7 Must-Know Travel Hacks About Chicago

Known as “The Windy City”, there is more to Chicago than just the Chicago Bulls, the Chicago Cubs, and the White Sox.

Chicago is the third most-populated city in the U.S. and is the origin of many of the country’s cultural and industrial exports, such as the skyscraper, McDonald’s, Boeing, the deep dish pizza, and The Blues Brothers.

Now getting around Chicago might seem complicated with the streets laid out in a grid but going around the city will let you discover a variety of attractions.

1. John Hancock Center – The John Hancock Center is no longer called by that name; it’s now known as 875 North Michigan Avenue. However, as the fourth-tallest building in Chi-Town, it has a 360-degree view of the surrounding area – a radius of around 80 miles encompassing the city, Chicagoland, and up to four states.

While most tourists go up to the observation deck, visitors are charged $21 for adults and $14 for children. However, going up to the 95th-floor restaurant is free. Of course, you must get a drink, but a cocktail there would be cheaper than the same cocktail at the observation deck.

2. Hyde Park – While the Loop is often considered the cultural heart of Chicago, Hyde Park isn’t a bad place to take in some culture as well. The neighborhood is home to some of the foremost cultural institutions in the city, such as the Museum of Science and Technology. The Robie House, built by the architect Frank Lloyd Wright, is open for tours on Thursday to Monday. The Oriental Institute Museum, located on the sprawling, magnificent campus of the University of Chicago, contains archaeological finds from the Middle East.

3. Chicago Pedway – Should you drop by Chicago in the middle of winter, you’ll understand why the locals call it “Chiberia” – temperatures could go down to as low as -23°F. However, you could still get around by taking the Chicago pedway, a series of underground walkways that stretches from Maggie Daley Park in the Loop’s east side to the parking facility at the corner of Madison and La Salle streets. The pedway might be a tangled mess, but it’s still the best way to get from Point A to Point B within the Loop.

4. Water Taxis – If you’re in Chicago in the warmer months and have some time to kill, head down to the Navy Pier and take the Shoreline water taxi. The red, white, and blue water taxis take two routes: one going to the Museum Campus area by the lake, another going to Willis Tower (which was known as Sears Tower until fairly recently). Both are equally scenic routes. The Chicago water taxi, on the other hand, is painted yellow and goes from Michigan Avenue to Chinatown, with two of seven stations closed on weekends.

5. Chicago Athletic Association Hotel – If you can’t imagine going through the day without coffee, Chicago has hundreds of coffee shops. However, if you want to visit a place where you can sample some of the best coffee blends from over the country, Fairgrounds at the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel offers beans from Chicago, California, Portland, Milwaukee, Nashville, and New York. If you’re not in a hurry, you can enjoy your coffee and a sandwich at Fairgrounds’ patio with a view of Milleninum Park.

6. Chicago deep dish pizza is the city’s shining culinary legacy. It’s not a snack like most pizzas; it’s a meal in a slice. Most tourists go to the pizza places downtown, such as Gino’s East, Unos and Dues, and Giordano’s. Locals, though, prefer going further afield – the South Side is home to Beggar’s Pizza, Home Run Inn Pizza, and Connie’s Pizza. You could also have an Italian beef sandwich at Al’s Beef downtown or Mr. Beef On Orleans, in the River North neighborhood.

7. Chicago Picasso – Chicago is home to an impressive array of public art, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Alexander Calder, and Anish Kapoor. The 50-foot tall Chicago Picasso in Daley Plaza is the first piece of public art in the downtown area and was a gift to the city by the eccentric artist. Up to now, there is still an ongoing debate about what the sculpture represents. Possible inspirations include a French model, a baboon, the Egyptian deity Anubis, and an Afghan hound. Whatever it is, though, the Chicago Picasso is a distinctive Chicago landmark, one that has appeared in films such as The Fugitive, The Blues Brothers, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

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7 Reasons To Travel To Denver This Summer

Denver is known as the Mile High City, and indeed, the sky’s the limit when it comes to Denver’s numerous attractions!

