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Chicago O’Hare International Airport

Chicago, IL, United States
11 Kudos
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Chicago has two Major International Airports, Chicago Midway and Chicago O’Hare and it's easy to get lost in both of them if you don't know where you're going! In 2016, O’Hare International hit a record year of having over 76.9 million passengers flying in and out of this airport making it the 4th busiest airport around the globe! ORD is serviced by all major airlines and since it is one of the busiest airport in the world, it's a lot harder to find parking outside than you think! We got lost when we arrive inside the airport and you can experience major delays in the long lines as well. No joke!

This was not our first time here, so I know first hand that it gets really busy! When you first enter this place you will soon see that there are a bunch of people already waiting in line so when they email you your itinerary and they say to arrive 2 to 3 hours early, just get here really early! We used this airport during our vacation to Europe recently and despite it being a Friday night, this airport was still really busy and there were super long lines everywhere we looked (except in our check in lines, thank goodness!)

While in the airport they is a bunch of things you can do to pass the time away. This is what we did:
- We went to the Foreign Courtesy Currency Exchange Counter: We exchanged our currency from US dollars to Euros to use in Ireland and Sterling pounds to use in London. We exchanged $400 USD that totaled only about $250 worth of Euros and Sterling pounds combined. Keep this in mind: they charge $9.95 per each transaction. So we spent $19.90 on exchange fees alone!
- We loitered through the shops to see what they had for sale. It has several luxury shops and souvenir shops as well!
- We purchased some food at a small cafe near our terminal. We weren't sure when our flight would serve our meal so we bought some really huge cookies take on the flight!

And one last thing to note: Even if you have Premium lounge privileges, the airport has lounges and even spa services but the lines can be long so if you don't arrive early you may not get the chance to use those services after all. So just keep that in mind. Arrive early, get through the security checks and go find a seat next to one of the many free charging outlets because those seats fill up fast!
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Transportation

Chicago O'Hare Transportation- Airport Parking
Chicago O'Hare Transportation- Airport Parking
If your flying domestically or internationally just know you have several options available to you! You can reserve full service parking online. However, you cannot reserve Economy parking online! Before you arrive at O'Hare figure out where you want to park and then go online and check to see if that lot if open or filled up. The website also has a map for you to use! These parking lots get full fast! Once you figure out where you want to park, grab a ticket and keep it IN YOUR CUP HOLDER in your car so you don't have to worry about carrying it around and losing it during your travels! Once you arrive back from your travels, take the ticket out and go to the exit where you'll find ticket machines. Put your ticket in the machine and THEN put your credit card in the SAME spot! This confused the crap out of me because it doesn't look like a place to put your credit card, but you seriously do put your credit card in the SAME spot as you put your ticket in! It will suck up your card and then after the transaction is complete, it will spit your card back out to you! Also keep in mind, when you figure out where you want to park, just head straight to the corner of the parking lot because you can waste an extra 15 minutes looking for an empty parking spot and you'll have no luck at all! We drove up and down the rows for 15 minutes. If only I'd have known ahead of time!
Parking Lot G
Parking Lot G
And if you're looking for the cheapest parking lot, this is it! Parking lot G costs only $10/day. It's easy to find. Its the very last parking lot on the left hand side of the street! We spent 15 minutes driving up and down the rows until I seen a shuttle bus coming. I immediately went to the back corner and there was only about 10 parking spots still available! We missed that shuttle, but only had to wait 10 minutes for another one to arrive back to pick us up and bring us to the airport!

Points of interest

Chicago
There is so much to do in Chicago and there are several public transportation options around the city as well. If you don't want to pay for parking at the airport, there are several hotels that offer free parking for your journey if you stay at the hotel for only one night! I've used hotels around the airport for this before, and it's especially helpful when you have an early morning flight! Many hotels offer free continental breakfast along with free airport shuttles both to and from the airport. So even if you don't stay again on your flight back home, they'll still come pick you up so you can get your car! Its nice to get free parking sometimes - especially if you use your points to stay for free!
Currency Exchange
Currency Exchange
We exchanged currency at this terminal for the first time and we really enjoyed our experience! You can exchange currency from US dollars to over 200 different currencies including Europe's Euro and United Kingdoms Sterling Pound! The do charge a service fee of $9.95 per transaction so keep that in mind if you plan on getting more than one form of currency because they don't combine different currencies into one transaction!

Restaurants

Kofe by Intelligentsia
Kofe by Intelligentsia
This is a great place to grab some huge cookies pre-flight! We purchased 3 of the big cookies and they were delicious, perfect and very filling! They also have coffee's, mochas, salads, fruit cups and so much more. Its a small cafe type place so if you're really hungry, I would skip this place because you won't find a 5 course meal here!

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