Vacation Mavens is a family travel podcast offering destination inspiration and travel tips for traveling with kids. Co-hosted by Family Travel bloggers, friends, and moms Kimberly Tate from Stuffed Suitcase and Tamara Gruber from We3Travel. Each week we chat about our recent travels and interview fellow parents and family travel experts about destinations or travel tips to provide the info you need to jumpstart family vacation planning and tips to get you out the door.
Barge and River Cruising Through France
Before we say goodbye to summer and pull on our flannels and break out the pumpkin spice, Tamara and Kim are back with a recap of Tamara's European summer travels including a month spent exploring France by river and barge cruise!
Tamara first spent two weeks in the United Kingdom, on a road trip through both Scotland and Wales with two other travel writers. She then took the Eurostar down to France and spent one week cruising through the Canal Nivernais on the Hotel Barge Elisabeth. Next, she went to Bordeaux and her husband joined her for a weeklong river cruise with AmaWaterways. Tamara finished up her summer of cruising with another canal barge cruise with European Waterways on the Canal du Midi in Southern France.
The Mavens break down the differences between river and barge cruising and what to expect on each.
Mentioned on the Podcast:
2 Days in Edinburgh itinerary Wales road trip itinerary Prettiest villages in Wales Cruising through Burgundy, France on the Hotel Barge Elisabeth Barge Lady Cruises - travel agency specializing in barge cruising Things to do in Bordeaux, France AmaWaterways Guide to a Bordeaux river cruise with AmaWaterways European Waterways
217: Scottsdale and Japan (Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka)
Well it has been a minute since we had a chance to catch up and record a podcast but in this episode Tamara shares her insights and experience from her recent family trip to Japan.
Kim and Tamara also share their love for Scottsdale, Arizona and some of the things they did on a girls' trip together. Read more at:
Scottsdale girls weekend Reasons to visit Scottsdale in summer Best Scottsdale Arizona resorts for girlfriends trips Scottsdale weekend itinerary Tamara also talked about her time in Paso Robles, California. You can read her Paso Robles itinerary to get inspired to visit this wine region.
Kim attended conferences in Walt Disney World (read her tips for using DVC points to save money on a Disney World vacation), Disney Land, and San Antonio. She also took a family cruise to Alaska aboard the Norwegian Bliss, which was different from her Alaska cruise on Holland America last summer.
Kim also took a quick press trip to Iceland, where she was able to explore Reykjavik and visit the Sky Lagoon.
We really dug into Tamara's 2-week trip to Japan which included:
5 Days in Tokyo 5 Days in Kyoto 3 Days in Osaka If you are planning a trip, be sure to read Tamara's Japan travel tips!
When talking about how great Google Maps can be to figure out transportation in Japan, Kim also mentioned her post about using Google Maps to plan a trip.
Tamara was also just back from a short press trip to Waterton and Glacier National Parks.
We will be traveling a lot over the summer so expect to hear another episode in the late summer. Then you will hear about Tamara's trip to Scotland & Wales, her river and barge cruises in France, and Kim's amazing trip to Kenya.
Full Episode Transcript [00:00:00.000] - Kim
Today, we're journeying to the land of the rising sun.
[00:00:14.520] - Tamara
Welcome to Vacation Mavens a family travel podcast with ideas for your next vacation and tips to get you out the door. Here are your hosts, Kim from Stuffed Suicase and Tamara from We Three Travel.
[00:00:29.740] - Tamara
Kim, I can't believe the last time I really talked to you was when we were together in Scottsdale in April.
[00:00:34.670] - Kim
I know. It's been a crazy travel season for us. Good. I love that travel's back and everything, but it's also crazy because I thought we would be talking more and we've seen each other so much at the beginning of the year. And then all of a sudden it's like, Oh, summer is almost over.
[00:00:47.920] - Tamara
Not quite. That was our intent was to have this monthly. We're struggling, guys. So if anyone is still listening and subscribe to us, which I hope that they are, we're going to do a quick little rundown of some of our recent travels. Now you'll see why we haven't been able to connect and record an episode.
[00:01:07.600] - Kim
Yeah, exactly. It's been insane. The last time you guys heard from us, we were headed to Scottsdale, which was middle of April, and we both, I think, had an amazing trip there. We both published our articles, so you can always head to Wee 3 Travel and Stuff Suitcase and see the stuff that we covered. But I loved Scottsdale. It was great.
[00:01:25.720] - Tamara
Yeah. I think Scottsdale just continues to be a place I want to go back to because there's so many beautiful resorts and hotels, so there's always some place new to check out. There's amazing spas. Then this time, we did a lot of really cool activities.
[00:01:41.370] - Kim
I loved how it was really I think Scottsdale is a great destination a combination for being able to do outdoorsy things. We did hot air balloons, horseback riding, a few different things. But we also did wine tasting and shopping and went to some museums. Then, like you said, went to an amazing spot, the Phoenixion. Scottsdale, if you are a spa person, that's where you want to go.
[00:02:03.230] - Tamara
I've been watching our friend, Colleen, that lives out in Scottsdale. She seems to be hopping around
Ireland and Northern Ireland
Kim took a last minute spring break trip to Ireland and Northern Ireland with her younger daughter and this week on the podcast, she tells us all about it!
She flew into Dublin and then stay at a country estate hotel in Northern Ireland before visiting Belfast, the Causeway Coast, Derry/Londonderry, and Galway before looping back to Dublin.
