take a deep breath

& relax

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

Finally, Jess and Jackie made it safe to DC. After many interactions with the airlines they arrived safely. Every time Jess comes to DC something happens with her flight, it’s either delayed due to weather or trying to locate the aircraft or sometimes a mechanical issue but without skipping a beat Jess always makes it. Yesterday, was no different–she received a call 5 hours before take off saying her first flight was delayed, which then would make her late for her connection. After spending 45 minutes on the phone with the airline everything was taken care of.

I want to give you a few tips and ticks in the case of your flight being delayed (or cancelled). After hearing the news you might have some extra time at the airport. Of course, there many totally unpredictable circumstances that are totally out of your control. But there are some things that you can do to help the situation.

1. Be early- Just be early. It’s better to be early than late especially when flying is involved.

2. Know your rights- It could be a massive storm or maybe your flight is overbooked and you’ve been left at the airport. In cases such as these, it is vital that you know your rights. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to claim what you deserve and hopefully find a solution to your problem with a few aces up your sleeve: from getting refunded for all your food and drinks expenses to getting a hotel or some alternative transportation.

3. Always buy the insurance- This one is a no-brainer, but it’s also something you don’t think you’ll need until you do. Travel insurance is a guarantee that whatever trouble you might encounter it will be easier to solve. This ‘extra’ cost will prove a worthwhile investment if the unexpected happens. However, it’s a common holidaymaker mistake to not get insurance that covers every possible need or problem you might have.

4. Don’t check a bag

5. Get on the phone immediately– If the flight has already taken off without you or you know you won’t make it to the gate on time, get on the phone with the airline immediately. They should reschedule you on the next flight at no cost if the connection time was unreasonably brief. Ask for compensation, such as a flight voucher, if you feel you’ve missed your connecting flight through no fault of your own.

6. Explore the airport- Entertain yourself- This one is my favorite because more than likely you have something with you to  kill time, book (or an e-book reader, with lots of titles in its memory), your laptop or a tablet loaded with films the options are endless. When in doubt you can always create a music video like this guy did.

As we’ve learned from many situations short airport connections can be a blessing, but only if you actually make your flight. Remember when it comes to tight connections, every second counts. Knowing your rights really help you to rebook your flight. Good luck and happy flying.

a guide to hosting guests

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

After moving to DC, I expected to get a million visitors. I like guests! I like getting to be a tourist in my own city and of course I like hosting friends. This past January, Matt made the move to DC, too and since, our apartment has been a revolving door that never seems to stop. I complied a list to help you get through every last guest who’s on vacation. After many visitors Matt and I have gotten used to having our apartment be a breeding ground for travelers. Check out my handy guide to staying sane while hosting because no one wants a cranky host.

1. Get off the beaten tourist path

2. Go out on the cheap 

3. Cook at home

4. Get your visitors to hit all the tourist things you don’t want to do

5.Allocate space for your guests’ luggage, most apartments in the city are cramped as it is when you add your friends luggage to the mix things start to get cluttered. Offer a closet for them to put their items or a corner off to the side, it will help the flow of traffic in your apartment

6. Fill them in on the basics, ie, show them how to work the metro, download a transportation app on their phone, give them your Uber referral code

7. Have a SmartTrip card for them that they can load money onto

8. Communicate the duration of their visit

Some of these items might sounds a little COD, but to ensure that both you and your guests have fun I would stick by these guidelines. Remember, they are coming to visit you but also to explore the city you don’t need to feel obligated to do everything with them. Be sure to show your visitors your favorite places that are both on and off the tourism paths.

playing dress up

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

It’s that time again. Matt and I always seem to have visitors and house guests. Since April, our house has been a turn style of people. This week, we are back in the saddle once again and we find ourselves playing dress up. I like playing dress up especially when it’s to be a tour guide.  When most people visit DC their time is often spent on the National Mall, but there’s much more to the city than that. As a resident of the area,  I can tell you there are lots of other interesting places to explore than the Mall. So here are some suggestions of interesting places besides the National Mall to take your out-of-town visitors.

1. Waterfront- If you are heading down to Nationals Park or going to Bluejacket, the Waterfront is an awesome area to take your guests. While you are down there you might as well take them to the Titanic Memorial.

2. Roosevelt Island– This is a hidden gem in the city. Often, I don’t take people here, but when I do they are always thankful.

3. The Roofdeck of the Kennedy Center– This one is prime. Now that the Old Post Office Pavilion is closed and the Washington Monument isn’t open (yet) this is one of the best view’s in the city next to the P.O.V Lounge.

4. A Capitol tour– Sure, I am a nerd and yes, this is my favorite place but I think everyone needs to go here at least once.

