Family reunions can be some of the best vacations you take. Reconnecting with the people who really matter in life, no matter how far away you live, can be the breath of fresh air you didn’t know you needed. It can help you recenter yourself and get some much-needed perspective after being in the trenches of the day-to-day for a little too long. But planning a trip at all is a lot of work — much more so when you’re planning for a large group. To make the process a little bit easier, we’re offering up three of our best tips.
1. Find a Getaway That Has Something for Everyone
Planning a trip that accommodates everyone in the family, from your 85-year-old grandma to your wild and crazy nephews and even baby cousins can be a big task. Whether you’ve got family members who like to get rowdy or who are looking to enjoy some serene time away from the business of everyday life (or, more likely, you’re looking to appease a mix of both), cruises provide top-notch entertainment for everyone.
For those who are interested in a beautiful domestic destination, consider an Alaska cruise vacation. From the late-night bar-goers to the early-morning whale watchers, an Alaskan cruise offers a wide variety of organized onboard events and activities that are designed with versatility in mind. Even the excursions are tailored to different groups, so everyone can do and see the things they want while still spending time with the family.
2. Don’t Forget to Delegate
Family reunions are about coming together as a family, and there’s nothing more familial than being there for each other. Yes, things tend to go more smoothly when there’s one person in charge of coordinating things, but “coordinator” means connecting the dots. It does not mean doing everything yourself. Chances are you were elected chairman because you’re one of the more organized personalities in the family, so put those organizational skills to use by organizing who will be in charge of what.
Maintaining an email string with the key decision-makers of each household CC’ed on it can help make sure everyone is on the same page while keeping a spreadsheet that every family has access to (ideally one that’s linked in that handy dandy email string of yours) can make sure everyone knows what they’re responsible for. Bringing food for individual meals, planning family activities, and keeping track of who’s paying for what will ensure there are no hard feelings about feeling unevenly tasked with the work that goes into having a good time. The last thing anyone needs is extra family drama.
3. Start Now
Planning a family reunion is no joke. From finding dates that work for everyone to finding accommodations that fit the whole group, everything about coordinating a large family vacation is easier when done in advance — way in advance. Yes, the farther out you schedule an event, the more likely something will come up that could interfere with your plans, but having it on the calendar will also give you the benefit of being able to plan around it!
If you’ve got a big crowd convening in one small town, the extra time will also give vendors the flexibility to accommodate you. From restaurants and hotels to cruises, booking in advance means guaranteeing you get what you want. Not to mention that with such a big group, you might have the opportunity to negotiate prices. If you can guarantee a small business a big group of customers in the future (which is always an unknown for smaller businesses), they may be willing to give you a deal. Regardless, you’ll save yourself no small number of headaches by getting your (and everyone else’s) ducks in a row early on.
Putting it All Together
Family vacations can be stressful, but by making sure everyone’s interests are met, sharing the workload, and getting it organized early, you’ll eliminate the biggest and most common family reunion stressors altogether so you can enjoy your vacation, too.
Photo by Roberto Nickson.