Travel like a local with out-of-towners

Media Credit: Luca Silveira | Hatchet Photographer

There's nothing worse than a tourist navigating the Metro. Study up so you can impress your family.

It may not be the “party trick” you had in mind, but Colonials Weekend is right around the corner, and there is no better way to wow parents than by showing you are a native in your new city.

As a GW student, you may commute around D.C. regularly for an internship or to explore other neighborhoods. But if you usually stay in Foggy Bottom, and you’ve never used public transportation before, it can seem daunting. Here are some tips to make you look fluent in public transportation so you can impress your parents.

Buy a SmarTrip Card
These reloadable fare cards not only save you a dollar each trip, but they also save you the hassle of constantly buying new paper fare cards and trying to keep up with them. Nothing makes you seem more adjusted to the city than easily swiping into the Metro station, while your parents stand around struggling to find cash to feed into the machine for a paper fare card. If you want to avoid this altogether, buy a Smartrip for your visiting guests as well. The cards are relatively cheap, make traveling around the city much easier and you can always use their leftover fare money.

Check online for possible traffic issues
If there is scheduled track work going on (and let’s be honest, there probably is), it means having to deal with delays. It’s a hassle to plan extra time for your trip, but it’s better than walking into the Foggy Bottom Metro station and finding out you’ll be late for a scheduled event because of delays.

Plan ahead
This next step may be a little hard. Call your parents, siblings and friends before Colonials Weekend to see what they want to do while they’re here. Living in a city like D.C. means that people rarely come just to see you – they want to do a few touristy things, too. Know what they want to do and where it is. Then you can plan out the Metro trip ahead of time. Knowing where you need to transfer lines and what stop to ultimately get off at saves you the embarrassment of having to study the Metro map like a typical tourist.

Use an app or two
Finally, look into downloading a few apps that help plan Metro trips. Embark DC, for example, lets you put in your destination, then it maps out the quickest way to get there using a combination of walking and Metro trips.

Also, consider following @Metrorailinfo or @wmata on Twitter. Both accounts are very good about sending updates when stations are closed or experiencing delays, both scheduled and unexpected.

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