An eighth-grade survival guide to Washington

You’ll miss it when it’s over, I promise.


The 2018 trip visiting the White House.

If you are an eighth-grader, and getting ready to embark on your class trip to Washington D.C.,this is the column for you. I have all the tips, from experience.

♦ Bring lots of good snacks. Even if you have trouble getting them packed, the snacks are important. I found in Washington you are often very hungry and tired due to the amount of walking. Also, if you are a picky eater like I am, it will be good to have food you enjoy just in case. One of the rules by Middle School teacher Mr. Travis Morrison is that you can’t have food delivered to your room. As Tyler Brown can tell you, Mr. Morrison will eat your food if you disobey these rules! So, if you’re hungry you can rely on your snacks instead of handing Mr. Morrison a slice.

Students on 2018 Washington D.C. trip visit Arlington Cemetery

♦ Take your money or wallet with you everywhere. You never know being in an interesting place like Washington when or where you’ll find something you want to buy. For example, I left my money in the room when we visited the International Spy Museum, and had to borrow some money from a friend to buy a shock pen. There are lots of places and little stores where you can buy things you might like. So you will want to bring your money.

 Don’t leave anything on the bus. Even though you tend to stay in your same seat in the bus, it makes it a lot easier on everyone to keep your things with yourself. Of course leaving a jacket on the bus is fine, but things like money, trash, or smaller things that could easily be lost are better with you. Money could be accidently picked up by someone thinking it was theirs. Trash makes the bus smell and its impolite, and having to ask if you can’t go back to the bus because you left your favorite necklace isn’t the best idea.

 Bring good walking shoes. You do lots of walking, and I mean lots. I mean Mount Vernon… Whew! Your feet are going to hurt most likely, so bring the most comfortable shoes possible. 

Charge your phone. If your phone dies on the long bus ride, you’re in trouble for the rest of the ride. And during the rides to different stops, there are no breaks to go back to the hotel and charge. Of course a portable charger is always an option.

 Don’t use the bus bathroom. If you really have to go that’s OK, but please avoid No. 2s at all costs. The bus can be stunk up very easily, and will make for a miserable car ride. Last year’s class had a certain someone use the restroom five times on the girl’s bus, which made for a musty twelve hour drive. 

♦ Download movies. The bus ride is very long and has little WiFi, so download movies and music to keep you occupied. Brining earbuds or headphones is also recommended. (See Tip No. 5.) Don’t worry though, last year most people could not hear their movies over the loud Coco movie playing on the bus nonetheless. 

 Be respectful or you will have to walk with Mr. Morrison. This isn’t necessarily a bad fate, however you would probably rather walk with your friends. It is also important to hold Stratford’s good reputation and be polite to staff and respectful in monuments. Several people couldn’t hold together in Mount Vernon last year, for unknown reasons, and had to walk the treacherous hills with Mr. Morrison.

♦ Be quiet when walking in or out of the hotel.  There are way more students than there are teachers and staff in the hotel, and after a long bus ride and dinner, everyone is definitely ready for some down time. So to make for an easy and quick transition into the hotel, stay organized and quiet. Last year’s group took about in hour to get everyone in to the hotel, because of everyone scrambling and yelling to get to the elevators first. it’s important to remember there are other people trying to sleep in the hotel as well.