Planning a Destination Family Reunion 1

What better way to gather loved ones than at a family reunion? Planning a family reunion can become complicated, especially a reunion involving lots of people. Experienced reunion planners recommend that families begin planning for a reunion a year or so in advance.

When planning a reunion that involves traveling long distances, or an adventure like a cruise or a trip out of the country, many family members may need time to save money and make special arrangements for work, passports or pet care.  Ask for suggestions and select a date that works for everyone. Once a date is determined, many family members may seek to secure tickets or plan other activities before or after the reunion. Changing the date, even once, will affect everyone and may force some to cancel.

Avoid the obvious busy times of the year; try not to schedule your family reunion during prom and graduation season. Major holiday seasons, such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, may be a difficult time for reunions, but still often popular because vacation time and school breaks allow for the time away.


Family reunions are unique in that they may include people with different interests.  Choosing the best place and type of accommodations is extremely important.  Families may span four generations and it is important to consider ages and physical limitations when planning activities. Grandparents may not want to participate in activities like scuba diving or water-skiing. Likewise, children may not enjoy ballroom dancing or a mahjong tournament.

Consider holding the family reunion on a family-friendly cruise ship or at an all-inclusive resort. Each offer entertainment options for every generation that takes much of the stress out of planning activities around varying interests. There are usually many options for room types, including rooms for two or family suites with several bedrooms and gathering space. Both cruise ships and all-inclusive resorts share approximate costs upfront with fewer surprises later.

Villas are also a popular choice for multi-generational families.  Located all over the world, many reunion groups choose this option.  Arrangements can be made for dining in the villa with private chefs, optional tours and transportation, or just relaxing at the villa’s pool or game room.


Communicating plans early for a family reunion allows for interest and excitement to grow.  Some folks create a newsletter to keep everyone up-to-date, or you may choose an option that allows more interaction like a Family Reunion website or Facebook page. Solicit ideas from everyone, and allow family members the opportunity to submit ideas for planned activities, venues and menu options. Whether your family is large or small, consider getting help from the start by calling in an expert travel professional to take care of details ranging from recommending appropriate destinations, choosing the right venue to accommodate everyone’s wish list, arranging for airline tickets, and making hotel or car reservations. For larger groups, special amenities and even free guests may be an option. A travel advisor can even be a friendly and patient third-party to gently prod family members who may not be quick to decide.

About the Author: Sue Shimkus, President of Lake Zurich Travel & Cruise, provides custom travel itineraries for the discerning traveler. To learn more, visit or call 847.438.5551.