How to get from BWI Airport to Washington DC for CHEAP


If you’re flying in to BWI Airport, I’m going to tell you how to get to downtown DC for less than $10 per person. HELLO! Welcome to Trip Hacks DC. My name is Rob. I’m a tour guide here in the nation’s capital. If you’re coming to Washington DC and you’re looking for the best tips, tricks, and hacks for exploring the city, make sure to subscribe to this channel and hit the bell notification icon so that you don’t miss any new videos. And if you’re interested in taking a private tour, head on over to afterwards, to see the tours that I offer. And if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to check the video description to click over and watch my Washington DC Airport Guide to make sure that BWI is really a good option for you. If you’ve flown in to BWI before and used the train to get to DC, leave a comment on this video and let me know how it went and what you thought, otherwise, let’s get started… BWI is a great option for domestic travelers because there are a ton of nonstop flights to destinations all over the country. The downside is that this is technically the airport for Baltimore, so it’s really far from DC and a cab to get downtown will cost you almost $100; but the nice thing is that you can take the MARC commuter train to get to Union Station in DC for very little money. MARC stands for Maryland Area Regional Commuter, and is operated by the state of Maryland. You can use MARC train to travel between Washington DC and Baltimore and points in between, like the airport. There are actually three MARC train routes. The Penn line, which services BWI Airport runs seven days a week, with more trains on weekdays and fewer trains on the weekend. At the time I’m making this video the fare to get from BWI to Union Station is only $7. If you do plan to use the Penn line just check the schedule before your trip. The BWI train station also doubles as an Amtrak station, so even if MARC doesn’t work out you can always grab an Amtrak train into DC. It will be more expensive though. With all of that said, let’s jump into the step-by-step instructions for how to use the train to get into town. 1. Ride the shuttle. When your flight arrives walk from your gate to the baggage claim level. Even if you didn’t check any bags you need to catch the shuttle on this level. Follow the signs to the train station shuttle. Once you’re at a designated stop, make sure to wait and get on the shuttle says AMTRAK/MARC on the front. It’s a free shuttle so once it pulls up just use either door and climb aboard. Now just sit back, it’s about a five to ten minute ride to the train station. 2. Buy your ticket(s). Once you get to the train station, go inside and walk up to either the staffed ticket window or use the blue Amtrak machine. If you go up to the ticket window just make sure to tell them that you want a MARC – not an Amtrak – ticket to Washington. If you use the machine, you start by swiping your credit card. On the next screen DON’T click purchase one-way or roundtrip tickets – those are for Amtrak only – instead at the bottom of the screen look for the button that says “purchase MARC tickets” then select Washington Union as your destination. Confirm that you want a regular ticket, unless you qualify for senior discount. Click the number of tickets that you want and lastly click purchase/print. Your tickets will print right from the machine and you’re good to go. 3. Ride the train. At the BWI train station you actually have to cross the tracks to get to the southbound side, which means going up, over, and back down. You can use the stairs or if there’s an elevator if you have a lot of luggage. Once you’re on the platform just wait for your train and board once it arrives. You can check the screens on the station platforms to see if the train is on time or what time it’s gonna be coming or You can check by going to the website on your smartphone. Make sure you have your tickets ready when you climb aboard because the conductor will be around shortly to collect them. Once you get to Union Station you can either walk, take a taxi, or use Metro’s red line to connect to your final destination. And that’s it! Thank you for watching this video. If you found it helpful you can subscribe to this channel by clicking on the Trip Hacks DC logo which is popping up right now at the bottom of the screen, and if you’re coming to DC and you’re interested in a private tour, you can click on the Capitol dome on the left side of my head, that’ll take you over to where you can see the tours that I offer. Enjoy your trip!


50 Responses

  1. Trip Hacks DC

    February 18, 2018 3:21 pm

    Washington, DC has three major airports, so make sure to check out our Airport Guide video to make sure BWI is the best option for your trip.

