Inauguration Weekend

It has been estimated that the U.S. presidential inauguration and related demonstrations will bring over 500,000 visitors to Washington, DC this coming Friday through Sunday. This will nearly double the city’s population during that time.
Pre-planned events on this scale are not unusual in international cities. What can travelers and residents do to best ready for them?

Be knowledgeable.

It is important to be informed about details, even if you are not attending the event yourself. When will it be held, and in what type of weather? Is the event held on a regular basis, or is it a one-time occurrence? Who is managing or sponsoring the event? Why are people traveling to it? Will activities be held in a central location, or throughout the city? The answers to these questions can be key to making your own plans effectively.

Be prepared.

Events can put strain on a city’s resources, even if there has been advance preparation. This is particularly true for transportation. If you typically travel around a city by metro, what will you do if the event creates a system-wide outage? If you must attend a meeting at an office building that you know to be twenty minutes from your hotel, does the event mean that you need to adjust when you depart? However, other aspects of daily life in a city can also be dictated by large events. Public service units, such as law enforcement, may be rerouted to address the event’s needs, making it more challenging for them to respond to other concerns. The event may affect where you choose to dine, shop, or entertain. Children may have the day off from school, which in turn can affect traffic patterns, childcare needs, family leisure activities, and more. Always having an alternate plan can make the difference between success and frustration.

Be alert.

Even if an event is peaceful, a surge in population can bring a brief uptick in petty thefts and other criminal activity. As is generally true, is important to remain vigilant. Even if the city and the venue are familiar to you, avoid attending events where violence is a possibility. When traveling throughout the city, keep a close eye on your belongings. Always lock your car, and do not leave valuables visible in it. Know who you will contact, or where you will go, if you need emergency assistance.

Written by Erin Fitzgerald, GMS, International Product Manager, Living Abroad


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