6 Tips to Travel to a Protest March
I’d never thought I’d write a post like this. But this is no ordinary time. No matter what your political inclinations are, one has to admit that the current political climate in the United States is far from normal.
Across the country, large populations are taking to the streets to demand change and many are traveling to nearby or even far-away cities to make their voices heard. When mass amounts of people descend on a city, traditional travel rules don’t apply.
As a DC resident, I witnessed hundreds of thousands visitors arrive to my city for the Women’s March earlier this year. Over the next few months, hundreds of thousands more will visit DC and other major cities for a slew of marches.
Here are my top tips for traveling to your next protest march.
1. Book early
Book everything early; be it accommodations, transportation or even a restaurant reservation. (Even a week before the Women’s March, I had a tough time making a restaurant reservation.) If you do book accommodations last minute, be prepared for higher rates. Consider staying on the outskirts of the city if budget is an issue, but research your transportation options to the protest starting point.
And if you are driving, book a parking space in advance. Websites like Parking Panda and Spot Hero can be helpful to securing a space.
2. Pack gear you need
Make sure to research what is permissible to bring at your march. For example, in Washington, DC, any large bag is subject to inspection. Bring a smaller handbag instead.
This year, most protests have been peaceful. But it doesn’t hurt to pack a few items to protect yourself like eye drops, band-aids and tissues.
Pack a portable phone charger too so you don’t have to worry about your phone dying or looking for an electrical outlet.
3. Know your ‘hood
Research the area around your accommodations as well as what’s around your protest route. Are there stores nearby that carry poster boards and markers? Any bathrooms or cafes along the route? Is there an urgent care clinic or hospital nearby?
4. Leave early
If you are taking public transportation to the protest starting point, leave early. For the Women’s March in Washington, DC, lines to take the subway extended a few blocks from many stations! Save time by buying your subway or bus ticket at least a day before the event.
5. Plan your meals
Restaurants near the protest route will be packed as the event winds down. It might be a good idea to keep meals at your hotel or AirBnb. Or try to make a reservation at a nearby restaurant well in advance.
6. Be a tourist
The march is surely to be the highlight of your trip. But don’t forget to visit local attractions if you have extra time to spare.