Making time for a getaway with the girlfriends can sometimes feel like planning for a trip to climb Mount Everest. You have to plan months in advance, prepare work ahead of time, and then there’s a need for new attire (or at least an excuse to buy that new dress).
But my recent venture to the Windy City with my girlfriends was worth all the prep. Planning ahead—and tackling all those spur-of-the-moment problems while on the trip—was much easier thanks to tech gadgets and a great batch of apps and online resources.
Prior to the trip we planned the basics–hotels, general itinerary, whose car got the honor of toting our suitcases. Finding where we were staying was likely the toughest call, mainly because the options abound. We obviously wanted to find something that would meet our budget and our standards for cleanliness and safety. TripAdvisor.com is a great place to start with reviews. It also connects with your Facebook account to show you the reviews your friends have made. Choose Chicago became a great resource with its online site and app that helped connect us to the best Chicago hotels. It also came in handy when we got to planning the good stuff, especially when paired with TripAdvisor’s forums and tourism page. Both provided great ideas for the best museums, shopping, entertainment and restaurants.
When we hit the open road, the long stretches of highway never felt like the desolate Wild West thanks to the AroundMe app. Whether we needed a gas station, ATM, or a place to get a quick bite, AroundMe told us where our nearest options were so we didn’t have to waste time wandering. Even better, it meant we weren’t confined to making quick decisions on bathroom breaks based solely on what we could see from the interstate.
As we hit the city, Waze gave us the scoop on traffic jams and important detours to know about. Parking was also made a little easier with iCarPark. Losing your car in a concrete jungle doesn’t have to happen with this handy app that helps you mark its location.
Chicago is a public transit city, so when we didn’t want to break the car out of its safe resting place, we turned to the CTA to get a true Chicago travel experience. Several apps exist to help you keep track of your transit options, including Buster for the bus and Arrivals for the train.
Inside our hotel room, finalizing plans for the day were simple with Choose Chicago, which kept us posted on events during the span of our trip and even provided sample itineraries. When wanting to get a true taste of Chicago, we often used the LocalEats app to find the unique culinary options the city has to offer.
Spending time with the girlfriends in the big city was a delight, especially with all the on-the-go apps that helped us make the most of our trip!
About the Author: Danielle enjoys visiting The Windy City and staying in Chicago hotels with her girlfriends whenever her hectic schedule allows a weekend away from home. She gets less than excited about riding on The L while she is there.