Chicago Trip Recap and Blog Updates
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Howdy all! As I shared a few weeks back, the family and I went on a short vacation last week to Chicago. We were gone for five days total and returned back this past Monday evening. The drive from Omaha is just shy of seven hours, so it’s not too bad though in our “comfy” Altima it felt a little longer than that at times. 🙂
I lived in Chicago for five years while growing up and most of my side of our family is originally from there so it feels like a second home to me. But, that said, it’s a great place to visit though don’t know that I’d necessarily want to live there. At any rate, we had a blast on our trip and are glad to be back home and back into the normal swing of things.
Few things in Chicago are cheap; heck, the amount we spent in parking and tolls alone made me want to scream. However, we had our hotel covered thanks to some Starwood Preferred Guest points so that cut down on the overall cost quite a bit.
We stayed at the Sheraton Suites in Elk Grove and really only slept there as we spent much of our time in downtown Chicago. The hotel also provided a nice breakfast so that helped us cut down costs quite a bit as we could snag some fruit and have that as a snack in the afternoon and only have to worry about buying dinner. That helped us stay within our travel budget, which is nice since our trip to San Diego to visit my in-laws this summer was a little over budget so it all balanced out in the end.
If you’ve not been to Chicago, I highly recommend it. There’s a ton to do there, regardless of what you’re interests are. While it’s not cheap, per se, there are things you can do that can help cut costs quite a bit. They have a great public transportation system in the city and for a few dollars a day you can get to wherever you want. We chose against it this time with having the little ones with us, but it can definitely be done. The other thing to consider is to stay in the suburbs as opposed to downtown as that’ll cut your lodging costs in half.
We had four full days in the city and we spent two of them at The Shedd Aquarium, and The Field Museum. Neither are terribly cheap, which is sort of sad as you can go to many museums in New York or Washington for free or give a donation, but it is what it is. Despite the cost, I would highly recommend either if you happen to be in Chicago and are looking to kill a day.
The other two days we spent walking Michigan Avenue, visiting some old family haunts and seeing things like a few Frank Lloyd Wright homes. The picture below is actually of me in front of the John Hancock Building, which is one of the tallest buildings in the city and one that my grandfather helped construct back in the 60’s.
As you’ll see below, the other highlight of the trip was enjoying some Chicago style pizza. We actually ate at a different pizza place each night. I fully admit it doesn’t fit with our new healthy eating habits, but I had busted my tail prior to the trip so I could enjoy it while there.
Now it’s back to the grindstone though. 🙂 Overall, it was a fun little trip though glad to be home.
I love to travel, though with us being gone roughly five out of the past eight weeks it got a bit old. I think part of it was the traveling with kids factor, but the other part of it is not being around and not being able to work on things we want to be working on.
Thank you for your patience as I’ve not been around much the past few months and thanks to all the great contributions we’ve had from other bloggers in my absence. With that out of the way, I wanted to give some blogging updates on some things that have been happening and some upcoming things.
Hosting issues: Over the past few weeks the site has gone through some significant hosting and outage issues. The first of those was a botnet attack which took the site down for the better part of a day. The second was issues by my hosting company not being able to keep the site up. On a number of days this amounted to several hours at a time and just got to be a bit much, especially as readers were starting to reach out to me wondering why the site was down. In light of that, I’ve moved our sites to a new hosting company which should hopefully rectify the issue altogether. I apologize if you were not able to get on the site as a result. As an aside, if you’re a blogger, I highly recommend my good friend Grayson as he was a lifesaver. If you’re looking for someone to help with the technical side of running a blog he can be a huge help.
New series: I’ve hinted about it previously, but I’m going to be starting a new series starting in the new year. It’ll be running every Friday and will be posts on simple life hacks that can help you save money and live a little more frugally. I plan on covering a wide range of topics, but if you have something you’d like to see in the series let me know in the comments section and I’ll get it added. I talk a good bit about different ways to make extra money over at Sprout Wealth but think it’s the combination of earning extra money and living frugally that you can really start to see some significant headway on growing your wealth.
New Blog Coaching Service: I’ve also decided to begin offering blog coaching services for new bloggers or for those who have been blogging for awhile and are now looking to take their blog to the next level. I’ll share what I’ve learned about earning income from my blog, including affiliate marketing strategies. through building Frugal Rules as well as my other sites.
My first course: Finally, I’ve shared this with a few of you, but I’m actually in the process of developing my first course on Frugal Rules. I’m a bit hesitant to share it yet, but I figure if I make it public then I have greater accountability. 😉 Anyway, I’m still working on the details of what’ll be offered in it, what/if I’ll charge for it, etc. It feels a bit overwhelming at the moment, but is something I’ve been wanting to do for some time now and after going to FinCon last month I’m feeling motivated to get started.
I think that’s it, thankfully. 🙂
What’s new going on in your world? How much is too much traveling in your opinion? Where is your favorite city to go visit if given the option?
Photo courtesy of: ©Depositphotos.com/rudi1976