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White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

Central-NJ
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White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

Any advice what to do w/your belongings? Traveling w/kids, hotel is not close by and we're using public transportation. Should I just cancel since it'll be a hassle to go back & forth to hotel to get back our stuff? I have heard the tour lasting 15min -45 min. - that is a big difference, anyone can clarify. Thanks!

Washington DC...
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1. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

I believe you shuffle through at your own pace, so it would depend on your level of interest in things.

One strategy I have seen mentioned here is for at least one person to stay on the street with the stuff while the rest do the tour and when the others finish, the left out person goes in. Apparently they don't adhere strictly to the time on your reservation.

Central-NJ
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2. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

Thanks, but its just me w/3 kids, can't leave any of them behind by themselves ... any other suggestions?

Washington DC...
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3. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

If your time is after the Smithsonian opens, there are supposedly lockers at the Natural History Museum. I don't know where they are and it is about 8 blocks away.

Arlington, Virginia
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4. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

I can't tell you whether you should cancel or not, but I've always thought that this policy was very "visitor-unfriendly". Should you decide not to go because of this hassle, may I suggest you write your member of Congress and let him/her know why you had to cancel your tour. If the members of Congress got enough unhappy letters, perhaps they could see that a few lockers were installed someplace (perhaps at the White House Visitor's Center).

Central-NJ
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5. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

The tour is at 7:30am, so can't do the SI-History but good idea for future reference. I will write if I cancel. I will leave it up to the kids whether they want REALLY want to go, and maybe we;ll go w/o camera for 1/2 day b4 heading back to hotel, and just do the pool and ... But thanks for all your info.

Washington DC...
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6. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

If the only bag you are worried about is your camera, just try a day without. I know that sounds crazy, but it is better than spending half a day at the hotel because you don't want to "see anything" without the camera.

Nevada
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7. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

Last week we had a tour of the Pentagon, White House and the Supreme Court with barely enough time to get from one to the other. We left everything in our hotel room except our wallets and cell phones. It wasn't so bad being without a camera for a day. Time permitting you can always go back and take pictures another day. The length of your tour depends on how much time you spend in each room. We really enjoyed the White House tour. Take your time going through each room because once you step outside the door of the last room you can't go back in. There was a group that finished about the same time we did but they had rushed through not realizing that was the tour. They wanted to go back in but the guard wouldn't let them. They were pretty upset.

Central-NJ
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8. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

OK, decided to go w/o the camera for the day and just buy everything we need as we go (maybe disposibles cameras later), i/o returning to hotel to get stuff. If it rains, at least we can bring our umbrellas! Glad to hear people enjoying the White House tour, thanks for the tips!

Weston, Florida
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9. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

Definitely do the White House tour. We just did this tour last week. It was quite impressive. The history and the great story of our wonderful country are not to be missed.

Central-NJ
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10. Re: White House tour - what to do w/belongings?

Thanks all for your advice. We left our cameras & bags at the hotel and did our White House tour at 7:30am. This was different from the one I took 12 yrs ago, my children actually really enjoyed it. We then walked over to the Washington Monument and got 9am tickets! Went up & was out by 9:30am, no crowds whatsoever. Then we visited the Pentagon (we had tickets) yay to the Marine who helped us get to our group! Went back to the hotel got our bags & cameras, went to see the Bureau of Printing & Engraving and caught their last tour at 2pm. Our last stop that day was the newly opened Ocean exhibit at the SI-Natural History-it was wonderful. Despite the numerous times we've been there, this one was the best! a couple days later we were able to visit the Library of Congress, now one of our favorite places in DC - definitely do the tour, our 'docile(?)' was a woman with an English accent, kind of different... but she was great! Finally also went to Alexandria - Old Town, how could we have missed it all these years. We loved DC & its neighborhoods! and the weather couldn't have been better. The no-crowds really made a difference this time.