When you hear the words “Family Reunion” you either feel excitement and the warm fuzzies about hanging out with cousins and gram and the whole gang, or else anxiety descends on you at the thought of all the problems, logistics and issues that will arise up when you’re trying to coordinate fun and activities across locations, generations and schedules.
Fear not! It doesn’t have to be that stressful. Here are a few tips to streamline the whole process so you can relax and enjoy the fam!
Make “Delegate” the Word of the Day
Before you get too far down the planning path, get the most effective family members to buy-in and make them part of the planning committee. And then delegate tasks to each member of your team. There’s literally no upside to taking everything on yourself – when there are issues that come up – and there will be issues, you’ll be glad that you have a team to absorb those problems and troubleshoot. Everyone has busy lives, so spreading the workload is one way to keep your sanity and encourage teambuilding/bonding.
Plan Early for Maximum Turnout
It’s important to give people enough time to budget and schedule a family reunion into their lives. This can be the difference between a successful event with many attendees, and an event that is not well-attended. If you’re planning a casual long weekend at a lake where most attendees can drive in or take an inexpensive flight, a few months may be all the advance notice needed. If you are booking a villa in the south of France or a cruise (for example), it’s probably best to allow a year or even 18 months advance notice.
Location, Location, Location
This leads to the next item. Where are you planning to have your reunion? One trendy idea these days is to rent a few homes around a lake or on a beach. A more expensive, but a crowd-pleasing “no muss, no fuss” option is to do a cruise (Disney does great cross-generational cruises with activities for every age and taste). And when budgets and work schedules are a concern, we recommend choosing a location that has easy major airport-access for most of your guests so that getting there is convenient and cost-effective.
Make Reservations Early
Coordinating flights for groups can be the most challenging part of the planning process, and for this reason we recommend booking the accommodation early and then letting people book on their own. If you know this group would prefer a little assistance with their reservations – call the experts! We have team members who can help you book multiple seats on one flight or can offer advice for families all traveling from the far corners of the country.
Consider the Swag
There are many different ways to commemorate your reunion – one of the favorites and most simple is a t-shirt, family photo or video that each attendee gets. You can make this an inexpensive proposition by not going the professional route (most every family has an amateur photographer/videographer who’ll probably be documenting everything all weekend anyway. Or you can go the professional route – and that can get expensive quickly. Knowing guest budgets can go a long way to making sure family not pushed beyond their personal comfort zones in the cash department.
Know Your Audience
Sometimes the family members with deeper pockets offer to underwrite some of the more expensive details because they have the resources to do so. If this is the case for your family, just make sure expectations are managed. Knowing that a family member can pay for the videographer or a private chef doesn’t mean you have carte blanche to spend tens of thousands of dollars. One good rule of thumb is to get a few estimates at various price points and give the person footing the bill the option to choose. Also, don’t go overboard in this regard. Family members on a tight budget might not want the feeling that they are being carried on this trip, or they might feel uncomfortable with too much extravagance. This is why we prefer a comfortable, cozy vibe with a game room or large common areas for home rentals rather than palatial estates. Anyway, you don’t want people so far from one another there’s no need to interact!
Family reunions are the best! We hope we’ve given you some helpful hints so you can plan your own. Happy travels!