Know Before You Go

Making the decision - should I go?

  • Do you have the physical stamina to stand outside in the cold, in a large crowd, for six hours or more, and then spend additional hours getting back home or to your hotel?
  • Are you comfortable in extremely large crowds?
  • Can you walk long distances to get to and from your destination?
  • If you are planning to bring your children can you care for and keep track of them in large crowds for long hours?
  • What's the best mode of transportation for me?
    •     Bike
    •     Public Transit
    •     Bus
    •     Car
  • Check the weather forecast.
  • Sign up to receive Alert DC text or email notifications while you're in town
  • Cell phone use may be limited. Have an alternate plan for staying in touch.
  • Pack light and right.
  • Wear warm clothes and comfortable shoes. Bring food, water, medications, maps, tickets
  • Don't bring prohibited items

When You Arrive

  • Know where you are: Mark it on a map, make a note and/or take a photo
  • Designate a meeting place and time in case you get separated from your group. Exchange contact information.
  • Be prepared to walk long distances to get to your destination.
  • If traveling on a bus:
    •     Have a "captain" of the bus responsible for your trip.
    •     Write down your bus number and the location where it is parked.
    •     Write down a roster of passengers so you don't leave anyone behind. Include mobile phone numbers.
    •     Consider using the "buddy system" so someone else knows whether you made it back.
    •     Announce a planned departure time and make sure everyone knows it.
    •     Familiarize yourself with your surroundings so you can find the bus when you return.
    •     Get a map from one of the parking lot staff to show where your bus is. 

While You Are Here

  • Expect long lines to get through security checkpoints. Be patient.
  • Find your "spot."
  • Be prepared to stand "shoulder to shoulder" in large crowds.
  • Have fun and have realistic expectations. The crowds and security restrictions could make it hard to catch a glimpse of the President in person.
  • Maintain contact with your group, but be aware that cell phones may not work because of high demand. Use text messages to send critical messages.
  • Locate bathrooms, first aid tents, and a place to get warm. Call 911 in an emergency.

Ready to Leave

  • Meet up with your group.
  • Return the way you came: walk back to your Metro stop, parking area or drop-off spot.
  • Be patient. It could take a long time to get home.
  • If you get left behind, call 311 for assistance.
  • If there's an emergency or evacuation, don't panic, there is a plan.
  • If traveling on a bus:
    • Take attendance to make sure you don't leave anyone behind.
    • Double check your attendance before leaving.