Inauguration inundation and inflation

What's The Deal

November 16, 2008|By MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN | MICHELLE DEAL-ZIMMERMAN,michelle.deal@baltsun.com

It seems everyone is excited about Barack Obama's inauguration, with ticket requests going through the roof. I called my congressman last week and was told my name would be added to the very, very long list of hundreds of Marylanders who plan to go.

Expedia.com was first out of the gate with a Web page (expedia.com/inau guration) dedicated to making plans for the Jan. 20 festivities. With Martin Luther King Day falling on Jan. 19, it should make for a long weekend celebration.

Hotels know this and have begun inauguration inflation. In other words, you'll pay a premium price to stay overnight in Washington for this occasion. And you may already be too late. Although there are still some hotel rooms available, many will book up faster than you can read this sentence. Most hotels will also enforce a minimum-stay requirement and payment in advance.

If you need to stay overnight and want a somewhat affordable hotel, expect to stay on the outskirts of Washington. Even Richmond, Va., is pitching itself as a place for partygoers. For hotel alternatives, check out Craigslist or couchsurfing.com, where you might find someone willing to let you squat. Either way, make sure you choose a place within walking distance to the Metro. You're going to want to be car-free.

While tickets are required to attend the swearing-in, the inaugural parade is come one, come all. By the way, the tickets for the ceremony are free, so don't pay some ridiculous price for a "fake." There are about 240,000 tickets available to the public, and they are only available through congressional offices.

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