Having a babymoon was something we always knew we wanted to do. But this year is different because there’s the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is traveling strictly not recommended to do but we also do not feel comfortable traveling as well. Tre and I have low immune systems and I’m pregnant. To us, it was not worth the risk. So we decided to plan a babymoon with Pack Up + Go.
Spoiler alert, our babymoon was a staycation. We felt this was the safest option and a way for us to support local businesses. Plus, there’s so much to explore and see in Chicago and we knew we wouldn’t be bored staying in our own city. And it was more fun & exciting when someone else plans the itinerary!
Disclaimer: This babymoon was planned way before the coronavirus cases were spiking. Hence, why we felt comfortable with it. Also, we went before the Chicago mayor enforced the city’s second shutdown. Even though we were barely in contact with anyone, as a precaution, we are self-quarantining for two weeks. Safety first. Pack Up + Go also comped part of our trip!
How We Planned Our Babymoon with Pack Up + Go During COVID
What is Pack Up + Go?
Pack Up + Go is a travel agency that specializes in curating an element of surprise itinerary for over 90 cities in the United States. They believe that the U.S. has so many incredible destinations and places to explore. I love this concept because I used to feel like I had to leave the country to have a sense of wonder, spontaneity, and culture. They definitely have the major cities covered!
While they like to provide a surprise itinerary, you are required to fill out a questionnaire / survey so that they can figure out how they’ll curate your itinerary. They’re super easy questions to answer and most of them are multiple choice. It took me about 5 minutes to complete.
Planning The Itinerary
You need to let them know how you plan on getting to your destination.
- Is it by plane, train, or car?
- What are your travel dates, budgets, and interests?
- Are you an adventurous traveler or want something more relaxing?
- Who’s traveling with you?
- Do you want to do more touristy things?
- Do you want to do Off the beaten path?
- Are you celebrating anything during this trip?
We selected that we are traveling by car since we only live 2 miles from downtown haha and preferred a more relaxing vacation with a mixture of touristy and off-the-beaten path.
Once you submit your questionnaire and travel preferences, you and your travel companion will receive a confirmation email.
A week before your trip, you’ll receive an email regarding your trip. The email provides information on the weather forecast on the day(s) of your travel, recommendations on what to pack (so helpful!!!), luggage size restriction, and where & when to go.
A few days before your trip, you’ll receive a large envelope containing your travel itinerary. You’re not supposed to open the envelope until the day of your trip. Remember, everything is a surprise, but I promise you it will be pretty much everything that is catered to your interests. The envelope has information about your accommodations, city guides, and curated recommendations (from day to night and rainy day activities). There’s a plethora of activities and you will not be bored! They even include fun facts about your destination.
I’m born and raised in Chicago and they included so many fun facts that I didn’t know. For instance, Chicago has the highest population of Polish people outside of Poland, and that softball was invented in Chicago. The Willis Tower (I still call it Sears Tower) is visible from Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. How cool is this!
Our Babymoon Staycation
Ok, now that I have talked your ears off about Pack Up + Go, I’ll share all the details about our babymoon staycation. I’ll give the scoop about where we stayed, what we did, and overall my thoughts. Remember, we did want something more relaxing and pregnancy-safe. You can make your Pack Up + Go trip more adventurous or less adventurous than ours.
Overall our trip was two days and one night. We wanted something short & sweet just to give us a change of scenery and switch up our day to day.
Where We Stayed
Pack Up + Go booked us a room at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco.
225 N Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60601
(Located on the corner of Wabash & Wacker Dr)
The location of this hotel is PERFECT. You are right across the street from the Riverwalk, and a short walk away from Magnificent Mile, The Loop, Streeterville, River North, and Millennium Park. So if you are from out of town, this is where you want to stay. So many walkable places to explore especially the main tourist attractions!
This is the hotel I always walked by and was always curious about. So I was extremely excited when I saw that we were staying at the Kimpton Hotel Monaco.
Kimpton Hotel Monaco Accomodations
The ambiance was gorgeous. It’s such a swanky and chic hotel and you can tell they thought of every detail. I seriously love the decor! I can easily tell that the hotel was inspired by the fashionable country of Monaco.
Also, the view from the room is STUNNING! I will preface that we stayed in the King Suite. So our room is fairly large and probably one of the best views from the hotel. But ya know, it is a special trip for us and might as well go all out. But from what I’ve heard, almost every room has an incredible view.
We had the view of the riverwalk, the iconic Marina Towers, and Merchandise Mart. Since Art on the Mart started that evening, we had the perfect view of it without ever leaving our bedroom. The windows have a seat ledge that is deep enough to be considered a twin bed. We definitely spent our time lounging and gazing out the window a lot.
