Working With Travel Agents – 101

Last year, I was thinking about taking a trip, but I didn’t know where to go.   I started asking everyone I knew about their favorite international vacation – I got tons of answers and felt overwhelmed.  Insert a travel agent and reduced stress here.  The agent planned a great trip to Costa Rica for my

How to be like Carmen Sandiego

Out of my group of friends, Renne was the first of us to follow her passion for travel. With her racial ambiguity, long, dark flowing hair and continent hopping, we quickly dubbed her Carmen Sandiego. You remember Carmen. She was an international thief that taught scores of Gen Yers geography and world history. She was

Love Jones for Chicago


Discovering Our Love Jones for Chicago:

Nina + Darius = Love Jones.  This movie highlighted a young couple and the beautiful city of Chicago.  Renne recently took a weekend trip to Chi-town and quickly discovered the movie was right; Chicago is amazing.  From stepping to architecture and nightlife, the Windy City has plenty to offer a travel lush escaping his/her day-to-day life for a weekend of fun.

Darius and Nina molded our views about relationships, friends and the life of a young professional.  Any trip to Chicago must include visits to the lovers’ hotspots.


Wild Hare Reggae Club – Nina and Darius danced the night away at this spot.  The venue shut down in 2011 and reopened its doors in 2013.  They are currently working to get their amusement license, which allows them to feature live music in the club.  Don’t fret, the club is currently open and serving Caribbean cuisine, boasts a full service bar and is still jamming with Reggae music.  If you’d like to sign a petition to help the owners get their amusement license, you can sign here.

Take a stroll through Millennium Park

Grant Park – Highlighted in the opening scene of the movie, Love Jones shows us Chicago’s “front yard.” Grant Park is an urban park located in the Chicago Business District.  It is home to Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus.  Stroll with your family, friends or your lover to enjoy people watching, public art and marinas.


Taste of Chicago – Ok, this wasn’t in the movie, but it deserves a mention.  The Taste of Chicago is the nation’s premiere outdoor food festival.  Hosted in Grant Park, this festival has pop-up restaurants, food trucks and music highlighting the city’s dining scene.  Admission is free, but some events require you to purchase a ticket in advance to attend.  See all of the events here.

Lake Shore Drive – Darius and Nina strolled through this beautiful urban parkway after a date one evening.  Lake Shore Drive is an 18-mile road flanked on the west by parks, skyscrapers and luxury apartments; to the east you’ll see the breathtaking expanse of Lake Michigan.  Make your way to the Lakefront Trail to join joggers, visitors and people watchers as you enjoy the view.

The Sanctuary Poetry Club – This list wouldn’t be complete without including the jones in our left thigh becoming the funk in our right!  The Sanctuary, with its cool vibes and intimate setting, sparked the relationship between our beloved title characters.  Unfortunately, this location is purely fictional, but Chicago does offer plenty of poetry.  Visit the Chicago Reader to find poetry hot spots and the best days to visit here.

Chicago Stepping – The outfits, the moves and R. Kelly….oh my!  Darius took Nina to a steppers club and our young, non-Chicagoan minds were opened to a whole new world.  Steppin’ was created in Chicago and has spread across America; people from all over the world flock to the city during the Chicago Summer Dance festival as the city transforms to an urban dance space.  This free event offers 44 bands at live events from June – September.  Don’t know how to step?  They offer dance lessons Thursday – Saturday so everyone can join in the fun.

Step to the left, step to the right

Spin around and bring it down tonight

Bring it on up, move in close

Let me see you and your partner stroll



navy pier
The famous Navy Pier
You can’t visit Chicago without tasting deep dish pizza!

Airplane Etiquette

We love the end destination of air travel, but sometimes the flight is long and uncomfortable.  Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make you and your fellow passengers comfortable throughout your shared journey.

1. Let your neighbor sleep

This seems self explanatory, but it can be so hard to execute!  You maybe travelling alone and what someone to talk to, or, the flight attendant is coming around with the snacks and surely your seatmate won’t want to miss out on their cran-apple juice!  Trust me, if your neighbor is sleeping they don’t want idle chitchat or juice; they want to rest.  Leave them alone, they can always call for a flight attendant later if they are thirsty.  When the shoe is on the other foot you’ll be glad your neighbor let you rest.


2. Avoid hitting the seat in front of you.

A few months ago, I was on a trip abroad and the person behind me kept pressing the screen in the seat behind me so hard that every few minutes I would nod involuntarily.  The screens with movies, music, news and games are great, but remember, someone is sitting in that seat and they can feel your movements.  Press the screen firmly enough to view your program but gentle enough to avoid knocking out your neighbor.

Press your selection lightly
Press your selection lightly


3. Security

We all know the security at airports is a beast.  Get there early to ensure you’ll make your flight.  Once there, grin and bear it.


4. Recliner Wars

We Travel Lushes are pro-recliners, but there is a growing community of anti-recliners.  We understand their position, but hey, when you’re sleepy, you’re sleepy.   If you notice you’re sitting in front of an especially tall person, be kind of enough to avoid a full recline so they can maintain some sense of leg room.


5. Lavatory

Please make a bathroom stop before boarding the plane.  If you find that you’ve got to go during the flight, leave the bathroom as clean as you can.  This is a shared space and everyone should be able to enjoy a (somewhat) clean bathroom.