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How to Plan a Celebration Vacation

Whether it's an anniversary, and you want to get away with someone special, or a big reunion, what better way for your friends and family to enjoy some quality time together than to plan a trip?

Many choose beach and city locations. Las Vegas is a popular choice, and there are packages to suit any budget. Just don't blow the budget! If you're going to gamble, do some research first.

If you're looking for romance, check out our 11 great U.S. destinations for a second honeymoon. AARP research finds that most couples wait for a big anniversary — but on the other hand, there's no time like the present for a celebration.

Julie Beer, a California-based travel writer, says, "We planned a very important vacation to Ireland to celebrate my dad's life." It was a trip the family had always wanted to take "because of my mother's heritage," Beer says, but it hadn't happened. When Beer's father died last year, the rest of the family decided to go in his honor. "We talked about him constantly — and laughed about how he probably wouldn't have liked all the walking. But we were all together, and he would have loved that," she says. "And planning and looking forward to the trip was a light at the end of the tunnel during a dark time, and also a new beginning for my mom."

Samantha Brown, AARP's travel ambassador, has some pointers on traveling for a family reunion. "Get the get-together word out," she says, as soon as you can. Then start planning. There are lots of options, whether you want to gather in a hotel, a beach house, at a resort or on a cruise ship.

For big gatherings, Pike advises to start planning about six months in advance. "Typically, the whole family will want to partake in the celebration of an important milestone, and we're seeing an increase in multigenerational travel. With families living in different cities, states and countries, it's wise to get organized."

Inspired yet? Check out the Destination Guides at

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