Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Route 66 - Travelling The Mother Road with Babies and On a Budget!

Hai and welcome to the first installment of Tuesday's Travels with mise, Corrina. Mother of 4 and half childer, Wife of Colin, Sister of CherrySue and Haver of AWEsome holidays with very few eurobux. 
As promised, we're starting out with Route 66. 
Buckle UP!

When we first drove Route 66 our twins Orla & Aoife were 11 months old & I was expecting our third child. We loved it so much that we did it again the next year with 23 month old twins & 5 month old baby Seamus! We thought we’d never get a chance to do it again but then we realised how cheaply it can be done. That and the fact that children under 2 years travel for a nominal fee on flights. 

We found when travelling with children and on a budget, the best time to go is in October as you won’t be paying high season prices & the weather is perfect. The photos you see over the next few Route 66 posts will be a mix of both trips showing you the best of what Route 66 has to offer.

Babies on Tour, Route 66, Travel with Babies, Family Friendly, Open Road
Sue always gets the heebie jeebies at this pic of New Mexico (Historic Route 66), I always tell her we would've seen a truck coming since last Tuesday!!
What a difference a year makes!! (Sue still hates it)
While travelling Route 66 you not only get an amazing holiday you also get to see some of the most beautiful little towns and experience the vast variety of food & culture that the US of A  has to offer. The first thing we did was bought 3 different guidebooks so we could get a broad view of what there was to see and do on the 2,448 miles (4,000km) from Chicago to L.A. 

Famous Neon on Route 66
Next thing I did was book separate flights as it was (and is) cheaper that way. We used American Airlines to Chicago and Aer Lingus from L.A. to Dublin. I also booked our rental car from O’Hare Airport and haggled via e-mail so I saved the one way fee of $199! The last thing I did was book hotels for the first and last night of our holiday. Other than that we were free to explore the 8 states and 3 time zones of The Main Street of America.

We hired a minivan so we had lots of room for the children & shopping 
(but not off-roading, much to the hubby's chagrin
Happy Little Eggs with OODLES of room. 
So we packed the car with our 11 month old twins and headed to Dublin Airport. We brought the girls car seats with us, sealed them in refuse sacks at the airport and checked them in with the luggage, free of charge, saving us a fortune on renting them per day. We also left their prams here and brought them to the plane in their slings. 

Driving from O’Hare Airport into Chicago. 
When we got to Chicago and collected our car the first thing we did was head to a supermarket where we bought strollers for $6 each and travel cots for $15 each. This saved on the nightly rental fee, which can cost anything up to $15 per night(!) We also bought a $5 ice box so we could keep the children’s food & drinks cool in the car while travelling.

Wal-Mart trolleys big enough to carry a family!
View of Chicago from Navy Pier 
First Stop was Chicago, Illinois.  We stayed in the Travelodge Hotel Downtown Chicago we got a great rate, (approx $85 room only). There was a Dunkin Donuts next door but just around the corner is one of America’s best franchises, Jimmy John’s. They make the best subs and sandwiches with the freshest fillings, you have literally hundreds of options to choose from.

Jimmy John’s, sharing is caring you know!
We booked the Chicago City hop on hop off trolley tour via Viator.com as they had the best rates. A trolley/bus tour is the best way to see a City in a short amount of time. We got to see Millennium Park (The Bean), Wrigley Field and Sears Tower. 

Orla & Aoife at Sears Tower in their $6 strollers.
Right across the harbour from our hotel was one of Chicago’s biggest attractions, Navy Pier and if you time it right you might just be there on one of their free fireworks nights! It truly is a stunning way to see the city after dark. I’d recommend eating at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co on Navy Pier and the Cheesecake Factory do great lunch specials with enormous desserts!

Fireworks over Navy Pier, Chicago
While travelling Route 66 you will pass through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica, California. We also took a detour down to Tucson Arizona to see the Airplane graveyard and across to show the children the bright lights of Las Vegas.  While we did it in 3 weeks the first time we easily did it in 2 weeks the following year.

My hubby dressing to look the part!
We'll park it there and allow you to catch your breath but do please drop by this time next week to see the next leg of this once twice in a lifetime trip. 

Have you been to Chicago? 
Any tips or recommendations on places to see or things to do?


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