A couple of weeks ago Frontier was holding a sale for 50% off plane tickets for travel in the upcoming two weeks. Knowing we had the opportunity Thomas and I thought it would be a great time for me to meet and him to visit his grandparents in Chicago. As it goes when visiting relatives you do not really end up with time to explore and be a tourist in the city. However I can give some ideas of what Wilmette, IL is like and how to pack minimally for a two-day trip. The reason for packing so little is because airlines like Frontier charge extra for anything that does not fit under the seat in front of you.
My basic plan starting out was that I was arriving late at night so I could where something comfortable on the plane that would transition to something to sleep in. The best idea for this is a pair of leggings and a plain tee. From there I figured I could layer on thicker sweaters or jackets that I wanted, after all in is October in Chicago. My plan on what to actually bring in my bag was a pair of Toms, two more plain shirts, a pair of skinny jeans, and a sweater.
My biggest tip in packing is to just pick a theme and stick to it. I brought all black and white pieces and had one navy blue sweatshirt and a set of pajamas that diverted from that theme. From there you can use scarves and jewelry to add pops of color. This ensures that everything you back in a small backpack will match to give you more options and variations if you are unsure of what the weather may be like.
We arrived in the evening and stayed at the La Quinta that is 15 minutes from the airport so we could take a shuttle and not worry about getting a rental car at that hour. Next time we will skip on that plan and just go right for the rental car. The hotel was nice and clean which was all we could ask for at $70 a night. The shuttle driver was definitely a city driver with confidence but other than that the staff was all polite and there was an average continental breakfast that came with the room in the morning.
The rental car place was another 15 minute shuttle ride from the airport our next day. This caused more delays in our 2 day venture in Illinois. Next time we will just plan to pick the car up right when we arrive at night and not bother with all the shuttles as they added 45 mins of time to getting to everything. Less convenience than what we thought it would be.
Since this was a trip to visit family we really did not go 'do' anything. Our days were made up of catching up and talking about life in general. We did eat out our one true night there and I was mighty impressed with the restaurant. Located right in Wilmette along a beautiful brick downtown style street is the Valley Lodge Tavern. The food is upscale burgers, sandwiches, and steak. I ordered the turkey burger sliders and it was a little more food than I wanted with the side of sweet potato fries. That being said portions are just the right size, though the side salads are the size of a full size salad at most other restaurants. If you're in the Chicago area and cannot make it to Wilmette there are two other similar locations in Glenview and St. Charles.
Next time we will take an extra day to explore the city! Share your thoughts on what to do around Chicago on short trips there.