Politician travel: DC for under $250 a day


New Jersey governor Chris Christie is in trouble for his travel skills. Appears he likes letting it loose while he travels. While a US attorney, Christie apparently opted for a $450 room in Four Seasons in Washington, DC, well above his daily allotment of $223.

Oh Chris. We're here to help. Next time, follow our Politician's travel guide: DC for under $250 a day, including all expenses. You'll get more out of your stay AND keep those pesky journo budget-tabbers off your back.

Accommodation: Chester Arthur House ($115)

Short-term rental site AirBnB has many good deals in DC. We found nice private studios in the center for under $100. But a fun option you'll like pays tribute to the most pants-loving president of all time. The Chester Arthur House, run by a delightful journalist couple (maybe you can cozy up to press for a change), is a Victorian B&B downtown, just a 10-minute walk to the U St Corridor and some of the city's best dining. Rooms start at $115.

Morning: National Portrait Gallery (free)

The great thing about DC is all those free things to see. If you skip the vastly overpriced Newseum - $20 entry in otherwise-free DC? Nevermind. Since you also once sprang on a $236 car service to Boston, let's get Massachusetts on DC too - meaning, you're walking pal. From the B&B, head south to Thomas Circle then southeast on, you guessed it, Massachusetts Ave to 7th St NW, then south to our favorite DC museum of all: the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, which houses the National Portrait Gallery - which is in itself a portrait of America.

Lunch: Rasika ($50)

A few blocks southeast of the gallery is our favorite Indian food in the capital at Rasika. It's a cutting-edge version of Indian, with many surprises in a setting that looks like a Jaipur palace. Because you walked, we'll let you even splurge on the Narangi Duck ($22), a juicy duck breast served cashews and orange pulao. Total bill: $50.

Afternoon: documents and planes (free)

Walk off the samosa by going two blocks south on 7th St NW to the National Archives, to see the original Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights (the latter of which you remember from this Schoolhouse Rock video). Then continue on foot, just south, to stroll the nearby National Mall. We suggest heading across it to see the National Air & Space Museum to see Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St Louis. Afterwards, walk along the mall - all the way west to the Lincoln Memorial if you have time.

Dinner: taxi and Ben's Chili Bowl ($30)

You've been a gamer, so you can take a cab back to the B&B to change your fanny pack (about $20), and to rest before a serious meal. Walk or cab north to the U Street Corridor for a cheap DC institution, Ben's Chili Bowl (1213  U St), which is to dining what a glimpse of the White House is to sight-seeing: a must-do. Around since 1958, the family-run business in the historic African American neighborhood churns out unforgettable 'half smokes,' the city's meatier, smokier version of the hog dog, slathered in mustard and that chili. Michelle Obama and Bill Cosby eat for free, you'll need about $10 m'friend.

Drinks: Teddy Roosevelt's house ($55)

You only have $55 to go, so take it easy at the 18th Street Lounge (1212 18th St NW), a swanky club in Theodore Roosevelt's old mansion near swank Dupont Circle area. No jeans allowed, but if you bring a monocle it'll surely make you hipper in this crowd that goes for hip hop and dub. Find your spot on the gold upholstered couches facing gilded mirrors and flickering candles and reflect on your diminished price tag.

Chris, c'mon man, you can do it!