Last weekend, we went to Chicago for a few days. I was expecting to have lots and lots of pictures and recommendations, but I just was having too much fun and was much too laid back to do so. Also, we didn’t plan ahead as we should have, so mostly ended up at our old favorites (read: LeColonial and The Kerryman). I did, however, take a few pictures on my 9am 90 degree run… mostly just as an excuse to take a break!
Another exciting part of the trip was that my husband connected my phone to the car’s bluetooth system, so we were able to listen all of my favorite podcasts. (It may have been disconnected after I made us listen to the second season of Serial on our way to O’Hare on Christmas Day a few years back… intriguing but not really holiday material.)
Speaking of… I have to admit that after Serial ended, I sort of gave up on podcasts. Some had fun information, but the people talking were just too giggly and giddy. Others just didn’t fit the bill. I tried to continue with Crime Writers On (which I LOVE and would highly recommend listening to concurrently with Serial) but since our cable plan didn’t cover the TV shows they were talking about at the time, I sort of lost interest there too. Of course, neither of those podcasts has anything to do with travel…
I recently happened upon Travelogue, which is by Conde Nest Traveler. Their most recent podcast contained all of my favorites… coffee, how to score cheap tickets to Broadway shows in NYC, and what to do in Chicago with kids (see how it compares to my list here). Anyway, as the title suggests, the hosts talk all about Where to Travel This Fall.
Having quite a few hours logged in the car this past week, I also turned to the classic This American Life. I don’t think that radio voices get much better than Sarah Koenig’s. And, I learned quite a bit about the aftermath of Japan’s devastating Earthquake and Tsunami in 2011… and about a phone booth that people who have lost loved ones visit to “speak” to their missing family members and friends… and the tragic but healing effect it has on them.
And another Travel App recommendation. My sister-in-law has such great travel suggestions! This app is called Hotel Tonight. Again, as the name suggests, this probably isn’t the best app for those who like to plan. However, if you are headed to a nearby city and are looking for a room, the prices do appear to be quite heavily discounted the night of. This is perfect if you are heading from a nearby suburb or state into Chicago for the day, for maybe a baseball game or quick trip to one of their extraordinary museums (just look at that view from Shedd Aquarium!), and decide that you are tired and would rather spend the night instead of driving back home. Done and done.
Yet another fabulous read (again, recommended by my sister-in-law… I’m so lucky to be part of a great traveling family!)… Wondering about how much to tip? I typically go with the 20% rule for gratuity while in the USA when I get a bill… but what about for those extra services such as when the concierge makes a dinner reservation for you? Jettsetter has you covered. Check out their helpful guidelines here.
What podcasts have you been listening to lately? Any other useful travel apps that you don’t leave home without? And, what have been your experiences with gratuity?
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