I was also impressed with all the precautions they took for COVID-19. There are some house rules. You are not allowed to leave your room without your mask on. You must maintain 6 feet social distancing, hand sanitizers everywhere, and all food is takeout. We felt so safe.
Just a precaution for ourselves, we also wiped down and disinfected our room. We brought our own disinfectant wipes and started cleaning any spots we thought our hands would touch.
Fisk & Co
Fisk & Co is the restaurant attached to the lobby of the hotel. I’ve heard incredible things about this restaurant and it’s been on my list for awhile. Unfortunately, Illinois mandated no indoor dining. Therefore, they were closed for dining, but you can order takeout. So we actually ordered breakfast the following morning. Hopefully we can come back when things ease up a bit.
Explore By Foot
We had time before our dinner reservation so we walked to some of our favorite spots.
P.O.S.H. Chicago – 613 N State St
POSH is one of my favorite boutiques in Chicago!! I’ve talked about them several times as a small business to support. They specialize in Parisian and European finds. They have the CUTEST home decor and random knick knacks. It’s seriously a treat whenever I walk in. When we stopped by, they went all out on the holiday decor. It felt so magical! You bet I had to buy something. I found the most adorable hot air balloon Christmas ornament. I talked about the significance of a hot air balloon in our baby announcement post.
Eataly – 43 E Ohio St
The last time I was in Eataly was almost a year ago! Yikes! But it is another spot I truly enjoy going. I love looking at all the authentic Italian treats either food or knick knacks. We bought a few things as snacks to tide us over before dinner. I always make sure I take someone out of town to Eataly. It’s for sure a cool and unique experience and everyone has enjoyed it.
They do provide dining, but it is outdoor dining. They have space heaters to try to accommodate the cold weather.
Girl & The Goat – 809 W Randolph Street
Girl and the Goat is one of the most popular restaurants in Chicago located in the West Loop neighborhood! It’s owned by Bravo Top Chef Stephanie Izard. Love this place and was so happy when Pack Up + Go booked us a reservation there and provided us a $75 gift card towards our dinner.
Again, there is no indoor dining so we ate outdoors. Girl & The Goat set up an outdoor tent with heaters. Almost every restaurant on Randolph Street in the West Loop is outdoors. We thought we would be freezing, but we were extremely comfortable eating outdoors. If anything, it added to the experience.
You seriously can’t go wrong with whatever you order. Everything is SO GOOD!! Keep in mind that every plate is meant to be shared. Our favorites are the brioche pull apart bread, black bass, and rib-eye skewers. HIGHLY recommend coming here!
Oxygen Spa Studio – 2638 W Chicago Ave.
To end our babymoon staycation, the next day we were scheduled for massages at Oxygen Spa Studio located in the West Town neighborhood. I had no idea this place existed but I’m so glad I was able to experience it!
I received a prenatal massage and it is EXACTLY what I needed. Again, I applaud them for all the precautions they took for COVID-19. Even though I know business is tough in Chicago during the pandemic, I am VERY impressed how they are handling taking it seriously.
Ok back to the prenatal massage. It was amazing!!! Being pregnant, my body has so many aches and tensions. Daisy (my masseuse) was so well informed about the pregnant body and knew exactly what to do. Just be aware that you are not allowed to get a prenatal massage if you are in your first trimester of pregnancy. Prenatal massage is a massage that focuses on the needs of the expecting mother. It enhances the functions of muscles and joints and overall increases the body’s circulation. The Maternal Massage therapist is certified in prenatal massages.
Pack Up + Go Review & Thoughts
Overall, I highly recommend using Pack Up + Go. It was our first time using their services and they did an incredible job putting together our babymoon. The pace of our trip was exactly what we were looking for and we even discovered new places and we live in Chicago!
Plus, I was impressed with their constant communication and organization. It took the stress away from planning. The most work I did was filling out the travel questionnaire and travel preferences and they did it all. I also love that they considered that there is a pandemic going on and my pregnancy. They reached out a few times to see how far along I am and I appreciated that my safety was kept in mind when putting together the itinerary. I liked that they are available 24/7 if you ever need them. Luckily, we didn’t need their assistance at all.
It’s been a week since our babymoon and as soon as we got back we started self-quarantining for two weeks just as a precaution.
We understand that there is a global pandemic and I truly believe we all should do our part to reduce the number of cases. But if you need any ideas for staycations or want to get out of town, I recommend utilizing Pack Up + Go services! There are no additional costs once a traveller pays their budget. The travel questionnaire ask you to provide your overall budget.
When you provide your travel budget to Pack Up + Go, their service fee is built into the budget. For instance, if your budget is $1000, then that is exactly what you have to pay. The service fee is already calculated into that!
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