A family reunion combined with a vacation sounds great, and it is, but it also requires careful planning and quite a bit of work. You’re trying to juggle different schedules, interests, budgets, and age groups.
Most family reunions do end up being centered around a vacation since not everyone is going to live in the same place, so you’ll all want to come together in one location.
With that being said, the following are some tips to help you plan a family reunion vacation.
Choosing a Destination
Choosing a destination should be your primary starting point. A few things to look for in a destination:
It should be family-friendly. Gatlinburg, Tennessee is a good example of a family-friendly travel destination that works for multiple generations. There is a lot of entertainment, outdoor activities, and it tends to be a place everyone from the young kids in your family to the grandparents or even great-grandparents will enjoy. There are other fantastic options as well, from the mountains to a coastal area or somewhere in Florida.
Look for a destination that’s somewhat central to most of the people who will be attending the reunion. You don’t want some people having to travel for a full day compared to an hour or two for others.
Try to find something that’s budget-friendly because everyone is going to have different financial restraints.
If you aren’t sure about locations, ask for input from other family members. A family reunion vacation is a big undertaking, so planning should start at least a year out.
Delegate To Other Family Members
Even if you’ve taken on the bulk of the planning, you still need help. You should recruit members of your family to fill certain positions and help you organize components of the trip.
The people you delegate can also form their own committees.
You should have someone in charge of finances, another person who is in charge of lodging, someone who deals with communication, and perhaps someone who also organizes the entertainment and activities.
Keep Everything Organized
If you’ve ever planned a trip for yourself or your immediate family, you probably know there are a lot of moving parts. There are reservation and booking confirmations, tickets, codes, contracts, and more. Make sure you create copies of everything and keep it all together, so you have it when you need it.
In addition to hard copies, you might also think about creating a DropBox or a similar digital folder where everyone can access this information with a log-in.
You can also keep everyone updated on the planning with a Facebook page or group dedicated to your family reunion.
Be Willing to Discuss Budget
Talking about money can be uncomfortable, but a family reunion trip can be a huge expense for a lot of people. Be willing to talk openly and honestly about the budget and try to find something that works for everyone.
You also need to account for unexpected expenses and add a contingency of anywhere from 5 to 10% to the original budget.
A lot of families will organize fundraisers as part of their family reunion to help cover the costs for everyone.
When you have a general idea of the plan for your trip and the budget, ask for a deposit by a specific deadline. MyEvent is a good tool that will help you keep track of payments, attendance, donations, and other similar things.
Get the Best Deal
No one wants to pay more than they have to for a vacation.
A good way to get a better deal is to book off-season. You can also contact hotels and see if any will offer group rates on the hotel rooms. You may be able to save as much as 50% on the cost of rooms if a hotel will negotiate, which many will.
A cruise can be a good choice for some families since everything is all-inclusive and you can usually find affordable deals on these types of trips. Doing something like a cruise also makes planning easier, since the cruise company handles that for you.
Finally, when you’re deciding on specific accommodations (unless you’re going on a cruise), you can do a hotel, or you can do one big house or several houses depending on how many people are coming.
The pros of a hotel are the fact that everyone gets more privacy and you may be able to negotiate a good deal. If you go with a rental house, you can prepare meals and save a lot of money, so you’ll have to weigh each option and think about which is the best fit for your family.