Guest Post: Lindsay Denton
Thanks to the internet and social media, it has never been easier to stay in touch with our loved ones from afar. But does it seem like it’s been ages since you’ve gotten together with your family?
According to various surveys, roughly 90 percent of U.S. citizens reported undergoing a negative change in their lives due to the pandemic. It’s, of course, an unsurprising statistic. Nevertheless, that same study also showed that the number one reason behind these feelings was missing their nearest and dearest and worrying they might lose touch with them.
This might be the perfect explanation for the precipitous uptick in family reunions recently. More specifically, destination family reunions. So, if it’s time to bring the clan back together again, Allen Batista Travel shares seven tips for planning a destination family reunion.
Create a Planning Committee
Whether you’re meeting up in a far-away location or hosting your family reunion one state over, planning a multigenerational group trip will take a lot of work. Being the chairperson, you’ll be overseeing the event, facilitating communication between committees, coordinating your volunteers – as well as playing peacemaker from time to time.
That’s a lot of work for one person. So, first things first, you need to start a planning committee by choosing one member of each family. This way, you won’t be struggling to hammer out everybody’s schedules alone.
Once you do this, you need to find an effective way to communicate. One option is creating a Facebook group where you’d add appointed committee members. This way, you can quickly settle on details, dole out tasks and ask questions. Other options are conference calls via Skype or starting a Google Hangout.
Send Out a Questionnaire
Step two in pulling off a superb destination family reunion? Getting everyone on board, of course. Yes, it’s time for that initial discussion and sharing of information with the rest of the family. It’s essential to keep everyone in the loop and up-to-date on the decisions you make, timelines you plan, payment due dates you set, et cetera. You all need to agree on the time, location and budget. Easier said than done, right?
Resorts and flights fill up fast. So, begin at least 12 months ahead by brainstorming and selecting three possible locations and dates with your planning committee. Then, send questionnaires to all family members. This is the best tool to get input on the when and the where, as well as what their wants or needs may be. Of course, there’s no way you can meet everyone’s needs, but you might be able to find out what works for most relatives, especially if you’re traveling with kids, tweens, teens, or seniors.
Recruit and Delegate Tasks
At this stage of planning a destination family reunion, the important thing is to enlist as many family members as possible and create teams. Each family unit should be doled out their task or list of tasks. For instance, one unit can look for cheap flights and make travel arrangements.
Another group can be on accommodation duty, trying to snag the best deal possible. And, if you’re renting storage to keep all of your belongings safe while traveling, the third group can look for an ideal storage option to meet your demands as a family.
The thing is, you have many choices when it comes to storage: units differ in size, accessibility, amenities, etc., so they’ll need to do the research and find the right one. You can also appoint roles like entertainment director, who will organize activities for various ages.
Decide Upfront on the Finances
When planning a family reunion trip, you need to keep in mind that families in your group operate on different budgets. And since you’ll have to accommodate different financial situations, it’s best to start working out the budget at least a year ahead. That’s where the whole thing starts to get a little touchy, especially if some of the family groups are unfamiliar with traveling. Devising a clear budget is crucial to making sure everyone’s included.
Some of the items you’ll need to discuss during your meetings are:
Consider Everyone’s Capabilities
Another thing you must take into account when planning a destination family reunion, besides different financial situations, is different ages and abilities. You may be all about hiking through slot canyons, but for an infant-toting mom, this might not sound like such a great idea.
Wherever you decide to go, multigenerational trips must entail a broad range of activities that appeal to everyone from kids, adults, and seniors to families as a whole. The primary goal is for everyone to enjoy it and have fun. So, remember to plan a lot of options. Of course, challenges are bound to arise, but it’s always best to tackle them head-on.
…and preferred downtime
Also, you don’t need to spend 24 hours together and do everything as a group. Some people in the group might prefer hang-gliding over a day by the pool. That’s fine; let everyone have their own time for what they enjoy doing. Family reunions don’t have to be all-hands-on-deck activities.
Keep The Peace
All the details regarding the when, where, and what don’t mean a thing if you’re all fighting the whole trip. So, you all must make every effort to maintain a peaceful environment. Steer away from doing things like bringing some last-minute guests that haven’t been planned for onboard.
Make sure everyone knows about the details during the planning process. Be upfront about some other details such as pricing and budgeting. But, whatever you do, always try to put petty feuds and sibling rivalries aside. The point of your reunion is to spend time with the people you love and return home feeling like you’re a bit closer to your family. That is what makes a family reunion a success.
The whole point of planning a destination family reunion is to bring you closer to each other.
Hire a ProfessionalIf your budget allows it, turning to a travel agent to make all arrangements is always a good plan of action – especially if you’re a first-timer. They’ll listen to the brief, pose all the right questions to learn what would work for the wider group, and then do all the heavy lifting for you.
This way, they’ll save you time and energy and allow you to make the most out of your travels. In other words, they’ll make planning a destination family reunion dreamily easy.