Hi everyone - please take a moment to read this post.
I read comments every day and I am amazed that some families are having problems when they arrive here. What I am going to post here is the truth and nothing but the truth. If you pass this information to future families, you can be their heroes. I live this everyweek and have been doing this for the last five years. The information is accurate and precise.
First and foresmost - please allow me to explain who I am and what I do for our Navy Families.
I am retired from the U.S. Army. I served 21 years on Active duty from 1971to 1992. My last duty station was Great Lakes/Fort Sheridan. I have made this my home since 1981. I am part of Metro Cabs - we are a fleet of over five thousand taxi cabs that service Chicago and the suburbs. My team consist of thirthy-five cabs that service the Navy base, Gurnee, Waukegan, Lake Bluff, Lake Forest, North Chicago, Highwood, Highland Park, Lincolnshire, Wadsworth, Beach Park, Zion, and other northern suburbs. We are professionals who are licensed by the base and the City of North Chicago. We are fully insured by our parent company "Yellow Cab and Yellow Checker and Yellow Metro ,which are World-Wide" My personal team consist of seven top notch drivers who are the best in the business and we will never leave you stranded. The Meet and Greet is SOLEY funded by my wife and I, using our personal funds each week to insure that our Navy families are fully educated and well briefed about what to expect on PIR weekend.
Secondly - most travelers who come here for graduation are not seasoned travelers,and rely soley on reviews they read on the internet. That's not a bad thing however; I recommend that you read reviews posted by Navy Moms and Dads. To better assist you, here are some items in a nutshell that you can find helpful to make your trip enjoyable and save $$$. I am almost finished with my "PIR SURVIVAL GUIDE" that I will publish in July.
Let's review some common misconceptions.
RENTAL CARS - Every rental car company accepts Major Credit Cards. Very few will accept DEBIT CARDS or PRE-PAID (LOADED) credit cards. If you are using a credit card, you really have no issues, however; if you are using a DEBIT CARD for your car rental and Hotel be aware of the following pitfalls.
1. Debit cards are not widely accepted by Car Rentals if you are out of state. If you are fortunate to get them to accept the debit card, they will place a hold on your card for the amount of the rental PLUS a security deposit. This ties up your funds in your checking account and you will not have access to those funds. The same applies to Hotels. Every Hotel has a disclaimer on their front desk that states "funds held from debit cards are not returned until seven days after your departure, please check with your financial institution" The hotels and car rentals will release your funds the next business day however; it could take your institution several days to release the hold.
2. If you are from out of the Continental US, i.e. Guam, Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, Mariana Islands, and other US properties, or from a foreign country such as Canada/Mexico/Carribean, your car insurance may not cover you on the rental and you will pay additional car insurance when you rent the car.
3. Through my business associates I have assisted families with rental cars. For example, Mildred Circao and Joe PAID LESS THAN $100.00 for a rental for 4 days and they used their DEBIT CARD. ENTERPRISE locally will accept debit cards however; if you use their national number you will be told no debit cards. Here is the managers name and phone number, when you dial it DO NOT USE any option other than option 4. This option 4 will place you in direct contact with the Manager. You must bring your letter inviting you to the graduation when you get your car. Here is the number 847-360-8008 option 4. Remember it is best to contact them early in the morning central time.
4. Remember - renting a car at the airport is more expensive than renting in the suburbs. Also, when you land there are long lines at the rental counters. Don't take my word on that - read previous post from other families that had to wait in excess of 2 hours to get their rentals.
HOTELS - Please read the reviews on both Navyformoms.com and the PIR face book pages. Reviews on the internet should be taken with a grain of salt. REASON - some people may not have ever stayed at a hotel and their first experience, oh well, may have fit their needs. Please do your homework!!!! I always recommend the SpringHill Suites in Waukegan based upon my personal experiences as a Marriott's reward holder. It is worth paying a little extra so you can enjpoy your stay.
Last but not least - please review the documents I have uploaded and I look forward to seeing everyone at the meet and greet. If you get stranded at the Airport, you can call me at 847-212-0246. My phone is on "call forwarding" during the meet and greet.
God Bless - safe travels!
PS.... don't forget to bring VALID-UNEXPIRED- ID's for everyone.