SSDP2018+Lobby Day Travel Information
Register for the Conference and Confirm Your Hotel Accomodations
If you are a student and you are using CAT points to pay for the hotel for yourself and/or some of your chapter members, you should have already cleared that with your Outreach Coordinator. If you have any questions, contact email@example.com right away.
The conference hotel is the Embassy Suites by Hilton Baltimore Inner Harbor located at 222 St Paul Pl, Baltimore, MD 21202. A block of rooms has been reserved for March 1, 2018 – March 5, 2018 (our discounted rate is also available for 2 days before and after those dates, as long as rooms are available). The special room rate of $129 per night will be available until February 23rd or until the group block is sold-out, whichever comes first! To take advantage of the discounted rate, book your room online here. If you book over the phone, please be sure to mention you are with the conference.
Conference programming will take place in The Grand, which is connected to the Embassy Suites hotel via an indoor walkway and located at 225 N Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21201.
Lobby day meeting locations will vary depending on who you are meeting with. You can look up the specific location(s) of your Senator’s office here, and your Representative’s office here. For travel planning purposes, you may use the address of the U.S. Capitol building, which is where we will have our group photo and is centrally located to most Congressional office buildings.
Arrival to the Conference
You should plan to arrive at the Embassy Suites hotel on the morning or afternoon of Friday, March 2nd so that you have time to get settled before the opening reception begins at 6pm. Hotel check in time is 4pm. If you arrive earlier, you can likely check your bags with the front desk until your room is ready.
You have several options for flying into the Baltimore-DC region, in order of convenience:
Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI)
*RECOMMENDED* Via Uber or Lyft: 22 minutes, $20-26
Via public transportation (Light Rail): 46-60 minutes, $1.80
BWI airport is about 10 miles from the Embassy Suites hotel. You can travel from the airport to about .4 miles from the Hotel using the Baltimore Light Rail Link (toward Hunt Valley). You get off of the light rail after 33 stops at Lexington Market and you’ll be about a 7 minute walk from the hotel. The Lexington Market station is in a busy area. As in any city, use good judgment and consider taking a car from the station to the hotel. An Uber or Lyft to the hotel from the station should only cost a few dollars. Plus you won’t want to carry your bags that far.
Washington National Airport (DCA)
Via Uber or Lyft: 55-80 minutes, $67-91
*RECOMMENDED* Via public transportation: 2 hours, $25-35
Even though the conference itself is in Baltimore, MD it is possible to travel to Baltimore from the Reagan National Airport (DCA) which is just outside of Washington, DC in northern Virginia. You can catch the Yellow Line Metro (toward Fort Totten or Mount Vernon Square) from the airport and travel into DC to Gallery Place-Chinatown. You will transfer there to the Red Line Metro (toward Glenmont or Silver Springs) and travel to Union Station, where you can catch a MARC train from DC to Baltimore. You’ll get off of the MARC train at the West Baltimore stop. From there, you are a 3-minute walk to the light rail (Mulberry St Smallwood St). You’ll take that 7 stops to (Saratoga St & St Paul Pl) stop and wil find yourself 171 feet from the conference hotel.
Dulles Airport (IAD) – (Not recommended)
Via Uber or Lyft: 65-90 minutes, $104-136
Via public transportation: 2 hours 45 minutes, $30-40
For those of you booking international flights, BWI in Baltimore, MD is an international airport so you should try to fly into that airport. But, you may find less expensive flights into Dulles airport. If you do, please keep in mind that a trip from Dulles to Baltimore is neither easy nor fast. You would need to take a shuttle from Dulles to the DC Metro, transfer to another Metro line, arrive at Union Station in DC and catch a MARC train to Baltimore, and then catch the light rail to the conference hotel. This is not impossible, but a lot could go wrong with this many transfers and modes of travel. If you fly into Dulles and need help planning your trip from there to the conference hotel, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org and someone from the SSDP staff will help you out.
