Family reunions can be a great experience. They’re an opportunity to get the entire family together and create lasting memories. And if it’s a destination family reunion, it’s also a chance for everyone to experience a new place.
But family reunions take a lot of planning.
In this article, we’ll go over everything you need to know when planning a destination family reunion so you can keep stress to a minimum and avoid letting things fall through the cracks.
The earlier you start planning, the better. It gives everyone more time to get ready, book travel and accommodation arrangements, and settle details.
Related Read: Best Things to Do on a Family Vacation
Here’s a step-by-step guide on what you should do to ensure you have a fabulous destination family reunion:
Consult the family
The first step is to consult your extended family. Try to gauge interest in a destination family reunion and get a sense for family members’ preferences on dates and locations. Get a rough count of who will be attending.
Consulting the family is also important so everyone feels like they have input in the decision-making process. You don’t want anybody to feel left out or like the family reunion plans were made without them.
Choose the dates
Next, choose the dates to hold the family reunion. Try to choose dates that work for everyone.
Summer is a popular time for family reunions because it’s when kids are out of school. But work and other obligations need to be taken into consideration, too.
You may only be able to get the whole family together for a weekend, and that’s okay. Whatever dates you choose, ask everyone to mark them on their calendars so nothing else gets scheduled on those days.
- Set a budget
Determine the family reunion budget early on. How much is the family willing to spend? Will costs be split evenly between families or will grandparents foot the majority of the cost? These are important decisions that let you know how much money you have to work with.
Also, be sensitive to families who may not be able to afford much.
Once you have a budget, use a spreadsheet to start tracking expenses. You may need to cut costs here and there so look for discounts where you can.
Choose a location
Where to hold the destination family reunion is another important question to settle. If you want to stay stateside, aim for somewhere central to all family members. If you want to go foreign, this won’t matter as much.
Obviously, the destination needs to fit within the budget. If you’re lighter on funds, you might try a camping ground or an inexpensive short-term rental that can fit everyone.
If you want something unique, consider a historical place like Drumore Mill in Pennsylvania.
Or, if you want something more exotic, consider a cruise, safari, or a nice beach hotel. Whatever you choose, it should appeal to everyone and have something that family members of all ages can enjoy.
Now that you have the basics nailed down (dates and location), send out invitations to the whole family. The earlier you send invites, the more time you give family members to prepare.
You can mail invitations through the post office or just send a digital invite over email. You might even create a social media event or group text so you can provide updates on the family reunion plans.
If possible, invite the entire extended family. Try not to accidentally leave anyone out.
Book flights and accommodations
Try to book your flights and accommodations well in advance (and have other family members do the same). Usually, the earlier you make your reservations, the better price you can get. You may even be able to get a group discount on certain things.
Create an itinerary
Develop a preliminary family reunion itinerary. Choose what activities you want to do. These could include games, outings, skits, a talent show, a pool party, a fire with smores, amusement parks, and more.
If the family reunion destination is someplace most of the family hasn’t been before, look into getting a tour guide. This is a great way to experience the culture and learn about the most important sites.
Don’t forget to plan for some downtime, too. Family members need time to relax and be alone sometimes. If you schedule every minute, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and stressed. A rough itinerary with plenty of room for relaxation and flexibility is best.
Plan the menu
You and your family will need to eat, and it’s better to come prepared with a menu than to whip something together at the last minute.
When choosing meals, consider the venue and time of year. For example, if it is cold outside, a warm meal may be nice. This is also a great time to prepare a favorite family dish or one from your family heritage.
Be sensitive to any food allergies and aversions or special diets like vegetarianism.
It’s important to delegate tasks and duties when planning a family reunion. Otherwise, you may end up overburdened.
See who in your family is willing to help and then try to divvy out assignments evenly. Tasks and responsibilities that you can delegate include cooking, activities, cleaning, and photography.
It may help to organize a family reunion planning committee so you have the help you need during the planning stage, too.
Have a backup plan
Nothing ever goes 100% according to plan. So have a backup plan in mind just in case something falls through. For example, you might look into backup venues, activities, or lodging. That way, you won’t be scrambling when you need to make adjustments.
At the end of the day, a family reunion is about reconnecting with family and having fun. So try not to let the stress of planning get in the way of that.
Once the family reunion has started, just relax and let the event play out on its own. You deserve it.