Important Phone Numbers to Know When Traveling to Chicago

When it comes to iconic American cities, Chicago stands proud as one of the best.

The Windy City can stand toe-to-toe with more popular tourist destinations such as New York or San Francisco. Chicago has a lot of attractions to offer, and the city has one of the most beautiful skylines around. Getting around town is a breeze using the El, buses, an army of taxis roaming the streets.

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Like any major metropolis, you need to always have your wits about you when moving around. Chicago is a safe city for tourists, but there are some areas to avoid, especially at night. In this article, we’ll be talking about safety tips, with an emphasis on active communication.

Staying Safe Through Communication

Smartphones are one of the essential inventions of our time. You’re never out of reach when you have a mobile phone in your pocket. Being able to communicate with other people during your travels adds an extra layer of security because help is a phone call away.

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You need to maximize your smartphone as a tool to stay safe on your travels. Here are a few ideas:

Always Use Speed Dial

Put the numbers of the most influential people in your life on speed dial. Make sure the people you include are reliable and ready to help if you’re in a bind. Close family, friends, and your insurance company should make up the bulk of your speed dial numbers. You should also use the remaining slots for emergency services.

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In Chicago, here are the numbers you should consider putting on speed dial:

  • Police/Fire Emergency – 911
  • Chicago Transit Authority (trains and buses) – 888.YOUR.CTA
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport – 773.686.2200 
  • Travelers’ Aid – O’Hare International Airport – 773.894.2427
  • Illinois Poison Center – 800.222.1222
  • Rape Crisis Center Hot Line – 888.293.2080
  • Mental Health Hot Line – 800.877.7675

Other numbers you can save in your contacts:

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  • Police/Fire/City Services Non-emergency – 311 
  • Northwestern Memorial Hospital – 312.926.2000
  • Rush University Medical Center – 312.942.5000
  • UChicago Medicine – 773.702.1000
  • Illinois Department of Vehicle Services – 800.252.8980
  • Amtrak Railroad – 312.655.3168 
  • Regional Transportation Authority Travel Info – 312.836.7000
  • Illinois Restaurant Association – 312.787.4000

Reverse Phone Lookup

If you’re Couchsurfing or staying in a co-living space, knowing the numbers of the people you’re staying with can help you when you get into trouble. On the flip side, if you feel that your host or a person who you’re sharing lodging space with creeps you out, it’s your job to know more about them.

Things can get out of hand in a hurry if you’re not prepared. By doing research on the person and using a reverse phone search tool, you’ll be able to avoid getting yourself into dangerous situations.

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Enable Location Services

Turn on your GPS and allow the phone to use “location services” for more accurate data on where you are. Once enabled, download an app that shares your location with a person (or people) you designate to keep an eye on you. The person you choose should also download the app on his/her phone for this to work.

You can also use Google’s “Find My Phone” service if you don’t want to install any third-party app. However, you would need to give the person you assign to watch over you, full access to your Google account. Please note that Google can keep track of everywhere you go and will have a detailed map of your movements. This feature could be helpful for authorities if you go missing, but it is a little creepy.

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Stay Active on Social Media

If you document your travels and post regular updates, the people in your inner circle may notice something amiss if you suddenly stopped. Social media is powerful, and these days can broadcast anything live. You can leverage this technology and use it to stay safe.

Before you do, however, make sure that you don’t have any unknown people (who might be stalkers) following you on social media. Unfriend and block anyone you have no deep connection with.

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Staying safe takes a concerted effort on your part, not only in learning about your destination but also preparing for the worst. You should always think about worst-case scenarios, not to ruin your trip, but to be aware that anything can happen even while you’re on vacation. Communication can be a powerful tool in your safety arsenal if used properly.

 

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