Monthly Archives: March, 2016

ParqEx: 3 Tips for Planning Your Spring Break Travel This Year

3 Tips for Planning Your Spring Break Travel This Year

March 31st, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, mobile app, Parking No Comment yet

It’s almost time for Spring Break; the annual school holiday millions of college students and their families look forward to each year. Hundreds of thousands of students will be hitting the streets, looking for a week’s worth of excitement and everlasting memories. If you’re looking to hit the big, beautiful, “Windy City” of Chicago, Illinois this year for your Spring Break then don’t forget these three important tips to make the most of your memorable experience.

Spring-Break-300x300 3 Tips for Planning Your Spring Break Travel This Year

Parking

Save the walking for once you’re inside your destination. Why chance having to park a significant distance from where you want to be? With the comprehensive and easy-to-use ParqEx app, downloadable on any smart phone, you can find a great spot close to your destination right now, whether it’s Shedd’s Aquarium, the art museum, or Soldier Field.

Parking in downtown Chicago can be a daunting task for even the most experienced travelers. But who wants to pay exorbitant taxi fares, and wait for them to show up to get around the city? You can simply rent a parking space ahead of time, using the same handy ParqEx app. Renting a space ahead of time can get you discount parking as well so you can spend more on souvenirs. If you know where you’re going to be and when, it’s simple to use the app to find a parking space close to your destination.

Hotel

Shop for your hotel room early in the year; even as early as January. Many hotels will be happy to offer you a large discount for booking well in advance of your trip. In many cases the hotel will require up front payment but the savings, which can be as much as $100 or more can be significant enough to be worth it.

As you know, Spring Break is one of the biggest reasons for tourism for big cities like Chicago. Those choice hotel rooms can go faster than you can blink an eye. You can find these great deals for hotel rooms on popular travel sites which will show you an array of hotel options based on your preferences. Deals can also be found on hotel websites.

An app from a site such as Trivago or Hotels.com can help you find a hotel on the go in case you find yourself in the Windy City without a reservation. As an added bonus many travel sites let you bundle your vacation, saving you money on hotel, car, and flight.

Fun

Last, but certainly not least: have fun! This is your Spring Break. Experience it the way you want to experience it. It can be useful to have the Trip Advisor app as well. The app will show you the most popular hot spots in nearly every city in the country including user reviews. An app such as that can also offer more detailed information on restaurants, night life, and local culture such as address, admission information, and whether or not advance reservations are required.

If you are flying to and from Chicago and renting a car in between, consider shipping your souvenirs home before leaving the city. With skyrocketing luggage fees, it’s possible to save a ton of money this way. If your hotel does not offer a mailing service, they can certainly point you towards the nearest United States Postal Service.

Spring break is a time to let loose, kick back, and have a blast. With these handy tips and apps, you take the guess-work out of vacationing in comfort and style. You have the tools close at hand to make it the best Spring Break ever.

Contact us today for more information on how to find the perfect parking place wherever you are.

ParqEx: 5 Important Things to Consider When Planning a Road Trip

5 Important Things to Consider When Planning a Road Trip

March 24th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, mobile app, Parking, Safety No Comment yet

The road trip is a phenomenon seemingly as old as the automobile itself.  Way back when, a road trip was simply to the next town over.  These days it is possible to travel across an entire country.  While a road trip with your buddies or significant other may differ in purpose and content from a family road trip, it will always be an affordable way to see the sights and spend time with the people who you care about.

road-trip-parqex-300x300 5 Important Things to Consider When Planning a Road Trip

That said, what seems like a simple concept (get in the car and drive) can often be derailed by unforeseen circumstances and poor planning.  While there are many things you cannot prepare for, there are several ways to get ready for a road trip that can make the trip run more smoothly and make it much more enjoyable for everyone. If you are planning a road trip or intend to soon, below are 5 things to consider.

