Review: Midway Airport Hotel Center

Flying between the Bay Area and Wisconsin as often as we do, we have a few airport options. Most of them involve layovers. The only direct flight that gets us anywhere near my parents’ home in Kenosha is OAK-MDW, which delivers us to the Southwest side of Chicago, an hour and a half from our destination.

On Mother’s Day, my college kid and I were scheduled to fly home from Midway at about 6 a.m. Because we didn’t want to leave Kenosha in the middle of the night, we decided to burn some Bonvoy points and stay near the airport. That’s when I learned about Midway’s interesting airport hotel situation. The Midway Hotel Center is basically one big parking lot eight blocks from the airport with a whole bunch of hotels of different brands. Some of the properties claim to be two blocks from the airport. It’s technically true — two blocks from the hotel center, the airport property begins. However, the terminals are farther than that.

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Taking Advantage of Refundable Tickets to Get the Best Deal, or How I Just Got 5 Hours of My Life Back

Even as I’m blogging about my March trip to Paris, I’m working on planning my next big trip, to Iceland and Norway this summer. And I’m really excited that today I just rebooked my return flight at the end of the trip with a different airline — to make our journey home much better in multiple ways.

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Hotel Indigo Madison Downtown: Review

Hotel Indigo

Address: 901 East Washington, Madison, Wisconsin

Points/miles used: IHG

What I Loved: The design, friendly staff, free upgrade

What I Didn’t Love: Construction and having to drive through Capitol Square to get to campus

I recently had to travel to my home state of Wisconsin for a family funeral. While I was there, I took the opportunity to do something happier: My parents and I drove to Madison to take Nutmeg out for a 19th birthday dinner. Since we all hate to drive after dark (isn’t it weird getting old with your parents?), we decided to stay overnight.

My mom had some IHG points to burn, so she chose Hotel Indigo Madison Downtown, near Capitol Square. Here’s what we thought about this hotel:

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Paris Day 2: Nutmeg Arrives!

My first full day in Paris was one of those happy days that I hope to hold on to for the rest of my life. Just to pull out in tough times. I want this day to be my adult lovey.

It was Wednesday, March 14. I hadn’t seen my firstborn child, known here as Nutmeg, since the end of winter break in January. I woke early, about 5:30, having slept pretty well, and smiling, knowing that I would see her today. At that time, though, she hadn’t even left London.

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Paris Day 1: How to Adjust to a New Time Zone in One Day

If you fly across the world for only a week, and feel jet lagged for three days, you’ve lost half your trip. So when I travel across time zones, I make a big effort to avoid it — and I’m usually able to feel pretty much jet-lag-free on my first full day in the new time zone. This time around, I tried tricks like fasting during the hours when I’d be sleeping in Europe. But the main key, for me, to avoiding jet lag is this:

Don’t let yourself nap on the first day.

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My First International Flight Since Lockdown: SFO to Paris via DFW

What follows is a very detailed trip report of a 20-hour travel day. If you’re not into trip reports, don’t despair. Next time I’ll write about actual Paris.

Is my passport valid? Do I remember how immigration works? Will there be free alcohol on the plane?

It had been so long since I’d flown internationally, I had really kind of forgotten how the whole thing works.

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Reviews of Some Stuff I Bought for the Miles

Recently, I put some flights on a five-day hold for a summer trip, but I was a little short of the American AAdvantage miles I needed to ticket it.

So my challenge was: How can I get 2,000 more miles within five days?

Obviously, I wasn’t going to buy a plane ticket and fly somewhere real quick. That was unlikely to be worth the money or time.

I have an AAdvantage credit card, but you only get miles by charging things when the monthly statement closes, and that wasn’t scheduled to happen within five days.

Fortunately, I know one trick that often results in quick miles:

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Finding a Miles Flight to Paris — and Changing It at the Last Minute

When my daughter and I hatched our plan to meet in Paris in five weeks’ time, the first thing I did (after checking that my passport hadn’t expired) was log onto American Airlines to see if any reasonable award flights were available.

I was pleasantly surprised to find a number of coach flights available for 22,500 to 30,000 miles each way. There were some caveats, though:

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I Went to Paris! Why?

After almost 30 years of not being in Paris, I unexpectedly jetted off to Paris two weeks ago.

I didn’t share a ton about this unexpected trip until I was packing to go, so a lot of friends asked me the understandable question: “WTF? How and why are you going to Paris all the sudden?” I have tons of photos and details to share with you about my trip, but first, let’s just get the why out of the way.

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