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Luggage and bags: One of the most important items to bring, I think, is Ziploc bags because they keep your suitcase organized, dry, and accesible. I put things such as duct tape [for repairs]. Super Glue [for what the tape can't repair], small container of detergent to wash undergarments, etc., and a sink plug [just in case].
I always put one set of clothing and undergarmets, my medicine, cosmetics, jewelry, important papers, and anything I just could not lose into my "carry-on luggage".
Make sure you have a list of phone numbers of your credit card companies, insurance, airlines, doctors, and your country's embassy! In this day and age, I have a card with e-mail addresses of family and friends.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In Chicago clothing all depends on the time of year you travel. In July and August, it is extremely hot and humid so dress with light colors, loose clothing, and lightweight fabrics. During December through February, count on cold temperatures. Hat, heavy coat, warm gloves, and boots.
It's always a good idea to travel with a plastic poncho that folds into a tiny pouch.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: Lately, I've started taking Liquid Bandage to be prepared for minor accidents and/or blisters. I also carry [in my luggage and my money belt] Imodium pills just in case of a gastrointestinal situation. Speaking of medical, I also keep a list of inoculations, all my medication prescriptions, and the telephone numbers of doctors. This is probably because we frequently stay for months at a time. Since I wear glasses, I bring an extra pair.
I've started taking water tablets when I go out of the country in case bottled water cannot be found.
Photo Equipment: Since I now have a digital camera, I plan set up an online photo account so I will be able to upload digital photographs as I go along thus freeing up the memory card. If I'm not traveling very far, I take along my Easy Share Printer dock so I can have "hard copy" of my pictures.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: I always take a bathing suit with me on travels, even in the winter in case there is a hotel swimming pool.
Miscellaneous: I always inform my credit-card company of my travel plans, especially if I am out of the country. A friend of mine did not do that and the credit-card company put a "block" on her account because of the foreign purchases.
I also leave one copy of all my important documents such as passport, etc. with my daughter and keep a copy with me...not in the same location as the original.
Updated Feb 20, 2006
Luggage and bags: I like luggage with many pockets, but you can use about anything. When I get to a new place, I usually buy a bag from that place to carry around and put in all the miscellaneous maps, brochures and postcards inside.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In Summer, it's generally warm, so I would suggest some light clothing and swimsuit for the beach, but beware! In Chicago, you never know when the weather might change! Make sure you also have some warmer clothing, too! Sweaters and sweatshirts are good to have just in case! Our weather is crazy here! It will also be air-conditioned inside most shops and restaurants, and sometimes very cold on a summer day!
In Winter, it's generally freezing, freezing, and more freezing, so pack layers! When you get inside, you might be too hot. Also, when we're very lucky, we have some warm days in winter. Like I said, you never know!
Photo Equipment: Of course, bring a camera and take lots of photos! Photos bring back your memories of your trip.
Miscellaneous: If you're coming to meet me, bring some music! I love hearing new music!
Updated Jun 25, 2010
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: To survive winter in Chicago, you need the following items:
-Boots, preferably with very large treads for negotiating the often unshoveled sidewalks.
-Mittens or gloves.
-earmuffs or hat.
-warm winter coat, wool or goosedown, don't think you can get away with a trenchcoat in Jan or Feb.
-scarf, not the decorative paper thin ones, but one you can wrap securely around your head and neck several time.
-if you are in a vehicle, make sure it is equipped with a heavy duty ice scraper and lots of washer fluid to wash away all that salt.
Now if you can still walk (think Ralphie's brother from A Christmas Story), you are ready to step outside!
Updated Apr 19, 2005
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Be aware that even as late as June it can be extremely cold here. A sweater, hat and gloves are a smart bet most of the year.
Miscellaneous: Being a large and diverse city, Chicago definetly requires a good guidebook. I bought the Lonely Planet guide to Chicago a year ago and it still serves me well. The book is arranged by neighborhoods and does an excellent job of featuring cool places off the main tourist track as well as Chicago's grand architecture. The maps are excellent.
Written Dec 29, 2002
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: In the winter, it gets very cold. The wind is also very strong, so it feels even colder! Make sure to bring a warm jacket and something to cover your ears.
Miscellaneous: Gloves, boots, hats! Do not forget your winter gear.
Updated Oct 13, 2003
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Take lots of warm clothes with you in December / January. There was tons of snow and the temperature was -7, getting colder at night. Walking shoes are a must especially if you have time to walk around the Art Gallerys and along the magificiant mile for shopping.
Toiletries and Medical Supplies: You can buy anything you need.
Updated Jan 5, 2006
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: If you're traveling to Chicago any other time than summer, be prepared for the cold weather. The weather can be unpredictable, even in the late Spring. Be sure to bring some thermals and warm clothing in case there's a cold spell. The temperatures drop into the negative in the winter and can drop down to 20 during April.
Written Aug 21, 2007
Luggage and bags: Bring an extra empty bag packed inside your luggage,you most likely to need it
to bring home souveniers.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Walking shoes,jackets,umbrella
Photo Equipment: Make sure you have a camera and extra film or memory card handy or a video camera and extra batteries and tapes.
Camping/Beach/Outdoor Gear: There is a beach by the lake,but we didn't make it there,so I wouldn't know what to bring.
Written Sep 12, 2006
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: People always ask me what to wear to a nice restaurant. Chicago is a very casual city. Only the top french restaurants seem to require a jacket and a tie. You will rarely see people in suits. Usually they tell you what is required when you make the reservation.
Updated Jun 14, 2004
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Chicago in May can be very cold, down by the lake it gets quite breezy. Make sure you take some layers so you can be prepared.
Miscellaneous: I travelled to Chicago on business from when I was 33, after arranging to meet some of my customers in a local bar one evening, I was stopped by the doorman, and not really hearing what he said, laughed and tried to walk past.
He stopped me and said I needed to show him ID. The only ID I had in Chicago was my passport, which I obviously didn't have with me on a night out. He told me the drinking age was 21, but by law I had to carry ID until I was 30. Despite me and my colleagues trying to convince him I was 33 he would not let me in. Whilst it was a very nice compliment, it did mess up my evening when I was supposed to have been meeting up with clients.
Written Feb 6, 2006
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