Housekeeping or American Plan

What’s the Difference When Planning Your Vacation in Algoma

Updated: By Heather Bot

When it comes to planning your outdoor adventure in Algoma Country, there’s a lot to think about. Because there’s a lot to do! Where to stay is going to be at the top of the list. The Algoma region is home to a variety of accommodations: hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, campgrounds, lodges, resorts, and outposts.

Hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, and campgrounds are based on a per-night rate. But with lodges, resorts and outposts, those types are generally a weekly rate or a per-person rate. And one of the many questions our staff at Algoma Country receives is the difference between Housekeeping Plans and American Plans that are advertised.

The American Plan

Fact: The first known use of the term ‘American Plan’ was in 1843, according to Merriam-Webster
Its definition is a hotel plan whereby the daily rates cover the costs of the room and three meals. It’s usually written as American Plan in a package, but sometimes can be abbreviated to AP.

In Algoma, you will usually see this type of plan offered at lodges and resorts. Most American Plan packages offer breakfast, lunch, and a delicious dinner served in the evening. Breakfast and dinner are usually served in the main lodge with a dining room. Homecooked, healthy and hearty meal options are served, and the evening meal menu is set in advance.


Enjoy a fresh shore lunch cooked for you. Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher

Besides accommodations and meals, American Plan packages may include other add-ons like:

  • a shore lunch kit or box lunch
  • all linens and towels
  • daily maid service
  • boat/motor/gas, life jackets
  • transportation to and from the remote lodge (if it’s a fly-in lodge particularly)
  • fishing cleaning and freezing services

Fishing guide services can be booked to help you get to know the lake and its species. Or, if you’re new to fishing, you can learn to fish. Guides will cook up a shore lunch of fresh fish and side dishes at least once or twice during your stay. Some lodges offer a weekly community shore lunch which is a nice way to socialize with other guests.

Brook Trout Fishing

Brook Trout fishing. Photo credit: The New Fly Fisher

Types of accommodations can be lodge rooms (like a motel-style room), or private cottages with a bathroom, bedrooms, living room area and self-catering kitchen.

A few lodges may only offer food lodge plans to their guests, but usually, guests have a choice of the American Plan, or what is called the Housekeeping Plan.

The Housekeeping Plan

Not to be confused with maid services, Housekeeping Plan means that the package provides accommodations to guests who want to do their own cooking and tidying up: You are the housekeeper. This is a great choice for guests who want to set their own schedule and pace for the day.

Cottages or cabins have a self-catering kitchen with a refrigerator/freezer, propane oven/stove, cooking pots and pans, cutlery, and dishes. Most offer a barbeque grill or sometimes a fish frier. Guests simply bring their food from home. Cottages generally have indoor plumbing, hot and cold running water, showers and electricity.


The region is home to incredible fisheries. Photo credit: The So Fly Crew

Housekeeping Plans can include similar services or amenities to the American Plan like boats, motors, etc. A good rule of thumb is to ask if there are any additional equipment rental fees.

If you’re looking to stay at a remote outpost, some have an outside portable toilet. These types of cabins typically require guests to bring their own linens, towels, sleeping bag, and of course food, and personal care items (like shampoo and soap).

Modified Plans

You may also see some modified plans offered; Modified American or Housekeeping with Evening Meal. This type of plan offers the flexibility of cooking your own breakfast and lunch, setting your own pace but enjoying a delicious evening meal in the lodge dining room.


Main lodge dining. Photo credit: The So Fly Crew

Costs and Benefits

The cost of the American Plan is greater than the Housekeeping Plan packages. And of course, depending on the type of vacation you’re seeking, both have their benefits. If you like the type of trip where you don’t have to worry about cooking and tidying up, the American Plan may be for you. You will have to stick to a bit of a schedule as meals are served at pre-determined times of the day.

Housekeeping Plan options allow the flexibility of setting your own schedule, determining what and when to eat and minding your own cottage with tidying up and doing the dishes.

Another variable is the cost can be priced at per-person rates, weekly rates, special rates for children, pet fees, or rates for different party sizes.


Enjoy a variety of activities during your stay. Photo credit: Martin Lortz

Things to Know

If you’re new to this type of experience, here are some tips:

  1. Do your homework. Types of accommodations in Algoma are unique to each other as are their services and amenities.
  2. The best practice is to always check with your lodge, resort, or outfitter of choice to see what’s provided and what you’ll need to bring yourself.
    1. Make a list of questions to ask the owners when researching your stay or at the time of booking.
  3. Make a packing list or a grocery list early on so that you don’t forget something you may really need. Inquire about a packing list from the business you’re staying with.
  4. If you’re planning to fish, ask for fishing tips like the best gear, and bait to pack for the type of species you’re after, and the lake structure.
    1. Upon arrival, a lake map is generally provided.
  5. If choosing the American Plan be sure to provide dietary needs upfront at the time of booking.
  6. Additional equipment – some lodges and resorts may offer the use of kayaks, canoes, or other outdoor equipment as part of the plans, while others may offer it at an additional charge.
  7. Other services that may come at additional cost are fishing guide services, or transportation services if required (like train tickets if you book with a train-in lodge)

No matter what you end up choosing in the end, both options will provide you with what you’re looking for in the first place: clean air, pristine waters and wilderness, adventure in the outdoors and the opportunities to create trip traditions and memories with your family and friends.

Find all places to stay in Algoma Country by clicking here

About Heather Bot

I'm a member of the Algoma Country Travel staff. I hope my blogs entice you to visit the beautiful region that I call home.

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