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Helpful Information

O’Hare Shuttle: Van Galder Bus Company (Coach USA) offers 17 daily shuttles between Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport and the Rockford Region’s major hotels. www.vangalderbus.com

Car Rental: Generally, car rental rates in Rockford are lower than in Chicago. Take the O’Hare shuttle to pick up and return your car in Rockford.

Tips & Gratuities: American tipping customs are very different from those in other countries, and are very subjective. Many entry-level hospitality employees receive less than minimum wage and rely upon tips. Here are some guidelines.

  • Restaurant waiters/waitresses: 15% for good service, 20% for outstanding service.
  • Hotel porters: $2 per bag.
  • Hotel maids: $2 per night, at the end of your stay.
  • Hotel room service: many hotels automatically include a gratuity; if not, 15%.
  • Taxi drivers: 15%, or for very short rides, round it up to the next dollar or so.

Credit Cards: The most commonly accepted credit cards in the American Midwest are MasterCard, Visa, Discover and American Express. 

Foreign Currency Exchanges:

  1. Exchange currency at your arrival airport, such as Chicago or Minneapolis/St. Paul.
  2. Use your bank card, cash card or automated teller card (ATM) to withdraw US dollars from machines throughout America. (You may be charged a fee of US $1.50-$2.50 for each transaction, but your bank will automatically give you the most current exchange rate).
  3. Use your credit card to pay for rooms, meals and other purchases. (Your credit card company will automatically give you the most current exchange rate.)
  4. As a last resort, exchange currency from Canada, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom at the main Chase Bank, 401 E. State St., Rockford, IL 61104. (Phone 815.987.2424)
  5. Outside major airports, American places with “Currency Exchange” signs seldom exchange international currency. (They cash checks, issue money orders, collect utility bills, etc.)

International Phone Cards: May be purchased at most discount stores (such as Target, K-Mart, Wal-Mart) and many convenience stores (gasoline stations).

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