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We'll be traveling to Washington DC for a week, and I'm trying to figure out some stuff with the metro.

I saw a page that talked about a short trip pass, which lets you take unlimited short trips (under $3.60), and I'm curious if it's worth it for getting around the capitol area. According to the metro website the trip from our hotel to the Smithsonian station is only $2.55.

Lastly, according to the website children 5 and under can ride free with an adult. Ours turns 6 partway through the trip. Do they actually check ages, or is it kind of an honor system?

Edit:
Also, after the trip, it is possible to get a refund on the balance of the cards? I'd hate to lose a bunch of money because we overestimated how much we'd need.

closed as primarily opinion-based by Giorgio, Jan, Ali Awan, choster, user 56513 Jun 22 '17 at 18:45

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    I'm curious if it's worth it for getting around the capitol area Only you can answer that question for yourself based on your circumstances, what you plan to see etc however it does cover the capitol downtown area. or is it kind of an honor system Yes largely so – user 56513 Jun 21 '17 at 18:45
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    There's a vague mention of refunds for people living far away from DC. It's almost certainly simpler to just plan better. You can always start with a small amount on a card and add more as needed. – Nate Eldredge Jun 21 '17 at 18:49
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    @NateEldredge We're definitely outside of that, so that's good info. We'll probably just start out small and add more when needed as you suggest. – AndyD273 Jun 21 '17 at 18:53
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    Welcome to TSE. The math is basic: the pass is $36 for 7 days. so it's "worth" it if you average $5.14 or more daily while staying under the $3.60/trip threshold. It's hard to advise you on whether it's "worth it" for your trip without a lot more details about how you're spending your time, and where you're staying; for instance, Smithsonian is actually not the stop I would recommend for a majority of sights on the Mall. – choster Jun 21 '17 at 19:12
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    Do you mean the capital area (i.e. the District of Columbia) or the Capitol area (i.e. the area around the Capitol building)? I can't tell. The major attractions of DC are not terribly far apart. We found that getting a multi-day pass for the hop-on hop-off tourist bus service was quite adequate for us. We got a descriptive tour of the area plus good access to some attractions like the National Cathedral that were not easily reached by the Metro. Foot was adequate for some attractions, but we stayed near the Capitol and Union Station which helped. Something to consider. – Jim MacKenzie Jun 21 '17 at 19:55