Some families hold their reunion in the same treasured spot each year. Others like to travel to different places. Whether your family gathers for a barbecue at a park or flies to an all-inclusive Caribbean resort, special memories will be created and shared.
“Families have done the same thing year after year, and they just want to do something more exciting,” says Nicole Wineland-Thomson, general manager of Thomson Family Adventures in Watertown, Massachusetts, which specializes in family reunions. She has seen more families wanting to travel farther afield or try new activities.
Experts and family planners offer suggestions on how to plan an event that meets your needs and fits your budget.
Start planning and making arrangements six months to a year ahead to negotiate better prices for lodging, venues and activities and secure necessary reservations. That’s especially important now with travel up and prices on hotels and airfare rising.
The designated reunion committee or lead planner should send a poll to determine what family members want to do, where they want to go and how much they’re willing to spend. It helps to narrow the choices and send a handful of options to everyone so it’s not overwhelming. Keep family members up to date with plans and dates via email, phone, Zoom or the family Facebook page or website.
Choose a destination
Since many families drive to a reunion, ease of travel and convenience are key factors. Look for a location central to where most relatives live, says Shawn Waller of Waller Travel Group in Waldorf, Maryland. If family members live in Maryland and Florida, then North Carolina might be a good location, he says.
Consider the various interests of multigenerational family members. “Finding a destination that offers a variety of activities is the key,” Wineland-Thomson says. “You’ll have people who are more interested in being active, while other people are more interested in culture and food.”
Other popular location criteria include being near: a big city for entertainment options, especially for younger relatives; a park for outdoor activities; a golf course; or a theme park, like Florida’s Disney World.