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Taking the First Photo-Friendly Tour of the White House

July 1, 2015 was a truly historical day for the White House. Michelle Obama announced  (by way of a fun Instagram videothe reversal of a 40-year policy that prohibited photography inside the famous residence. Meaning you can now take as many photos as you like while touring the inside of the White House.

What did this mean for Bon Traveler?

A few weeks ago, I received an email titled, “An invitation from the White House” — I almost deleted it thinking it was fake — inviting me to come as their guest to experience the very first photo-friendly tour of the White House. I was (and am) still speechless.

So on the morning of July 1, myself and about 40 other bloggers and photographers entered the grounds of the White House to take what would be the first photos inside by the public. After a few security check-ins, the self-guided tour began with a sign that encouraged photography. We meandered through the rooms, gazed at the details, and did what we do best — capture the experience. 

Along the way there were a few surprises….

+ We played with Bo & Sunny, the President’s dogs.

+ We got to go behind the ropes in the East Wing


We went out to the South Lawn to watch President Obama walk from the West Wing of the White House to Marine One, board, and take off! (This is not a part of the tour)

It was an honor and a privilege to experience the White House and be there for such an incredible and historic day. It was a humbling moment as it was my first time to Washington D.C. and couldn’t think of a better first impression of our nation’s capitol. Thank you to the White House for this opportunity of a lifetime!

How to take a tour of the White House and more details:

White House tours are open to the public Tuesday-Thursday 7:30am to 11:30am and Fridays and Saturdays 7:30am to 1:30pm. Tours do need to be arranged well in advance as they are on a first come, first serve basis. The application can be processed via your local Congressman’s office. For more details visit here.

Photography rules: lenses must be under 3 inches, no selfie sticks/tripods allowed, video prohibited, and social media limited to non-streaming networks.

*Bon Traveler was welcomed as a guest of the White House. As always, all opinions are own.

More exclusive photos…

Entering the first part of the tour with Nastasia from Dame Traveler

The East Room

Cross Hall

Press taking photos of visitors in the East Room

Views of the South Lawn from inside the Green Room

Walking the East Gardens (not part of tour)

Marine One landing

Taking off!

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Use Viator or Get Your Guide to find the best tours and experiences. They are my favorite tour search engines. I always check both as their inventory varies depending on the destination.

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