  2. Bradford Garrigues Jr

    February 20, 2018 12:40 am

    I almost picked up my little brother at BWI…then heard about the MARC train. He had no trouble finding his way and I picked him up at Union Station…way more convenient!

  3. evancortez2

    February 20, 2018 4:02 pm

    Have not flown out of BWI in years since Southwest started flying out of Dulles, but I do realize that Spirit only flies out of BWI so perhaps next time I might seriously consider it since airfares just keep going higher and higher

  4. Tom Nash

    February 25, 2018 8:48 am

    Hey Rob, I loved this video. So much good value in this video. I had no idea that you can go this cheap! I just subscribed and looking forward to more videos!;)

  5. Chad Pettingill, SLP

    March 27, 2018 8:04 pm

    Your tour of the process to get from BWI to DC was spot on! I wish I would have watched it before I had to do the same thing. I could not figure out how to purchase a MARC ticket until someone told me that I had to look at the bottom of the screen. I wish they had better signs at the BWI Station for people like me 🙂

  6. sue m

    June 4, 2018 2:09 am

    this video was so helpful for my recent washington trip! thanks! about the only thing i wanted to know that wasn't in this video is that the train takes about 35 minutes to go between the airport and union station. i joked with my friends that to get home on my last day, i had to take a cab to a train to a bus to a plane to another cab… didn't they make a movie about that once? 😀

  7. Sean

    July 2, 2018 11:06 am

    Good job. On a plane NOW from SFO to BWI. I land in 2 hrs. I will try MARC but I do have a few bags and it will be rush hour….I probably should take Amtrak. Not sure yet but either way, great video!

  8. Creative Frugal Fun

    July 8, 2018 11:40 pm

    Yes – this seems like the cheapest way to do it. However in our case we had 4 people with 5 suitcases and several backpacks. We ended up using Super Shuttle to get from the airport to our hotel (mediocre but did the job). Then we used a private shuttle service to get from DC to Baltimore (BT Shuttle) and then a private shuttle to get from our Baltimore Inner Harbor hotel to BWI (Apollo Shuttle). Both of the private shuttles cost about the same as Super Shuttle but were so much nicer and we were the only passengers (not by luck or an accident). Give these guys a try – they were great

  9. Wallydaft

    August 26, 2018 5:25 pm

    I shall be taking this journey shortly. I am visiting relatives in Glen Burnie MD and will visit DC for a day…Looking forward to it.

  10. Tishawn Fortner

    September 6, 2018 11:46 am

    Thanks,I'll be there on the 13th.My sister doesn't want me coming right now so I'll have to find a way to make things less of a hassle for her.This will be my first trip over there,I hope I dont get lost.

  11. E G

    September 7, 2018 1:16 pm

    Hey Rob, I’m gong to DC in December, but I’m arriving at the Dulles airport. Could you tell me which is the cheapest way to go to Downtown? Thanks man.

  12. Janmaris Marin

    September 25, 2018 4:20 am

    Hi Rob! I'm going to Baltimore in 2 weeks, and I am arriving to BWI. What would be the cheapest way to get there?

  13. Dustin D

    September 29, 2018 3:02 am

    Thanks for the tips! I did this today on my 1st trip to DC and it was a really easy and cheap way to get to and from DC for cheap!

  14. Patrick Stiehm

    October 24, 2018 12:10 am

    I think Metro still offers express bus between BWI and the Greenbelt Metro Station. That can be a much better alternative under some circumstances.

  15. MHcoders23

    November 7, 2018 2:26 pm

    Hey Rob! I seldom write comments on YouTube but I had to for this video. I wanted to thank you for making this! I've always flown in to BWI when visiting D.C. and have been lucky to have family pick me up for free, but this upcoming trip I planned on calling an Uber for about $65. Then I realized there was a train which serviced BWI and Union stations. THEN, I was a bit overwhelmed trying to plan around taking a whole new transit system that I wasn't familiar with, but this video scratched that unique itch. Thank you for making this video! I hoped that someone had made a guide this easy to follow but I wasn't expecting to find it.

