The majority of my getaways are for one weekend night, give or take one night. Despite the short duration, I plan well enough in order to make the most of it. Unfortunately, not all trips go according to plans. I recently had another travel “misadventure” on a short trip to Chicago.
What I Had Planned
As is sometimes the case with very good flight deals, flight times aren’t always the most ideal. My flight to Chicago was about $85 return; however, the flight there had me arriving just after midnight. My return flight wasn’t until the late afternoon. That would give me a good amount of time to see Chicago and have some delicious deep dish pizza – so I thought.
My plan was to stay at a hotel near the airport. That would allow me to go to sleep soon after arrival then take the “L” to the city in the morning. I had hopes that would give me about 5 hours to see the sights I wanted to see before I would have to go back to the airport.
Seems like a simple plan, right?
When Things Don’t Go According to Plan
There were two things that contributes to my plans going astray. I arrived at the hotel at about 12:20 in the morning and was in my hotel room within 5 minutes. I tried going to sleep shortly thereafter. If I lived in the Central time zone, that probably wouldn’t have been a problem. I live in California and regularly try to go to sleep at around 11:30. That means that despite the local time, my body still thought it was an hour before my typical bed time. On top of not being able to fall asleep quickly, I also slept in later than I thought I would (predictably about 2 hours later).
Due to the shifted times I slept, I had less time to see things in Chicago. In addition to that, Chicago was having a heat wave. It was over 90 degrees with high humidity. Almost all of the sites I planned to see were outdoors. I got very hot and uncomfortably sweaty which made me unwilling to walk as fast as I usually do. The deep dish pizza was amazingly good.
Lessons Learned From This Travel Misadventure
Whenever I make a mistake, or things don’t go as planned, I try to learn from it. This way I will plan the next time with the lesson in mind so I always improve my travels. While there’s not a lot I could have done to mitigate the ridiculously gross weather, the lesson learnt here is about where to stay and sleep.
Lesson Learned: Don’t overestimate your ability to fall asleep when you want!
The train from the airport to downtown Chicago takes slightly more than an hour. I could have stayed downtown instead of near the airport. If I had, then despite my sleep schedule I wouldn’t have spent the time in the morning taking the “L”. I would have been sleeping for the hour that I spent on the train in the morning and had more time to see Chicago. Overall, I still had a good time in Chicago so the getaway wasn’t a complete misadventure. It could have been better.
Have you had a trip like this and realized that you should have stayed somewhere else to save time? Leave your comments below!