Burrises Go Greek - Chicago Pit Stop & Baby’s First International Flight
We just got back a couple weeks ago from the most incredible family vacation - Eloise’s first international trip! If you followed along on Insta or Facebook you probably saw the hundreds of photos, but I wanted to get a little more into detail for anyone considering a similar vacation…and for us to look back on! 😄
Day 1: We started our vacation a day early in Chicago! I have family that lives an hour outside of the city so we stayed with them Tuesday night (thank you, Aunt Cindy & Uncle Pat!) then drove into downtown Wednesday morning.
First stop - Lincoln Park Zoo! a favorite of ours, we probably won’t ever go to Chicago and NOT go to the zoo. If you’ve never been, it’s completely free and pretty huge! If you walk out of the south gate they also have a little farm with goats, cows & even a place where kiddos can learn about planting food. Eloise’s favorites inside the zoo are the seals & gorillas! We used my favorite parking app and found a spot for $5 across from the north gate, super convenient to get in, make the loop and a 3 minute walk to our car when we were done! We probably spent 1.5 hours there…if you’re wanting to move a little slower and go through all the indoor exhibits like the small mammals that we skipped this time, I’d plan on 2 - 2.5 hours to give yourself plenty of time!
Lunchtime is brought to you by Lou Malnati’s! haha ok ok Lou’s would never sponsor a post from my little blog, but it’s SO good that they deserve a shout out. We’ve been meaning to try it out the past couple times we were in Chi couldn’t make it happen until now. They were super kid friendly, had a space where we could keep our stroller and the poor waiter picked up Eloise’s crayons just as many times as he walked by our table. We ordered the bruschetta (YUM) Chicago style deep dish (YUM again) 5 stars, definitely recommend! The only thing with eating here, plan on 30-45 minutes for deep dish depending on how busy they are! Ours was out in no time, but if you’re in a time crunch it may be worth a call ahead!
Enter the main reason we made sure to get downtown, the happy place of all little girls ages 0-12 and even the older one’s who will always be little girls at heart (cough…me!) American girl! ❤️ We took Eloise to AG last summer and at only 6 months old, girlfriend went crazy over all the baby dolls. (Now I’m headed down the rabbit hole looking at photos & videos from almost a year ago and it’s breaking my mama heart!) She got her Bitty Baby last time & since then something happened to her eye, basically it was creepy as heck and one eye was open at all times. Thankfully AG has an amazing exchange policy and will swap them out within TWO YEARS. I was shocked but so thankful we were able to replace it!
We left AG, did a little more shopping around on the Magnificent Mile, and then headed to O’Hare. An 18 mile trip from downtown…and it took over an hour - so that’s Chicago for ya! 😂 We used the same parking app & for 11 days it was just under $100. Not bad especially when you consider if you park in the cheapest economy lot at O’Hare, you’re looking at $10/day minimum PLUS extra taxes & fees. Once we got to the airport, the line for security was a little ridiculous and we were bummed that they don’t seem as kid friendly at O’Hare as the tons of other airports we’ve been through with Eloise. Normally someone sees you with a baby and pushes you to the very front of the line. The whole security process there was loud, unorganized and a hot mess but we made it through with plenty of time to spare! Once on our flight (Swiss Air) we were super pumped to find that it wasn’t a full flight and the airline put an empty seat in between Josh & I so we had a little more room with E! We’ve always taken advantage of “under 2 fly free” so it was a great surprise! Our flight was a red eye, 8ish hours and left at 7:30pm Chicago time so we honestly didn’t need much to keep her occupied since she slept most of the time. Thankfully both Josh & I squeezed in a little nap too. We landed in Zurich late morning (their time) and had a 2ish hour layover before our 3 hour flight to Athens. Customs/border control in Zurich was minimal & took practically no time to get through…so we had a good amount of time to get food & let little lady run off some energy!
Our favorites for a long flight:
Small throw blanket - the ones they leave for you on int. flights are normally crap and it gets COLD flying over the ocean!
Eye masks, mine has little gel beads in it and keeps my eyes feeling fresh even when I’m running on 2 hours of plane sleep!
Ear buds, for baby too! Tossing the headphones on Eloise gives us a solid 5 minutes (hahaha) of distraction time. Plus it helps your plane neighbors not hate you as much having to hear the wonderful sound of Little Baby Bum on repeat.
Baby’s busy bag (more detail on this later)
I always travel with face moisturizer, hair brush & tooth brush in my carry on - no matter how long the flight! It feels great to freshen up after a flight…especially if you end up getting stuck somewhere longer than expected.
Empty water bottle. We always bring an empty water bottle through security, fill up while waiting to board and if you ask nicely, flight attendants will normally fill up for you on the plane so you don’t have to keep asking for those tiny little glasses of water. It’s always SUCH a struggle for us to stay hydrated while traveling…and this definitely helps!
I’m going to (eventually) write a blog post dedicated to flying with kids and will get super into detail there! Hopefully soon…if you haven’t seen one a month from now remind me ;)
Here’s a referral link for the parking app I keep talking about! You get $7 off your first parking reservation if $8 or more (and full disclaimer, I get credit for each referral!)
Next stop, Athens!