Saturday, September 17, 2011

Saturday's Sojourn...

It has been a while since I have done a Sojourn post, but since I am actually in Chicago I thought I would share a bit of where we have been, I think I will save the rest of the vacation for next Saturday.  It will also give me an opportunity to share some of the ways to get great deals on travel.

I guess its easiest to go in order, I received an email from my local airport (we are on a smaller terminal) saying they were offering deals out of here direct to Chicago for $99.00 each way, usually they are $130 or more so that cinched that we were flying.  If you like to travel its worth while to be friends with your airport on Facebook or subscribe to their emails, you can get advance notice on air fare deals that way.  I paid for the tickets using a card that earns mile on that air line as well, and booking it right through them got me double miles towards my next flight somewhere.

Next up was trying to figure out where to stay in the city for under the usual $300 a night.  Being out at the airport may save up front, but it costs a fortune in cab rides, and actually
can wind up costing more than spending the extra to stay in the
heart of the city where you can walk to everything.  I am a member of Snique Away, a great site that offers hotel deals, kind of like Groupon but for lodging.  They have great offers each week, so its always something new.  The deal that came up was for the Hotel Burnham, just a few blocks away from Millennium Park, and we got to save a third of the hotel price. Like all the Kimpton Hotels, it is a smaller boutique property that offers outstanding service, they allow pets but if you can't travel with your family friend they have a program called Guppy Love, you get a gold fish in your room that the staff takes care of for you, no need to do a thing, other than name him/her and enjoy the company.

We arrived early so we had plenty of time to unpack, meet up with another friend of ours who flew in separately and unwind before our night of wining and dining on board the Odyssey dinner cruise.  I purchased a $50 certificate from during their sale for only $10, so we saved $40 and got to enjoy a great 3 course dinner while listening to live music and watching the Chicago night skyline go by.
Thursday we went on a Chicago Film bus tour, we purchased the tickets on Groupon so we paid 1/2 price for the two hour tour.  These are fun ways to see the city in a new way, and Groupon often has different types of tours and activities on sale if you watch for them.  It was fun to see the spot where they filmed one of my all time favorite movies,  Ferris Bueller's Day Off, of course I had to hum a little Twist and Shout for the rest of the day! As an added bonus we got to see the police cars and they are using for the new Superman move being filmed here, they all said Metropolis and were parked in front of Union Station, how cool is that?!?!  That left the rest of the day for shopping.  Ahhhh shopping, I do a lot of reward sites that pay you to read mail, click links and/or shop through them so I had and still have a lot of gift cards for Macy's, Bloomingdale's, Old Navy, Sephora, Williams Senoma, etc. so it was a fun day!

Friday was our princess pamper day, we all had a lemon cream Mani/pedi at Eshe Spa, a wonderful oasis in the city and a place I would put at the very top of my to do list again, what a wonderful group of gals we had help us!  They are a Spa Finder Spa and I was able to cash out from reward sites and my Discover cards points for Spa Finder gift certificates, the visit was totally paid for using hobby money or Discover rebates.  You can also get good deals on Spa Finder certificates at eBay. After that we went to have High Tea at the Peninsula Hotel, I was able to get a $50.00 Peninsula Dining certificate by cashing some of my points out of my American Express rewards account, so that was a great treat on a budget.  Ahhh what a day!

Today is double discount day at the Art Institute of Chicago, so today will be a day of culture and beauty.  If you have a museum near you that you enjoy check into becoming a member, many museums are reciprocal so you get discounts in many places.  I am a member of the Art Institute as well as the Field Museum and have used those memberships to get into and get discounts in Duluth, Minneapolis and St. Paul so far, I will have to see where I can visit when we go to Virgina for Christmas.  If you don't want to join check the museum's web site, they often have free days; usually once a month, and they will have it posted on their events calender.

It seems there is never a shortage of things to do in Chicago, this morning they were filming another scene from the new Superman move in Daley Plaza, right next to the hotel so I was able to get some fun pictures of that before we even left for the museum.  Next week the dining, the ball game, the chauffeured ride to the airport and so much more.

Have a wonderful weekend!


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