From new, exciting food hot spots to outdoor pursuits to literary pilgrimages, there are hundreds of reasons to climb up to the city in the middle of the High Plains.

Here are seven of the best reasons to visit Denver this summer.

1. Rock At Red Rocks Amphitheatre –There will be over 130 concerts in Denver this summer, with the epicenter of the city’s music scene, the Red Rocks Amphitheatre, hosting acts as diverse as Dave Chapelle and Jon Stewart, Tenacious D, Colorado natives OneRepublic, Lionel Richie, Peter Frampton, Billie Eilish, My Morning Jacket, and The String Cheese Incident. If you’d rather stretch out and relax as the sun rises, the amphitheatre also hosts Yoga On The Rocks on Saturday mornings until mid-August.

2. Cherry Creek –Denver is known for its very active outdoor lifestyle, and its numerous parks and bike trails in neighborhoods like Cherry Creek are great places for running and hiking. Cherry Creek Reservoir, south of Denver, is the end-point of an 11.2-mile trail that runs south from Confluence Park in Denver’s LoDo district. The reservoir itself has a sandy swimming beach, camping facilities, and boat docks.

3. Denver’s Union Station is a fully-operational train station that features classic Beaux Arts architecture. It serves as the city’s link to California and Illinois through the Amtrak and is the terminus of the various city trains that serve the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area.

However, people now flock to Union Station for the food and drink. The Terminal Bar, built in the center of the station, offers an extensive collection of local beers. Mercantile Dining & Provisions, on the other hand, features local produce, including braised lamb Bolognese served with gnocchi.

4. The Denver Broncos are three seasons removed from winning Super Bowl 50 and wins have been hard to come by in the past two seasons, but that hasn’t stopped the city’s football fans from packing Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The Broncos rank fifth in the NFL in terms of average home game attendance, with more than 76,000 fans filling the stadium on game day. The stadium also has its own unique noise, called the “Mile High Thunder”, caused by fans stamping their feet on the steel floors.

5. Great American Beer Festival – Beer lovers should not miss the Great American Beer Festival, which often takes place in September. Over 600 breweries from all over the U.S. will have 3,000 beers on tap. If you don’t like crowds, perhaps you might want to join the 20-brewery Denver Beer Trail, featuring local breweries, including Coors and Wynkoop. In 2015 alone, 16 breweries opened in the city, which means Denver’s reputation as the craft beer capital of the world isn’t going away any time soon.

6. Larimer Square – Fans of literature will remember Denver as the setting for many of the Beat Generation’s shenanigans. Larimer Square, where Denver native Neal Cassady made his start as a literary legend, is no longer the run-down, bohemian hotspot it was when Jack Kerouac first met him, but landmarks like My Brother’s Bar, where Cassady, Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg used to eat and drink, still retain much of their old charm. In fact, the waiters might tell you that Kerouac himself sat on one of the existing bar stools. By the pay phone lies a letter written by Cassady to a friend, asking the latter to pick up his tab while he was doing his time.

7. Downtown Aquarium –Because of its location at the foothills of the Rockies, you wouldn’t think Denver would have a large aquarium of its own. Yet it does! The Downtown Aquarium is the largest aquarium between Chicago and California. It houses more than 500 species of fish and other aquatic life, including horseshoe crabs, sting rays, desert pupfish, and sea otters. In addition to marine life, the Downtown Aquarium also takes care of endangered Sumatran tigers.

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7 Ways To Generate Money While Enjoying A Vacation

Travelling is such fun we wish we can have non-stop vacations! If only we can do it without going broke. Usually, we save up some generous amount of money in our travel fund to be able to afford a decent vacation. Once we go back home, it may feel like we’re back at the first level and we need to work hard again so we can travel once more.

You may see a couple of your social media friends who may seem to travel all year-round and you wonder, “How can they sustain that kind of enchanting lifestyle?” Ask no more because today, we are dropping seven ways to generate money while you travel around the world.

