When planning a trip to Washington DC, it can be difficult to know which airport to fly to. Between Reagan (DCA), Dulles (IAD), and Marshall Airport (BWI), all located in the Washington D. C. metropolitan area, each airport has its own advantages and disadvantages.
In this article, I'll discuss the differences between Dulles, Reagan and BWI, and provide some tips on what to consider before booking your next flight. Reagan (DCA) is the closest airport to DC, located in Virginia. It's small and easy to navigate, and has easy access to D. Dulles (IAD) is generally better for most international flights, as it offers more nonstop routes to international destinations, and an international flight to Reagan may require a stopover elsewhere.
Although the IAD is huge and post-security shuttles can be a little confusing for first-time visitors, getting from the check-in counter to the boarding gate is surprisingly efficient. Getting through both security and customs control is fairly quick, especially since the IAD has all of the accelerated customs programs Global Entry, CLEAR and Mobile Passport. The biggest disadvantages of DCA are that it only has domestic flights (plus a couple to Canada) and it tends to be more expensive than IAD or BWI. If you want to fly to an international destination through the DCA, you'll need to transfer, probably in Atlanta, New York or Los Angeles. With 95 nonstop flights operating from DCA, the airport offers services to many destinations, most of which are clustered on the East Coast and in the Midwest. Marshall Airport (BWI) is just outside Baltimore, Maryland.
Flights from BWI tend to be cheaper than those from Reagan or Dulles, and Southwest Airlines operates the most flights to and from BWI. Two other low-cost airlines, Spirit and the Icelandic WOW Air, also have direct flights, while the larger airlines, such as United, American and Delta, also offer good deals on their fares. When deciding which airport is best for your trip to Washington DC., consider your budget and destination. If you're flying domestically or within North America, Reagan (DCA) is your best bet for convenience and cost. If you're flying internationally or looking for a cheaper option for domestic flights, consider Dulles (IAD) or Marshall Airport (BWI).No matter which airport you choose for your trip to Washington DC., make sure you pack a travel backpack that meets all of your needs.
The Turtle travel backpack is designed specifically to maximize the usability of airline hand luggage allowances while being water resistant and very durable. And if you're looking for a day backpack to explore the city, check out the Outbreaker laptop backpack.