There are options for visitors looking to spend less, too, though some wallet-friendly choices have filled quickly.
Rooms at HI-DC, a hostel in downtown Washington, were sold out the day after the Nov. 6 election, with a bed in a dorm room going for $50 a night and private rooms for $150. With all the rooms sold, the hostel is finalizing plans for an election trivia night for guests.
Aunt Bea’s Little White House, a six-room bed and breakfast in northeast Washington, still had two rooms available the week before Christmas, with rates starting at $225 a night. Innkeeper Gerald Duval said that included a bottle of champagne and a commemorative coin. There’ll also be red-and-white bunting on the home’s porch along with cutouts of the president and first lady.
Farther from downtown, the Best Western Plus hotel in Rockville, Md., was about 80 percent full with rooms at about $180 a night, down from a $209 starting rate. Director of Sales Ron Wallach said the hotel targeted some groups before the election, including students, journalists and the Secret Service, in order to fill its rooms.
Other travelers looking for budget-friendly prices may have success with websites like Craigslist or Airbnb, where homeowners offer their places for a price. More than 200 Craigslist housing posts in the area included the word “inauguration.” Airbnb said it expected approximately 2,000 people to stay in Washington during the inauguration using its site.
Other travelers have told friends and family living in the area to plan on having guests. Lauren Hines and her husband had three people stay at their small Capitol Hill apartment during the 2009 inauguration, so many that one slept in a hallway. She and her husband now live in nearby Alexandria, Va., and planned to host her father-in-law, and maybe mother-in-law, from Ohio. Hines said they didn’t even consider a hotel.
“They know that they’ve always got a place with us,” she said.