  1. Destination and Route: While many people just want to hit the open road and see where destiny takes them, not having at least a general destination in mind can result in disaster.  Multiple route options are ideal as well.  Weather could make the scenic route more treacherous, but on the other hand you could miss a lot of landmarks if you do not plan to drive past them.  This plan does not have to be especially rigid, but it can help you prevent unintentionally driving several 8 hour stretches.  This is much easier than it used to be with today’s technology with such planning apps as Roadtrippers or On The Way.
  2. Budget: While driving to a destination is much cheaper and more about the journey than flying, expenses can add up very quickly. For example, you may want to meander around an area to see the sights, but gas prices can accumulate, so best see what you can on foot.  Apps like Gas Buddy can help you save money on gas.  Prepare as much as you can to eat beforehand and share rooms if possible.  There are several online travel calculators that can assist in this process.
  3. Parking: While you are driving to most cities or towns, once you get to that destination you will probably want to get out and explore.  Unfortunately, in many places parking is not always easily accessible or the rules are unclear.  For example, Chicago parkingrules differ from New York City parking rules.  Fortunately, Parqex has a very helpful parking app that can help in that area.  If other cities do not have similar apps, try and scout ahead for discount parking or places you can rent parking for the day.  Downtown parking can be especially difficult to find in certain places so take into account the size of the city.
  4. Cash: Even though many people do not like to carry a lot of cash with them, it is important to have some on a road trip for multiple reasons.  Toll booths seem to appear in the most random places, and many parking stands still only take cash so make sure to carry both bills and coins.  It is also a good idea to keep this in a place other than your wallet in case it is misplaced or stolen.
  5. Stay In Touch: Make sure a friend or family member has a copy of your general itinerary and check in regularly to keep them updated about any changes.  This way in anything happens to you or you fail to check in, there is someone who is aware that things may not be ok.  Turning on apps like Find My Friends alerts people to your location at all times if assistance is needed.

Of course there are other important considerations such as proper packing and making sure your car is in the best possible shape.  Road trips are a shared common experience that unite us as both individuals and as a culture.  That said, it is true that many people look back at their road trips growing up and only recall the broken down car or fighting siblings, so make sure to prepare adequately in order to avoid a negative experience. Contact us to learn more about parking options or any other ways we can help make the trip one that your family and/or friend will remember with a smile.

ParqEx: The 3 Chicago Neighborhoods to Visit this Spring

The 3 Chicago Neighborhoods to Visit this Spring

March 17th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Are you thinking about making a trip to the Windy City? Chicago is one of the largest cities in the United States and is known for its fine restaurants, art museums and bold architecture. Here are some fun and interesting attractions in three Chicago neighborhoods to visit this spring along with our suggestions on how to find great downtown parking.

3-Neighborhoods-300x300 The 3 Chicago Neighborhoods to Visit this Spring

West Loop

The West Loop used to be home to the Oprah Winfrey studios and is now considered one of the hottest neighborhoods in the city. Some of the best restaurants, retail shops and bars are located in this section of Chicago. Union Station, Randolph Street Market Festival and the Chicago French Market are three famous attractions you can visit in this neighborhood.

Union Station

Many people imagine Union Station when they think of Chicago. This classic landmark opened in 1925 as a replacement for an 1881 train station. While you explore the station, take your time and enjoy the grand ballroom, retail stores and fine restaurants.

Randolph Street Market Festival 

You can catch the Randolph Street Market Festival from May until September. The festival is both indoor and outdoors and features more than 200 local vendors selling vintage clothing, furniture and other items. You can also bring your own antiques to be appraised.

Chicago French Market 

The Chicago French Market is open year-round to tourists and locals. Vendors sell specialty food items from France and other countries in Europe. Explore different cultures as you browse through local goods and other gifts.

We know finding Chicago parking spots can be a headache, so feel free to use our services when you are traveling through the West Loop.

South Loop

The South Loop, bordered by Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, is home to the historic Shedd Acquarium and world famous museums. The neighborhood is only a short walk from the downtown.

Adler Planetarium

The museum was founded in 1930 by Max Adler and is dedicated to the study of astrophysics and astronomy. Their exhibits include Our Solar System, Mission Moon and high resolution virtual-reality attractions among others.

Field Museum

This world famous natural history museum covers more than 300,000 square feet and boasts over 30 permanent exhibitions. Established in 1893, over two million people visit the Field Museum each year.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium opened in 1930 and is located by the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. The 76-year-old public aquarium institution houses over 32,000 animals and was previously considered one of the largest indoor aquariums in the world.

If you want to see these amazing attractions in The South Loop and need to find some discount parking spots, we can help you.

Lakeview

Lakeview is one of the most populated areas in Chicago. Located on the North Side, the neighborhood is divided into many different sections, including Wrigleyville, West Lakeview and Lakeview East.

South Lakeview Park

If you have kids and you are visiting Lakeview, you should consider seeing South Lakeview Park. The playground has large structures, swings, and picnic tables. There is also a gazebo and basketball court in the park.

Maison Rouge Gallery

The Maison Rouge Gallery was founded in 2003 and features works from established and emerging artists in Chicago. Regardless if you are an artist yourself or just appreciate the arts, you will enjoy browsing this gallery and learning about each fascinating collection.

