Q: I'm a 54-year-old woman. My 86-year-old mother, who is disabled from a broken hip, has only one strong desire, which is to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., before she dies. My father, who was a World War II vet, died before the Memorial was finished. I have been trying to plan a trip to D.C. for the two of us but am daunted by my fear for our safety in that city. What is the best way to plan this trip? I've searched the Internet for private tours but am unable to find anything like that. Who do I talk to to arrange a safe trip for two ladies, one middle-aged and one elderly, to this city to see something so meaningful to her? Thank you for your help.
–Carolyn, Felton, Calif.
A: Several different companies offer bus tours of D.C., and you can bet that just about any tour worth its salt will stop at the World War II Memorial. For instance, consider Old Town Trolley Tours or Tourmobile. These two companies are very similar in that they both make the rounds of all the major tourist sites, charge a flat, per-day fee, and allow you to hop on and off their buses as many times as you would like throughout the day. Also, you might consider Viator's extensive listing of Washington, D.C., tours.
As far as safety in D.C. goes, you shouldn't run into any danger as long as you stick to the touristy areas, like the National Mall, which are heavily policed. You might think about staying at a hotel in Georgetown, DuPont Circle, or in Foggy Bottom, all of which are known to be generally safe areas. The more dangerous parts of the city tend to be clustered in its Northeast and in the Southeast quadrants, so if the hotel you're thinking about booking has an “N.E.” or an “S.E.” address, you might want to reconsider. Still, there's no reason to be afraid to visit our nation's capital.
For more accessible travel resources, check out SATH.org (SATH is the Society for Accessible Travel and Hospitality).