Via Train or Bus
If you are able to take a train from your location into Baltimore, you can. There is an Amtrak station at BWI airport (see travel route above) or you can travel to Penn Station in Baltimore which is a 25-minute walk to the hotel. You can also catch the Light Rail from Penn Station and travel 7 stops to the Mulberry St. stop, just 177 feet from the conference hotel. You can search for Amtrak options on their website, here.
Greyhound or MegaBus
Both Greyhound and MegaBus have service to Baltimore. These modes of travel are far less likely to be on time than an airplane. Make sure to arrive in Baltimore earlier than you need to if you chose these options as you won’t want to be late to the conference if there are delays.
- Valet parking is available at the Embassy Suites for $34.00 per day, which includes in and out privileges.
- Self-parking is available at a city-owned garage that is right next to but not connected to or affiliated with the hotel, at 210 St. Paul Street, Baltimore, MD 21202. This garage charges by the hour, up to $16.00 per day. There are no in and out privileges.
Departure from the Conference
Conference programming ends on the evening of Sunday March 4th at 6:15pm. If you are not participating in Lobby Day, you will want to schedule your flight home for as late as possible Sunday night, or even better yet, fly home on Monday.
If you are attending Lobby Day on Monday March 5th, you will need to check out of the hotel as early as possible on Monday morning since the buses going to DC for Lobby day will be departing promptly at 8am. If you are not attending Lobby Day, you can travel home at your leisure as long as you are checked out of the conference hotel on time. Hotel check out time is 11am.
What do I do with my bags during Lobby Day?
SSDP will be chartering buses to Lobby Day directly from the conference hotel to downtown DC near the U.S capitol. SSDP will also be supplying a U-Haul or other large vehicle in which you can stow your luggage for the trip to DC and during Lobby Day.
What time and from which airport should I fly home?
If you can, fly out of Washington DC
Lobby Day activities will be taking place from approximately 10am – 5pm on Monday March 5th in Washington DC. If you are flying into Baltimore, you should strongly consider flying out of the airports in Washington DC (DCA for domestic flights and IAD for international flights). If you don’t you will have to spend time and money traveling back to Baltimore to fly from BWI.
Book your flights home for later in the evening
Give yourself more time than you think you will need to make it to your departing flight. We will be coming off of three days of conference activities and will have woken up early in the morning in order to arrive on Capitol Hill on time to make lobbying appointments. SSDP staff recommends that you book your flight home for Monday night so that you have plenty of time to retrieve your luggage and get yourself to the airport before your departure. Travel from downtown DC to DCA is quite easy using the metro (about 15-20 minutes on the train). But you should plan to be headed from Lobby day with your belongings about two hours before your flight is scheduled to depart. Optimal flight departure time is 7-10pm.
Best Practices for Booking Airfare
The best time to book airfare is about 7-8 weeks before the conference which is early-to-mid January 2018, Don’t wait! The costs will continue to increase as time passes.
Stick to your plans
Don’t change original ticket or itinerary to avoid extra costs. Airline change fees are typically $75–$200 per ticket (except for Southwest, which does not charge change fees!), in addition to any increase in the new fare. For non-refundable tickets, most airlines apply a substantial change fee and require changes be made within a certain time limit, or the ticket loses all value.
Consider baggage fees and flight connections
Most airlines charge for baggage fees, some also charge for carry-on items for certain passengers. Make sure you know what fees are included with your flight before booking. For example, Southwest does not charge baggage fees. So, a flight with another airline may be less expensive for the cost of ticket but may ultimately be more expensive when considering other fees you pay at the airport.
Travel Reimbursements from SSDP will happen at the Conference
If you or your chapter are using CAT points for travel reimbursements to SSDP2018 please note that the reimbursement will come to you as a check during the conference, after you have completed a conference evaluation form and given it to a SSDP staff member. So, you will have needed to book and pay for your flights or other modes of travel prior to the conference.