If you live in any of these neighborhoods and would like to learn more about how you can rent your parking spot to make extra money or want to simply find a place to park that is closer to your destination, please contact us today by email or phone at (855) PARQEX-1.

ParqEx: 3 Top Travel Apps Everyone Should Have to Make Life Easier

3 Top Travel Apps Everyone Should Have to Make Life Easier

March 10th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, Community, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Every traveler has experienced the hassles and frustration of trying to find their way around an unfamiliar city, find a place to eat, or find a parking place. With these three easy apps you can make your travel life easier, and even enjoyable.

Make-Life-Easier-300x300 3 Top Travel Apps Everyone Should Have to Make Life Easier

GasBuddy

GasBuddy is one of the best apps on the market today for travelers who are driving across the country, or across the state. Just input your location or zip code, and the GasBuddy app will tell you who has the lowest gas prices near you.  It will even tell you how far you are from each location as well as their phone number and address.

City Maps 2 Go

This app will help you find your way around Los Angeles, New York City, and any other city you can think of.  Say bye-bye to roaming charges and spotty service, because this app will even let you download thousands of maps for offline use.

ParqEx

If you’re headed to a popular tourist attraction, whether it’s the LA Museum of Art, Shedd’s Aquarium, or Heinz Field, then you know parking is going to be a hassle and a half.  Not with ParqEx, though.  You can reserve a parking spot in advance. That means you are guaranteed to have a parking place when you reach your destination.

By having these three handy apps on your smart phone or other device you can increase the fun of traveling and decrease the headaches.

Contact us and reserve your next parking spot today!

California is proposing that self-driving cars need a specially certified %22driver%22; are these restrictions a step in the right (or wrong) direction? #Californiarules

California is proposing that self-driving cars need a specially certified “driver”; are these restrictions a step in the right (or wrong) direction? #Californiarules

March 3rd, 2016 Posted by Car, mobile app, Parking, Safety, sharing economy No Comment yet

Under proposed new rules, you’d need certification to “drive” a self-driving car; this proposal demands that a fully licensed driver be in the front seat the entire drive time. California is proposing that self-driving cars need a specially certified “driver”; are these restrictions a step in the right (or wrong) direction? #Californiarules

California-is-proposing-that-self-driving-cars-need-a-specially-certified-22driver22-are-these-restrictions-a-step-in-the-right-or-wrong-direction-Californiarules-300x300 California is proposing that self-driving cars need a specially certified "driver"; are these restrictions a step in the right (or wrong) direction? #Californiarules

A 2014 University of Michigan study of public opinion on self-driving cars was inconclusive; people do like autonomous features in cars (self-parking, auto-braking, collision avoidance) but they don’t really want to give up all control. When it comes to a machine with no steering wheel, we humans feel we ultimately do a better job and are reluctant to give over control. California seems to concur.

We don’t yet know if self driving cars are safer than human-driven. Until self-driven vehicles are in widespread use we won’t have the statistics to make an open road comparison. Many current safety studies that lean toward calling self-driven cars safer come from those with a vested interest; big players in the market who face an uncertain regulatory environment in the future of self-driven vehicles.

These big players, companies like Google and Mobileye, are betting that self-guided vehicles will be a common sight in just 10 years and ubiquitous in 20, but in order to foster widespread adoption of radical new driving technology, they must sell unprecedented personal transportation safety to the public. Novelty and convenience won’t be enough to push the market to its full potential, although they will certainly play a large role in the continued development of fully autonomous vehicles.

Markets and technologies will always move faster than industry regulation, but regulation is inevitable and should be adopted to give the public, with its existing prejudice against machines, the confidence to widely adopt new driving technology. If this new market is to meet and exceed its potential, safety must be the driving force behind the industry as a whole. When combined with new conveniences, the fully autonomous vehicle will become the industry standard.

The autonomous, self-driving vehicles envisioned by manufacturers will not only offer unprecedented passenger protection; they will automatically utilize a wide host of convenience applications that cover every aspect of trip planning and execution, from navigation and hotel booking to en-route entertainment and internet access. Applications like ParqEx will even allow travelers to rent and automatically locate a parking spot in a city they don’t know, all at the touch of a button.

This future is rapidly approaching, but hang on to your Metra ticket for now. Manufacturers like Mercedes do not expect self-driving cars in the showroom until 2020, and we will not be seeing fully autonomous vehicles at the 2016 Chicago Auto Show. We will, however be seeing a host of highly advanced safety features, the very features that are paving the way toward the self-driving car.

For more information on this topic, please contact us.

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