BUDGET TRAVEL ADVICE
How to Plan a Family Reunion
From choosing the perfect destination to getting your clan organized, Budget Travel offers the ultimate guide to a freakout-free family fest!
Cruise. "Think of a cruise as a floating all-inclusive resort," says Plowright, "with the same potential to be together or easily break off for separate activities." A cruise might just be the easiest reunion from a planner's point of view, with ample opportunities for age-appropriate activities, easy seating for meals, and special events such as private cocktail parties, photo sessions, and a fairly standard discount of one free passenger for every eight cabins. But because most cruises are not strictly all-inclusive, do keep an eye on extra costs—that glass of wine you raise to toast your grandparents may set you back $10.
DON'T FORGET THE SWAG!
Order customized souvenirs. Sending everyone back home with a family reunion T-shirt—or tote bag, baseball cap, or custom-made craft—can help keep the event alive in everyone's memory for a long time.
Display a family tree. No, you don't have to know exactly when your great-grandmother left Palermo, or what her father's name was, to cobble together a nice family tree to answer inevitable questions, like "Who is that dude and am I really related to him?"
Bring photo albums. Sure, you can—and should—trot out those dusty "analog" albums that everyone loves. But don't forget to collect and organize family photos digitally for future reference.
Take a group photo. Book a professional photo session through your hotel, resort, or cruise line. Pricey? It can be—but it's worth the quality of the photography, shot composition, and professional printing.
Make a music video. You may have to leave the tech to the teens, but it's way easier than you think to shoot and edit your own family's take on, say, "Call Me Maybe," or "Good Time." Trust us, the laughter will linger long after you've packed your bags and headed home.
Ask the kids to make name tags or dinner-table place cards. Pack craft paper and crayons and make the little ones feel like big shots by having them create name tags or place cards for themselves and the grownups. It's a colorful way to decorate your dinner table, and the sentimental value of those mini-masterpieces will only go up as the years go by.