1. Travel for free and learn about farming (WWOOFing).

If you’re into volunteering, it would be nice to use it while you travel. World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farming or WWOOF connects volunteers with organic farm owners, farmers, and gardeners who are looking for some volunteer farm work in exchange for food, accommodation, and new farming knowledge.

The organization has a vast network of organic farmers all around the globe. This allows volunteers to travel and receive free home and food while they help grow the organic agriculture.

2. Teach English online.

With the continuous rise of various online and mobile job opportunities, travelling while working is made even more possible. Out of all the vast role choices out there, teaching the English language will be the best role you can get that you can enjoy, spend little time with, and earn some decent money from.

Many people around the world are desperate to learn how to use the English language. You may either teach online or in person, but both will guarantee some proper income to get you going while you travel.

3. Share your experiences to the world through blogging/vlogging.

Sharing your travel experiences through blogs and video blogs may be your extension hobby on top of travelling. Additionally, you can earn some bucks through many ways such as advertisements. Starting out might be a little too hard since there are millions of existing blogs and vlogs out there. To overcome this, be sure to post high-quality content and be consistent in doing it.

4. Write a book.

If you have a passion for writing, you can consider writing your own book and publishing them through Amazon. You can write about almost all genres but some of the most-sought after genres are young adult, new adult, romance, thriller, and horror. You may not see cash flowing to your account really quick after finishing a book but the income will eventually build up.

5. Trade cryptocurrencies.

Crypto market is a free market that can offer huge profit opportunities to anybody. However, since most cryptocurrencies are operated with little to no regulations, increasing its investment risk level. If you are an aggressive investor, you may try trading cryptocurrencies as you travel.

Most people say that cryptocurrencies will play a huge role in the future and it might just be the case. For example, way back 2009, a crypto called Bitcoin is worth basically nothing. As time passes by and more people keep utilizing Bitcoin, its value surged and is now valued around $5,000.

6. Consider putting up an online store or an Amazon store.

If you’re the merchant or entrepreneur-type of person, you can consider entering the world of ecommerce to earn some income to fund your travels. You may build a personalized website to present your store and products or you may utilize Fulfilment by Amazon program. The former may need you to have a physical warehouse and accounts with shipping carriers, but you can man it virtually. If you don’t want to be bothered with building websites, you may sign up for a seller account in Amazon and enroll for its Fulfilment by Amazon program where you’ll only worry about what products to sell and where to source them from.

7. Trade or invest in stock market.

If you think no one gets rich through stock trading, go ask Warren Buffett. Kidding aside, learning how to do stock trading may feel overwhelming with so much information in the internet. You do not need to hop immediately and learn the Benjamin Graham principles, but you can start learning from beginner-friendly sites such as Investopedia.

Once you’re confident that you learned something through research, engage yourself and invest a little amount. This will test you if stock trading is the right way for you to invest money and earn from it in the future. You can always do it on your free time when travelling.

You can now enjoy unlimited travels now that you’re aware of more ways to generate money while travelling. We advise you to try all these out and pick out the best ones that are in line with your passion and interest! Happy earning and travelling!

7 Best Mobile Apps For Much Easier Travel

The new generation of travelers might be clueless how their folks were able to travel around without as much to guide them.

In the past, it was the norm to carry around cameras, maps, and even compasses!

Nowadays, these can be installed in our mobile phones, but with so many listed apps out there, it can get too overwhelming to choose which to download.

We picked only the best ones for you and came up with the 7 best mobile apps to make traveling so much easier!

#1. Kayak, your itinerary creator.

Kayak is a travel search engine similar to Google Flights created to provide travel options on-the-go. We picked this out of other competitions since it has a very user-friendly interface both in-app and its website version.

Best deals as well as travel times for different types of accommodations, flights, cruises, trains, vacation packages, and even rental cars, are swiftly shown along with its prices.

This app also offers mobile-exclusive deals as well as offline utilization and flight status notifications. If you’re just planning, you can just save some items in your searches first and the app will notify you for any price-drops!

