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  • Writer's pictureSasha C

A Guide to Washington DC's Airports

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

If you’re planning a trip to Washington DC, you’ll see that the area is served by two main airports – Reagan National Airport and Dulles International Airport. If you are a diligent traveller, you'll also notice that there's a third option just outside of DC in Maryland, Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

In this blog, we’ll break down how you can fly into these airports and how you can then make your way into the capital city.

Dulles International Airport (IAD)

Dulles is DC’s major international airport. Served by all the big names like Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, Air France, Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, you’ll be able to find a direct or connecting route into DC from around the world.

Located 27 miles south-west in Virginia IAD might look intimidating on the map, but with car, bus, and Metro options, the journey is straightforward.

Taxi / Hiring a car from IAD

A taxi will be the most convenient, and as usual the most expensive option. If you’re planning on a USA road trip, renting a car at the airport and driving in might work. However, it may be worth keeping in mind how often you might use the car in DC if you’re tight on budget – parking in the city is expensive, rush hour traffic is insane, and you likely won’t be driving between neighbourhoods.

Public transport options from IAD

Currently, the only options available are buses. You either can either take the Metrobus 5A from IAD that drops you L'Enfant Place or Rosslyn metro station. This costs $7.50.

Alternatively, you can take the 981 or 983 Fairfax Connector buses to Wiehlen-Reston metro station which is on the Silver Line for $2. Then take the Silver Line into the city.

Two Passports Top Tip: Choose the option that best suits your accommodation!

There are future plans to extend the Metro’s Silver Line to IAD, but until the extension is complete, buses are the only option.

Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA)

DCA is in Arlington, 4 miles south of Washington DC. DCA predominantly caters for United States with some routes to the Bahamas, Canada and Puerto Rico. We also believe that there are routes available to Hawa’ii and Alaska! Because of this, National Airport will be your best bet if you’re travelling from another part of the US.

Public transport options from IAD

IAD does have a Metro station. You can grab the Blue Line from just outside the airport and head straight in to the city. Of course, you can take a ride share or a taxi if money is no object, but in this case, the Metro would be our recommendation.

Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI)

BWI is Washington DC's second international airport in the city of Baltimore to the north, with connections to Latin America, the Caribbean, and a handful of European flights. If you aren't planning on a double city break by visiting Baltimore too, you can either get a taxi or train to Washington DC.

Public transport options from IAD

Taking the train avoids any chance of getting stuck in traffic, plus there's a free shuttle that will take you from the airport to BWI train station. You can either take the Marc train or the AMTRAK.

Two Passports Top Tip: Take the Marc train. At $7 it's much cheaper than AMTRAK and only 10 minutes longer.

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