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Disclaimer: reading this post may exhaust you. So many times, travel experiences are limited to weekends or 3 days to make the most out of a new city. With the limitations of travel and holding a 9-to-5 day job, here are 5 tips to making the most of any short trip.
1) Wake up early!
When the weather is forecast to be in the upper 90s, make sure that you wake up early to enjoy the day before the fear of melting takes hold of you. For some, that may be a bike ride, a walk, or an early breakfast. Note: on Sundays, many breakfast places do not open until 8AM. If you are taking a short trip near Chicago, you may find early risers. If you have a tendency to wake up early and stand outside restaurants at 7:45AM looking very confused at doors that will not open, take a walk around the block or locate the nearest Dunkin Donuts because it will be open.
2) Pack a mid-size backpack or crossbody bag with the following essentials:
-a refillable water bottle
-snacks that won’t melt
-a few tissues/napkins/paper towels
-lip balm with SPF
-a change of clothes (if going to the beach or if needed due to excessive sweat)
3) Put on your helmet and ride your bike!
If you don’t own a bike, rent a bike. Many cities across the world offer a rental bike option. In Chicago, it is the Divvy bike. Recently, the city eliminated two lanes of traffic to replace them with a bus lane and protected bike lane. This makes transportation great for bikers, and downright demoralizing for drivers. If the task of jumping on a bike seems daunting, check the bike route options on Google Maps. You could also follow other bikers or ask a local to help you get your footing. There is nothing worse than losing a day of exploration to traffic.
4) Wear comfortable shoes with adequate arch support.
So many cute sandals are comfortable enough for a casual stroll but can’t hack it for the long haul. There is a saturation of casual lifestyle sneakers available at any website or sporting good store: go get a pair. Sore or tired feet are major detraction for anyone hoofing around during a short trip. Make sure to take care of your feet.
5) Skip the seated restaurant for the mobile meal.
There are many great options in the form of food stands and food trucks in most cities. With a short trip, you may not have time to spare with waiter service. Taking your meals from a restaurant on wheels will minimize your down time and give you a chance to try some great eateries without the (sometimes) months long wait lists.
Have Any Other Tips? Tell Me about them!
These may seem obvious, but it’s always important to get a reminder. Recently, a friend was heading on a camping trip and a reminder of “don’t forget toilet paper” may have been a Godsend. One person’s “obvious” may be another’s “never even thought of that.”