#2. AirBnb, your cheap but safe lodging.

If you’re looking for some cheaper-than-hotel-rate rooms with some much-better-privacy than hostels, then AirBnb should be your first bet.

Last year, AirBnb reported to have listings in 191 countries with a total of 4 million listings around the globe.

At last, you can travel and live like a local but AirBnb makes sure that you still have the privacy and a comfortable space you deserve at the end of the day.

#3. Monitor your flight with FlightRadar24.

FlightRadar24 is your best gateway to know real time air traffic updates. In fact, its site and app show live air traffic from all around the world. Through their app or site, you can search for a flight using its flight number, callsign, or registration.

If you want to, for any reason, you may playback past flights using the mobile apps, but the free access only offers a limited playback choices.

#4. Enjoy world-class GPS navigation using Sygic.

Sygic lets you navigate even without internet connection. It’s currently loaded with high-quality maps of over 200 countries. This awesome app also provides you the shortest and less-trafficked way to your destination as well as parking spaces if there are any around it.

Save money while you travel when you use Sygic since this app also notifies you with up-to-date fuel prices and lets you choose the petrol stations with the lowest price. The premium access also comes with another feature that will alert you should you drive above the speed limit in the current area.

#5. Get going with Rome2Rio.

Rome2Rio is a little bit similar with Kayak except that it lets you see how you can get from Point A to Point B using planes, trains, buses, ferries, and cars. All you need to do is enter your Points A and B through their app and the app will automatically show you options on how to get to Point B from Point A.

Additionally, it will also let you choose and book plane, bus, and train tickets so you can get to your destination quicker and cheaper!

#6. Find the hottest and popular local places around using Yelp.

We’ve always emphasized how interactions with area locals will get you in the best places around. Yelp might be your shortcut for that idea if you’re not into talking with other people but still want to discover the trendiest places around.

Not just places to eat, but Yelp also has listings for other types of businesses such as salons, and other miscellaneous shops and businesses. Be sure to read the reviews for each establishment and you’ll surely learn a thing or two about it!

#7. Currency (by XE), your on-the-go currency converter.

With Currency (by XE), you may now convert your money into any available currencies whenever and wherever you are. You may also use this app as means to transfer money both for personal and business use. XE claims itself as the world’s trusted currency authority.

The company has been operating since 1993 with over 65 million app downloads and 280 million website visitors every year. This is money we’re talking about here, so you need to have it through a trusted entity, right?

We’re sure these apps will help you on your next trip, so don’t forget to have them installed on your phone right away! Thanks to smartphones and developers, we can now get things done in a matter of a minutes!

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7 Travel Hacks to Free More of Your Time and Money for a Stress-Free Vacation

Most of us think of spending more money when we travel which, in turn, exposes us to stress even more. But a stress-free, frugal, and memorable vacation is no longer an enigmatic subject if you know the practical hacks to experience one

We came up with seven travel hacks to help you create more wonderful memories on your travel — accomplish them and compare the differences from your previous journeys!

Hack #1. Carry cash and prepaid cards on your travel.

Out-of-the-country trips will make you convert some of your dollars into the currency of the country you’re travelling to. Before doing so, try to make a little bit of effort to be updated about the conversion rate of dollars to avoid being swindled. In addition, you may want to go slow with the amount of dollars you will convert since you don’t want to walk around a foreign place with an unusually huge amount of cash.

As much as possible, stay away from using your credit/debit cards. If you can’t avoid it, be sure that you have informed your bank about your travel, the place you’ll go to, and how long will be your stay there. By doing so, your bank won’t be alerted by fraudulent card usage 10,000 miles away during the dates you mentioned to them. Informing them will also prevent you from getting restricted to use your own card.

Another smart alternative is to pair up a moderate cash amount with a prepaid card. This way, you won’t expose your own personal card from possible infringements.

Hack #2: Fail-proof your travel and protect yourself through preparation.