  16. Daniel Fenner

    December 10, 2018 12:51 am

    Hey, I’m flying 1 way from DC to San Diego next August. I’m British and know nothing about flying domestic in the US. What do you suggest I do, and how should I get the best fare?

  17. Ashley Wagner

    December 18, 2018 3:56 am

    Had no clue MARC existed. I was about to buy an Amtrak ticket and accept my fate, but did last minute researching and found this video! MARC ticket for both passengers round trip is still cheaper than one way with the Amtrak! Score. Thanks!!!

  18. va3nh

    December 28, 2018 10:31 pm

    Love using the MARC, been using it for years heading back and forth from BWI to Union Station. The bus trip from the terminal to the train station and then again from the train station to the terminal isn't hard, the whole process and ride is pretty easy, cheaper and pretty relaxing taking about a 1/2 an hour to make the trip.

  19. Adam Dorband

    January 29, 2019 3:51 am

    Super helpful video! I'm planning on going from the airport to DC in a few weeks and this is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!

  20. Pilar Garza

    February 5, 2019 11:52 pm

    this is genius and it worked out perfectly! We had to ask someone there for help since there was construction going on. Thanks Rob! 'Saved $46 on this deal as opposed to Uber. The shuttle for 2 people was charging 230 round trip and I almost scheduled it until i found this video. I listened to more of your videos and they are all very helpful.

  21. Jeff Anderson

    March 13, 2019 9:23 pm

    I've looked at the MARC site and it is only showing about 4 northbound trains to BWI on Sundays. Am I reading that correctly? My flight would leave BWI at 6:30pm…so what I'm reading means I'd have to catch a 2:30 train out of Washington, correct? Unfortunately that means spending 3.5 hours at BWI.

  22. Irene Low

    March 28, 2019 3:27 pm

    My flight departing BWI-ATL at 8.25am. I am travelling from DC (union station) to BWI by MARC at 6.30am on Sat. Would I have sufficient time to board my flight? Grateful for some advice. Thanks

  23. Yingfei Xin

    May 14, 2019 10:04 pm

    To check train schedule:
    In the calendar, you can actually check other months. It's just that for some reasons the arrows don't show up.
    After you enter your date and locations, it'll show you a very short list, it's NOT exhaustive. Click "show all" on the top right for all trains.

  24. Dave Saia

    June 17, 2019 2:25 am

    This looks super helpful! Love that you include photos of the signage at the airport! Thank you.

  25. bwinansful

    June 18, 2019 2:02 pm

    Thank you so much for this video! I was stressing, trying to figure out the most cost effective way to get to DC and this put me at ease!! Going to check out your tours now!

  26. Maria Rivera

    September 17, 2019 4:28 pm

    Oh my goodness I cant thank you enough for this!! I've been sitting here googling what the cheapest most efficient way to get from BWI to DC and I've been so confused haha thank you THANK YOU!! you rock!!

  27. carlos lima

    December 29, 2019 6:50 pm

    We are 3 travelling to DC. Each ticket to BWI is $50 cheaper than to DCA or IAD. The Uber trip is estimated as $60. However, I had some trips to airport (like JFK) refused by Uber driver. Do you know if it is common Uber driver refusing trips at BWI to DC?

  28. Andy Cohn

    January 17, 2020 11:16 pm

    I was a bit confused on how to get back to BWI airport, and how to get my tickets back at union station. Can you do a video explaining that

  29. Christopher Ignasak

    January 18, 2020 10:05 pm

    If we arrive at BWI at 900am, could we make the MARC station for the 930am train? We won’t be checking luggage so we can go straight to the shuttle once we land.

  30. Michelle Lopez

    February 19, 2020 11:27 pm

    You make it sound so easy but when I go to the website for Marc I'm so lost! Is it easier to just catch the shuttle and figure out where to go when you get to Penn station?


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