See Kim's articles on:
Ireland travel tips Ireland packing list 2 Days in Dublin
Ireland Trip Highlights:
Killeavy Estate in Northern Ireland Belfast - Titanic Belfast and city architecture Causeway Coast - Carrick-a-Rede bridge, Giant's Causeway, Dunluce Castle Bishop's Gate Hotel in Derry - walk the walls around the city Galway - Kim didn't love Galway and her stay at the G Hotel because it felt more like a conference center hotel then something great for families. It was also a long walk into the center city. (see where Tamara stayed at a bed and breakfast near Galway) Kylemore Abbey in Connemara & Cliffs of Moher Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin suburbs Malahide Dublin - Trinity City Hotel and Trinity College / Book of Kells, shopping for Aran Sweaters
215 Oceanside Disneyland California
Spring break is almost here and on this episode Kim and Tamara share their experience on a girls' trip in Oceanside, California and then their mother-daughter trip to Disneyland with their girls.
If you want some inspiration for a SoCal getaway, be sure to listen in!
214 Northern Italy + Big Announcement
Happy New Year! We are back and apologize for taking so long to release a new episode. Moving forward, we will strive to have one episode a month to share our travels and tips, as we continue to each put more time into our respective websites.
But first, Tamara has a big announcement and that is that she is hosting a women-only small group trip to Iceland in September 2023! You can get all the information on YourTimetoFly.com and she really hopes that some listeners will be able to join! Note that there is a discount of 15,000 ISK if you register by January 15, 2023.
Next Tamara tells us all about her two-week trip to Northern Italy! Some highlights include:
5 Days in Piedmont full of wine tasting, truffle hunting, and great food Her stay at La Villa Hotel in Piedmont A wine tour with Piedmont Food and Wine Tours Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como 2 days in Milan (highlights walking tour with LivTours) Hired DayTrips to visit Bergamo, Brescia, Sirmione on Lake Garda, and Borgo sul Mincio 2 days in Verona (mentioned Love in the Villa and Letters to Juliet movies), ½ day walking tour with LivTours 2 days in Bologna Cooking class in Bologna with Cesarine 2 days in Parma Day trip with Food Valley Travel Return to Milan
Glacier Country, Montana
This episode is sponsored by Glacier Country Tourism. All opinions are our own.
This week, Tamara shares what it is like to visit Glacier Country, Montana on a girls' trip and Kim shares her thoughts on this scenic part of Northwestern Montana. From Missoula to Whitefish, Kalispell to Glacier National Park -- if Montana is on your bucket list, give this episode a listen!
Adventurous Weekend Getaways to Western Montana- We3Travel
Best Things to do in Glacier National Park - Stuffed Suitcase
Things to do in Glacier Country, Montana
Glacier Country is a tourism region of Northwestern Montana that covers eight counties To get to Glacier Country you can fly into Missoula or Glacier Airport in Kalispell, both of which offer many direct flights, especially from the western USA You need to rent a car to visit this region and part of the experience is the scenic drives through the countryside To visit Glacier National Park, Tamara stayed at the Homewood Suites in Kalispell, which is about 45 minutes to the western entrance of Glacier National Park To visit Glacier National Park you need a reservation to drive the Going-to-the-Sun Road from when it opens in June through mid-September. Reservations open 120 days in advance and fill up in minutes. Things in and around the park close by mid-September to early October. Kalispell and Whitefish are both good for exploring Glacier National Park if you can't get reservations in the park. Whitefish is a ski resort town that is very cute but also pricey. The road into the Many Glacier section and Two Medicine Lake are gravel and very rough road. Kim stayed in Under Canvas at Glacier National Park in West Glacier and the Isaac Walton Inn, which is an old train depot and you can stay in a train caboose. On her trip, Tamara stayed in a few different types of accommodations including: The Lodge at Trout Creek -- B&B lodge Bridge Street Cottages in Big Fork Laughing Horse Lodge Residence Inn Missoula If you want to see wildlife, drive through the Bison Range not far from Missoula Other fun outdoor adventures are: Kootenai Suspension Bridge & Kootenai Falls Ross Creek Cedars Scenic Area Llama trekking with Swan Mountain Llama Treks Soak in the hot springs at Quinn's Hot Springs Kayaking Clearwater Trail into Seely Lake Sunset boat tour on Flathead Lake Shoulder season in September was a great time to be If you are visiting be sure to Recreate Responsibly: Leave no trace Plan ahead and make reservations Be flexible as plans may need to change because of weather, fire, road closures, etc. Be mindful of wildlife and carry bear spray when hiking (buy it there but don't bring it on the plane)
Most excellent podcast
I love this podcast! I’ve been listening for years. They are so down to earth and share information that is applicable to me. I look forward to their new episodes abs love their advice. I’d love to go on a girls trip with them sometime!
My favorite travel podcast
I’m so happy I stumbled across this podcast when they only had a few episodes out. I feel like I know them I have listened so long. I definitely relisten to episodes about my next travel destination over and over again. They have now covered so many places. Great job ladies!
Fun listen during the pandemic
I just got into podcasts and I’m so glad I found this one. Working from home for almost a year now, I love daydreaming about where my family can go post-pandemic. I would love a future episode about New Orleans. NOLA is definitely in my top 5 domestic bucket list.