We might sound like an insurance broker here but, like many things in life, travels need serious preparation and it involves devising several Plan B’s. As cliché as it may sound, knowing the exact location and contact details of the United States Embassy in the country you’re heading to won’t take much time of your preparation.

Store your embassy’s address and contact details both on your phone and a mini notebook in case the former gets lost or stolen. Once you know your hotel’s location, spend some time to search for nearby key places such as hospitals and police stations, in case an emergency occurs. Jot the contact details and address of these places down on your notebook as well.

Set-up a “Safety Call” with someone you trust from home. Agree with him/her that you will email or call them at a specific time every day while you’re away. Ask them that should they fail to receive your call or email within the specified time, it might be the time to get worried and alert the authorities.

Hack #3: Get along with the local folks.

Before your trip, find someone, like an acquaintance, who is a local to the place you will visit and ask about essential things. It might be a good gesture to learn a few phrases and sentences to express politeness such as “Thank you”, “Good morning/afternoon/evening”, and “Please” in the local language.

Upon your arrival, do not forget to strike a conversation with several local folks. Ask for recommendations and the best, but wallet-friendly places to eat and tour around. Remember, the local knows best! You don’t want to end up getting yourself into some tourist-trap, overcrowded, money-draining places you searched from the internet!

Hack #4: Outsmart the crooks.

We’re not trying to scare you — but robbers and pickpockets are always present in all places. This is one of the reasons you need to pinpoint locations of the nearest police stations around the place/s you’ll go to. While casual clothing may fend off crooks, wearing huge pieces of jewelry will still attract them. Dress as simplest as possible.

Many veteran travelers swear by their fanny packs which are often worn underneath the clothing. You may put ID’s, cards, cash, keys, and other important stuff in here. Have some cash and coins in a separate purse or in your pockets. While wearing fanny packs may still be noticeable, it will be harder to pickpocket. Should your purse or your pocket get mugged, most of your essentials are safe inside your belt bag.

Hack #5: Learn from fellow travelers’ mistakes.

Aside from asking around your friends, a simple Google search of the phrase, “Things I Wish I Knew Before Going to <insert name of the country>” can provide you points to avoid and to take note of about the place you’re planning to visit. As much as possible, you want to collect only the best memories and avoid experiencing the most daunting ones, so it is best to heed the advice of previous travelers.

From weather patterns, worst time and day to visit, and places-to-avoid, you should be able to create a somehow perfect itinerary using other travelers’ firsthand knowledge about the place.

Hack #6: Have fun without having to spend much.

Staying and spending your time at a luxurious overseas hotel and restaurant might not feel different at all from the hotel room back in your city, and it quite defeats the purpose of getting new local and authentic experiences. Expensive hotels and meals in a fine-dining restaurant will more likely break your bank, too! If you want the total experience package for your vacation — like spending less, enjoying more, without compromising the comfort — try to live, eat, travel, and dress like a local!

Instead of getting a hotel room, try searching for a good unit from Airbnb (or other similar apps should it be unavailable inside the country you’ll visit). This guarantees lower rates than standard hotel rooms and you will also get to live like a local. For food, hunt for small eateries who cook and serve local delicacies. Street food might be okay to try but it wouldn’t hurt to be slightly selective of the food that might not appear to satisfy your sanitary requirements. For travel, try going around using public transportation and appreciate the place from different perspectives.

Hack #7: Avoid extra luggage when going home.

Before your trip, you might have been able to pack all your essentials and somehow jam them all into your carry-on bag and one luggage. However, packing your things when it’s time to go home is on a different and higher level.

Souvenirs and other knick-knacks for yourself, family, and some friends may give you a little bit of pain in the head if you try and squeeze them inside an already-full luggage. Instead of buying a new luggage and paying for additional luggage fees, it will be more practical if you just mail them back home along with other luggage items you won’t need on your flight back home. Just be sure to pick the most reliable shipping carrier from that place!

Now that you know about these seven money and time-saving travel hacks for a stress-free vacation, it is time to test them out on your next itinerary!

