Category Archives: Traveling Tips

Advice on making your travel more streamlined. Better planning, relaxing ideas, etiquette, and more.

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Do you LOVE Madden’s on Gull Lake?

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Vote for your favorite resort or destination and if you have time, comment below about your experiences there.

Take care, Elizabeth


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Vacation Packages: European? American? Modified what?

When you are planning to travel you have so many options. Sometimes too many! Let me offer some guidance to help you decide what kind of packages is right for you. First, below are the different types of packages many resorts or hotels will offer:

European Plan:

A European plan generally means you are paying for lodging. You’ll get a hotel room with whatever in room amenities your specific hotel or resort provides. You know, maybe a fridge, microwave, and wireless. But that’s all. You will have to cover other expenses out of pocket as you go along including food and recreation.

Modified American Plan:

A modified American plan is lodging plus some. At Madden’s we think of it as our family plan. Or modified American plan includes lodging, dinner, breakfast, recreation, and a round of golf each day on two of our courses. Details on the modified American plan will vary based on the hotel or resort you choose, but usually it includes dinner and breakfast for sure.

Full American Plan:

This is our full conference plan and generally not available to social guests. It takes away all of the hassle of planning to pay for each meal, each activity etc. At Madden’s our full American plan includes lodging, 3 meals a day, recreation, and a round of golf a day on two of our courses. Again, details will vary based on the hotel or resort your choose so make sure to check into details before booking.

Other Planning Notes:

One thing to keep in mind when planning financially for a vacation is that most anywhere you go your plan will not include your drinks. If you are a big drinker, you’ll want to plan for that! Now this depends on where you choose to stay. For example, I visited Cancun a few years ago and they did have all-inclusive plans that covered drinks. All I can say is be aware when making your decision: when you get there you don’t want to have to worry about the details. The only thing on your mind should be relaxing.

**Have any vacation planning tips to share? Comment below or email me at**

Hope you enjoy your vacation, Elizabeth


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Bringing Baby on Vacation

So you want to go on a nice family vacation. A quiet getaway to… oh wait! There is no quiet when you’ve got the kids! I recently read a fun article in Conde Nast Traveler that could help out any parent: “The A-to-Z Guide to Traveling with Kids.” Wendy Perrin does a great job of sharing “Secrets every smart traveler should know.” I’m going to share some of my favorites directly from her article. If you want to read the whole article you can check it out on their website.
Wendy also has a blog and Twitter account: @wendyperrin.

My favorite letters… my notes follow with a double **

B is for Bananagrams.
Think Scrabble but with no board, no complicated scoring, and no need to wait your turn: Each player works independently and at his own pace and skill level, thus ruling out frustration and boredom. Your child can play alone, or the entire family can participate, and even when you lose some letter tiles under the airline seat, it’s still playable (

H is for Headphones.
Not the awkward inside-your-ear type that falls out of kids’ ears but the over-the-ear type that remains firmly on the child’s head. When your jet-lagged child wakes up at 3 a.m. in the hotel room and announces, “I’m tired of sleeping now,” give him the headphones and a movie and go back to sleep. **my bet is this works even when you don’t fly!

I is for Invisible Ink.
Colorless ink leaves no mess to clean up. The only frustration with invisible-ink activity books is when they come with only one pen and your child loses it. Once that happens, I is for iPhone, with its plethora of mess-free children’s game apps, but fair warning: It’s a slippery slope from Encylopedia Britannica Kids’ Ancient Egypt app to Moto Mania Dirt Bike Challenge.

J is for Journal.
It needn’t be fancy—just a simple notebook where, each day of the trip, your child writes a paragraph on the highlight of his day or three things he learned. If your child can’t write yet, he can draw a picture of something he liked that day. Leave space in the journal for trip photos that your child can add later. **I remember doing this as a kid. It is fun to look at my drawing journal from when I was in Kindergarten!

K is for kids eat free, kids ski free, kids cruise free, and other money-saving family vacation packages. Look for these deals at,, and

T is for Thinkfun games.
Portable mind-sharpeners that have kept my kids occupied during long train and plane rides. Our favorite is Rush Hour Jr.—an addictive puzzle that involves placing vehicles on a grid in a different arrangement each time, then trying to get the ice-cream truck out of the traffic jam by moving vehicles around the grid. It’s a single-player game, though, so when your kids start fighting over it, T is for Time Out (

W is for Wikki Stix.
The least heavy, least bulky, least messy way to do arts and crafts on the go.

**Do you have any more suggestions for traveling with kids? Help out a fellow traveler and share them by commenting below**

Take care, Elizabeth

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Posted by on June 8, 2011 in Traveling Tips


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