5. Old Town Alexandria– Woah, calm down  I know this isn’t “in the District” but it’s a great place and really screams East Coast mixed with Southern hospitality. King Street is a major road in Alexandria and it will lead you to explore the historic Old Town Alexandria. 

6. Eastern Market– It doesn’t matter if you like art, food, or music there is something for everyone at Eastern Market.

Go out and explore. Next time you have guests in town, I hope you take them “off the beaten path” and do some local things rather than making their stay totally tourist.

playing tour guide

Like you’ve always learned in school, you learn something better when you teach it yourself. Personally, I think that is true for anything. Last week, we had two house guests. I proposed the idea to Matt that he play tour guide to get a better feel of the city. Since Matt has been visiting and moved to DC his grasp on the city is great, but you always learn better when you teach someone else.

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

#MinnesotansTakeOnDC follow up

guest blog presented by: Matthew D. Shalbrack
You can find Matt on Twitter: @hamsterjockey; insta: hamsterjockey, make sure you follow him!

 

Last week, two friends came to visit me in DC from the great state of Minnesota. Each of them had previously been to DC, but not for a few years. There was obviously much to see to refresh their memories in terms of sightseeing and much for us to catch up on as well.

In my guest blog post last week, I talked about how it was going to be fun for me to play tour guide instead of tourist. As I said, I was a little nervous and leery about it, but once my friends got here and we started walking around, I really hit my stride as tour guide and got into the groove of things. During the time that they were here (a week), we visited the United States Capitol, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, saw the Cherry Blossoms, took them to various local spots around DC, woke up early to watch the sun rise with Abe and even made dinner with them one night as well. We walked A LOT. Anywhere from 7-10 miles a day, but that’s one thing that I like about DC.

They fit a lot of sightseeing into only a week in DC. They did even more without me there, but in the end, I really feel like they got a great taste of DC from my point of view. I got to show them the places that I really enjoy and make a habit of going to around town. Another great thing about them visiting was that it let me still be a tourist in terms of trying new places, such as Bull Feathers. This city is bigger than any other city that I’ve lived in before, so I am always hearing about and trying new places.

Overall, I loved playing tour guide and I’m really excited to do it again. Who wants to visit next? Any takers? When you have someone come visit, what are some of the hot spots that you make sure to take them?

visitors

Being a tourist in your own city is never fun unless you have a really good excuse. I used to have a great excuse, Matt, but then he moved here and became a local. This week Matt and I have visitors coming for a week, and this is the perfect opportunity to show them all the tourist places while getting the local flavor. I asked Matt to write a blog about being on the “other side” of the tourism trap in DC. It’s one thing having someone guide you around this city, but it’s another to play the role of tour guide.

you can find me at: @K_AnnM | Insta | LinkedIn

#MinnesotansTakeOnDC

guest blog presented by: Matthew D. Shalbrack
You can find Matt on Twitter: @hamsterjockey; insta: hamsterjockey, make sure you follow him!

Tonight, and for the next week, two of my friends from Minnesota will be visiting and staying with Kendal Ann and I. I’m pretty excited. Yes, I’ve made some great new friends in my short time living in DC thus far, but it’s always great to see friends from back home who you haven’t seen in a while. I’m really looking forward to spending some quality with friends and exploring this great city even more.

One of the odd things for me will be taking the role of tour guide instead of being a tourist when my friends are here. As I said earlier, I’ve only been living in DC for a short time, but before that, when Kendal Ann and I were doing the long distance thing, I visited quite frequently. Those frequent visits took me to lots of new places that I had never heard of or had been to before. It was great – so many new firsts and I still have new firsts every week! But seeing all these new places and learning more about this city has given me my own view of places I think are interesting, places I’ve seen but have never been to before and places that I won’t ever go back to. I think that happens to everyone though once they start living somewhere new because you really start to try new things and new places, all while figuring out what you like and what you don’t like.

I think that I have a pretty decent grasp on where to go and how to get around in the city. However, I still accidentally walk past the White House and when it finally registers with me I’m like, “Oh hey, Obama” in my head. One interesting thing though that won’t be problematic per say, is the fact that I stick to routes that I trust and routes that I know when getting from Point A to Point B. Like I said, not a bad thing, but it’s something that I should try to work on while being the tour guide, just so my friends get a variety of different views throughout the city.

Overall, I’m looking forward to giving my friends a view of DC through my eyes, focusing on the sights and sounds that I think are important parts of the current city that I live in. It’s going to be a great week with big things on the horizon. I’ll give you an update of how it went next week!

If you’re interested in the things that I’ll be doing and the places that I will be taking my friends, I’ll just leave a link to my Twitter and the hashtag #MinnesotansTakeOnDC.