7 Travel Tips for When You Want to Go Solo

There are a few things that give us a distinct sense of freedom and accomplishment, and one of that is journeying to a far-off place all by ourselves. Solo travels are getting popular these days and an increasing number of travelers are getting more willing to travel on their own. According to a research back in 2015, one out of five already travelled alone.

Solo travels may be frightening to those who haven’t tried it yet. If you belong to those who wish to travel alone for the very first time, here are seven travel tips to help you understand solo-travelling like the back of your own hand.

Hack #1: Let your self-doubt pass.

Before and during the first couple of days into your first-ever solo travel, it’ll be a typical experience if you hear yourself question the choice you just made. It will also be normal to feel the need to bunk off from your plan and head home particularly if you feel lost and alone. Travelling solo is a big leap and a totally different dimension especially if you’ve gone accustomed to traveling in groups with people you know.

The primary thing you should know, whenever you feel a strong amount of hesitation, is that you should trust in yourself more. Just let it pass, carry on with your plans, and enjoy it all the way and it will all get better.

Hack #2: Have somebody know where you are headed.

Relay your plans to someone close, like a family member or a close friend, and provide them with more specific itinerary if possible. If you have the information already, give them the list of contacts on the places you’ll be staying at. Have them know when you’re planning to take-off and when is the estimated time you’ll be back home.

For a safer travel, commit yourself to check in with them every day at a specific time. Do not forget to check in at the agreed time so the person will know you’re safe.

Hack #3: Schedule self-recovery periods.

Travelling alone may sometimes stretch you into your limits since you’re all on your own, both physically and mentally. To avoid fatigue, it is best to set-up a time when you stop wandering around just to relax and recharge.

Ending the day and going to bed very tired may just ruin your plans on the next days so it is best to recover every now and then than let your plans, mind, and body suffer.

Hack #4: Solo trips don’t need to expensive.

Firstly, you should allocate some bucks into your emergency fund should anything unexpected happens like cancelled trains or missed bus trips. Keep a portion of it in cash in case of medical emergencies where you need to pay the expenses upfront.

Consider downloading a budgeting app and make sure to track all expenses so you know where your money is going. Some budgeting apps may also allow you to allocate certain amount to categories, so you’ll know if you’ve spent too much on something.

Lastly, if you have a moderate time allowance in your itinerary, you have more time to consider transportation alternatives. Indirect travels may surprisingly cost you less and it might show you around wonderful places on the way provided you are time rich.

Hack #5: Budget-friendly accommodations? Hostels and Airbnb!

If you’re travelling alone, staying in a hotel room will quickly drain your funds since your usual travel companions won’t be around to shell out for the fees. Thankfully, hostels are almost as common as hotels and you get to share a room with some other people. Hostels are usually home for solo travelers and it would be awesome to share a story or two about solo traveling. 

However, if you’re uncomfortable to share a room with some other strangers, you may look around Airbnb for the most decent private rooms at affordable rates which may be way cheaper than a hotel room.

Hack #6: Stop over-planning everything.

As a solo traveler, you can now practice independence and you may also practice spontaneity! While it is good to have an itinerary, you no longer need to follow it strictly and you may go around according to your preferred pace without looking out for other people.

There are days when you can just wing it and wander around to anywhere your feet take you. However, it is not always applicable to some places, such as locations that require advance bookings and tickets.

Hack #7: Rediscover yourself.

Traveling alone is a brave act and it can also help you rediscover yourself. There will be many times where you will need to step out of your comfort zone and you will get to know a version of yourself that you haven’t realized before. At the same time, your boundaries will be challenged and strengthened that will absolutely make a better person out of you. Make sure to always reflect and learn more about yourself. Afterall, this journey is all about YOU!

Once-in-a-while solo travels are a must-try for everyone. You could meet and get to know lots of people, and you could also keep rediscovering yourself. With these seven travel hacks for solo trips, you’re ready to make your first leap!