Even though the younger family members might not miss their grandmothers testing the limits of their cheeks flexibility, family reunions are a wonderful affair. It allows you all to reconnect in a relaxing atmosphere. It usually means fun times, with a chance to catch up with members of the family you have not seen or talked to in a while.
While the actual event may be fantastic, people often forget the planning that went into it. You see, planning a large group trip takes some know-how. They ignore the stress and tension that led up to the reunion itself. Still, the organizational aspect does not have to be a logistical nightmare. It, too, should be fun.
Impossible, I hear you exclaim as you try to dissuade your toddler, holding a paintbrush in his hands, from expressing his artistic talents on your freshly painted walls.
Well...here are seven tips for planning a family reunion trip!
Believe it or not, most people would advise that planning should start some 12 months in advance. If you begin laying the groundwork a year in advance, things will go more smoothly. It means time is no longer a horrible monster lurking over you the whole time.
You have to keep in mind that there are many family members, each with their timetables, likes, and dislikes. All of this needs to be considered carefully, and an acceptable compromise must be found. Your first step should be to see if everybody is on board. Check who is up for it and who you can count on.
Furthermore, since you are there, delegate! This is no small undertaking; you will need help. Forming a planning committee consisting of one member from each family would be ideal.
Time and Money
Time is money, money is time, and they both need to be agreed upon. Easier said than done; these two little concepts are notoriously touchy.
Start with the date. Most families have kids, no surprise. You need to try and pick a time when they are out of school. Ok, fair enough, but most families also have adults who work. That means you need to choose a date when people can get time off work. Then again, you can't pick those summer months that are generally reserved for classic, annual holidays. Do you see how this equation is stacking up the variables, and we've only scratched the surface? Yeah, let's take it up a notch.
Not everybody has the same financial possibilities. Try to find out what the most each family is willing to pay. If money is tight, there are ways to travel with a larger group on a budget, so don't fret too much. This is a lot of work and information gathering. Glad you started a year in advance, aren't you?
Location, Location, Location
Well, time and money have been sorted out; it's time for a breather, right? Not really.
You cannot pick any old random location. It should be something fun and unique. At the same time, it should be something that the majority will enjoy. It cannot be too specific, as it will not cater to everybody's desires in that case. It sounds tricky, but if you all talk it out and search around for a bit, you can find the perfect location.
A safari trip, a cruise - these activities have wide appeal and won't necessarily break the bank. Think outside the box and get a sense of what could be a possibility and what is out of the question. Your sister's kid suffers from seasickness? Wave that cruise goodbye. On the other hand, that same kid might be obsessed with wildlife, a passion shared by most of the family. Hello Kenya!
Just be sure not to rush it and think about the most suitable option.
A Place to Sleep
Now that you have most of the details sorted out, there is one more vital thing to take care of - the accommodation.
It's time to book some flights, and it's time to book some rooms. The most important thing to remember here is that this is a family reunion; ergo, the family should be relatively close together. To achieve said goal, you need to book well in advance.
Furthermore, even if you find enough space for all of you, read up on the details. If half the family insists on bringing their furry friends with them, a place that is not pet-friendly, however budget-friendly it might be, is a no-go.
Once the Planning has Been Done, Make a Plan!
You will need an itinerary. Don't do it yourself! Make sure you involve a few family members.
Each day could be delegated to a different family member. Of course, you are not all bound at the waist, and you will not spend the whole day together, but there should be at least one group activity each day, as that is the point of a family reunion. There are plenty of tips on making the perfect travel itinerary, so be sure to check them out!
Communication Lines Should be Kept Open
This one may seem simple enough, but people forget about it. Everything may seem perfect in your head, but you need to make sure that everybody else is aware of these perfect plans too! Keep everybody informed about all and any changes and this way you will avoid unexpected problems.
Prepare for a Headache or Two
It is unavoidable; once you meet up, there will be occasional arguments and misunderstandings. Still, it should be in everybody's interest to keep the peace and make the most of the trip. If everybody puts aside their petty squabbles and minor differences, it can be a fantastic family reunion worth remembering, and all that planning will pay off.
After seven tips for planning a family reunion trip, it would be remiss not to discuss some packing tips too. Firstly, pack smart. You don't need half of your wardrobe and five pairs of shoes. What you do need are toiletries, and they are the trickiest to pack, especially for a family that will probably be carrying quite a few.
You need to know what you need to take and what to leave behind, and once you make the final list, how to keep them from spilling and making a mess in your bag.
The Perfect Trip
With these seven tips for planning a family reunion trip, there is no reason the whole event cannot be a magical affair. One that will be cherished and fondly remembered by all who participated.
Yes, it does take a long time to plan, but if you get more people involved, if you enjoy the process rather than stress over it, then this will be a journey that you will enjoy, from start to finish!
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