenbelt station.
There is Amtrak service between BWI & Union Station. The cost of which is almost the same as the entire trip on Metro (about $10.25/person vs. about $10.50/person).
How many people and how much luggage?
There are a few public transport options if you are arriving at a normal time- I’ve done a bus that connects to Metro a few times. But it’s definitely not a short trip. Depending on the number of people and amount of luggage, a Super Shuttle might be something to consider.
3 people, backpacks and one rolling luggage.
Our flight arrives at 5:30 pm on a Wednesday and departs at 10:30 am on a Sunday
Rent a car and drive. Or change your flight to National airport.
Unfortunately it was $500 cheaper to fly into BWI…
I would go with rent a car then.
I would not rent a car. You’re not going to want to drive it once you get inside the DC area. Driving in DC is a pain in the ass. So you’d just be renting it for the trip from the airport and back.
Metrobus starts servicing BWI around 9:15 on Sundays.
I’ve traveled out of National with a military duffel, backpack, and large roller. Your luggage is definitely workable on Metro.
Yeah, if you can’t change your ticket to Reagan or Dulles, you should take a cab. Going from a bus to a train to another train is a pain in the fucking ass, and to top it off, I think the Metro orange line still has regular delays for track work.
Check the MARC train service out on Wednesday. That’s the specially priced commuter service from BWI to Union Station. Sunday, you should be able to get a ticket for $15 or so. I’ve made several trips to DC and landed in Baltimore. ALWAYS take the train.
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I think we’ve decided on the Amtrak to Union Station, and then the metro to Arlington. Each way will cost about $18 per person, so quite a bit cheaper than a taxi or shuttle bus.
If you’re sharing with three people, I agree it’s more worth it to take a taxi and make everything simple. Be warned that DC has among the worst rush hours in the country; you’re probably looking at 90 minute plus drive time.
I second the suggestion to take the MARC from BWI to Union Station. The last time I took it (November) the ticket was $7.
Well, the OP said Arlington, not DC. Lots of places to drive to in Virginia that aren’t as easy to Metro to.
I looked at the MARC, but the schedule didn’t work as well for us and Amtrak tickets are only $11 each for the times we need.
Yeah - cab or super shuttle or the like. Consider pre-arranging the ride - I’ve never actually done this so I don’t know who the various purveyors are, but unless you’re travelling solo and almost luggage, it would be a huge hassle to have to drag stuff on the various modes of transit.
There may be some direct-to-Arlington transit groups where you all get on a direct bus that would deposit you somewhere near your hotel. The one time I took transit out to Dulles, it was from a central location in DC where they picked up a bunch of business travelers. That can be much more affordable than hiring a cab.
Don’t bother with a rental car unless you’ll be planning on doing stuff not on/near the metro.
A friend was travelling here with her husband and 3 kids - and asked about transit options. I told her this was a recipe for disaster with the kids and the luggage. They rented a car and were glad of it (also gave them more freedom, as they were staying with us versus in a Metro-accessible hotel).