New Ideas for Family Reunions

Travels with Terri
a monthly column by Terri O'Connell

Reunions. Many families plan a vacation around their family reunion. Some families have them yearly while others have them sporadically. No matter how often your family plans a reunion, all reunion planners want the same thing - for their family to have a phenomenal time. As a reunion planner, what do you do to make sure everyone has a good time? Games for the kids or races for the families? Even with the best intentions, these reunions can become mundane. Going to the same place for each reunion, having the same activities  tends to become boring.

So, what can you as a reunion planner do to change things up? That's a great question! Have you ever thought about visiting some place new? Some families change the location with each reunion. Yes, it takes a bit more planning, but it can be done.


Bookings for all income levels

Land and cruise destinations alike can offer great destinations for your next family reunion. Working with a travel agent allows you to get the assistance needed for everyone to have a good time; yes, even you, because you just put the planning into someone's hands. If you give the travel agent enough information, they can help you find a destination that should fit everyone's budget. For example, on a cruise their are many different types of staterooms that can be booked, from an inside cabin to a balcony. For the family member that has to have top of the line, they can book a suite.


Activities for all

Are you wondering what the family can do? There are so many different activities on a cruise that you will not have to worry about it. Everyone can enjoy themselves everyday and do what they like. Most cruise lines will have clubs for the kids, so the parents can still enjoy adult activities.

Also, the cruise lines have rooms that you will be able to utilize while at sea. Just make sure that is planned out when the travel agent books the group space.



Food. Let's face it. We live in a society that loves food! Cruise ships offer many different choices that will please the pickiest of travelers. Why should you do the worrying about pleasing your uncle who is the pickiest of eaters? Let the travel agent handle that with the cruise line.



Again, there are so many destinations to choose from. Destinations that can be affordable for the family on a tight income. You can choose a short three-day cruise or go for a full week. If you decide on the three-day cruise but want to make your vacation last longer then the rest of the family, talk with the travel agent about a post-cruise stay.


What to do with your spare time?

Since you freed up all the time you would have spent planning the reunion, what are you going to do with your time? That is a great question!

It is time to print out the family group sheets to bring with you. Have each family go through them and make the changes that are necessary. With all your good intentions, babies have been born, couples have been married, and loved ones have passed on. It’s a part of life and no matter what are intentions are when these things are happening, we do not always get to update the family files. Here are some other ideas:

  1. Make sure your camera is charged and be prepared to take pictures
  2. Create a family keepsake item for each family
  3. Create a video montage of your ancestors to share at the reunion
  4. Prepare questions to interview the eldest members of the family. Be ready to video and audio tape. They will be a great keepsake!


As you can see, there are many things you can do for a family reunion with doing the actual reunion planning. It's time to sit back, talk, and enjoy your family. That is the reason you started researching, right? To know more about your family, don’t forget the family that is here giving you details.


Terri O'Connell is the author of Travels with Terri, a monthly column in The In-Depth Genealogist about family history travel. She can be found at Wanderlust and a Camera.


© Terri O'Connell 2012
This article originally appeared in the May issue of The In-Depth Genealogist. Receive The In-Depth Genealogist free by subscribing HERE.