by Denise Stern
Did you know the White House is the only private residence of a head of state that is open and free of charge to the general public? Not only is a White House tour educational and full of history, it is truly a tour of the People’s House! Here are 5 tips to make your tour a breeze:
1. Plan Ahead
There are plenty of times and days to choose your White House tour, but you must book at least 30 days in advance. Once your date and time is locked in, no changes are allowed, and if you need to cancel, a new 30 day cycle starts, so be sure that the date you choose is firm.
2. Leave Yourself Plenty of Time
You’ll be waiting at the security gate for at least 15 minutes before going in. Tours are let in as groups so attendees must wait in line for the others that have tickets at the specified tour time before security opens. Also remember that there is very little street parking near the White House; your best bet is to choose a parking garage a block or 2 away which will add a 5-10 minute walk onto your trip.
3. It’s Not Bad to be Last in Line!
The tours are self-guided and while there is plenty of time to observe the different rooms, it’s easy to feel a slight pressure to keep moving as a courtesy to the folks behind you. For this reason, you might want to start out at the end of the line or let others go ahead of you during the stopping points of the tour.
4. Dress Appropriately
The tour’s waiting area is outdoors and while the Security Checkpoints are tented, you will still feel the weather so dressing for the appropriate season is a must. There is no specific dress code to take the White House Tour, but we noticed most attendees were dressed in business casual or formal clothes. We weren’t out of place in dresses and ties.
5. Take advantage of the volunteers
The White House volunteers are full of great facts! When looking at the White House Christmas ornaments for example, a volunteer shared what was special about each one.
If you tour the White House, you’ll receive easy to follow directions about security and what to expect in advance of your trip but we hope these tips make your visit even easier. Find out more at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/about-the-white-house/tours-events/
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Denise Stern is a mom of three children and the CEO of Let Mommy Sleep, providing nurturing, overnight care to newborns and evidence based education and postpartum care to their parents since 2010.
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