Not only does everyone have to coordinate their arrival times, someone has to do the pickups/drop-offs to airports, organize rooming lists etc.
In order to keep everyone organized and happy, a plan should be in place to make things easier on your family reunion attendees.
Here are some tips that will come in handy when you are making travel plans for your family reunion.
Booking Group Hotels/Airfares
Take advantage of group rates for hotels
It goes without saying that if you are looking to book over ten hotel rooms for your family reunion, then you should get group rates for hotels. You no longer have to call hotels individually to get rates as you can now get them online. An easy way to do so is to fill out this group hotel rates form and hotels in your desired city and budget e-mail you their rates for free.
When selecting hotels for your family reunion, be partial towards a hotel that offers a free breakfast and has a fridge and microwave in the room. The breakfast will save you at least $10 per person per day and the fridge provides a great way to save leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch. If you want more advice on the type of hotel you should select for a family reunion, read why 2 And 3 star hotels are best for a family reunion.
It goes without saying, but make sure you get connecting rooms for larger families.
Don’t stay at a hotel. Instead rent a large house or several houses that can accommodate your entire family. The cost of these houses will be much cheaper than hotel rooms, and you will be able to cook all your meals. VRBO.com and Homeaway.com are two websites that offer this.
Take advantage of group airfare. Every airline offers these including Southwest and American Airlines. Airfare will be significantly discounted for a group if the travel dates, and departure city are the same.
Take advantage of early family boarding rules. Get to the airport well ahead of time.
Consider a red-eye flight with kids. Everyone sleeps during the flight and by time they walk up, you’re there. These flights are generally not as busy as early morning flights so in many cases, your kids will be able to lie down across multiple seats.
Things To Bring
Bring along travel sized detergent to clean clothes in the hotel sink. Also, don’t forget to pack any prescription drugs along with things you may need for your kids (Neosporin, children’s Tylenol).
Don’t forget any medications that the kids might need. Neosporin, children’s Tylenol, etc. are all bare necessities during any kind of travel
Bring mini board games that you can play in the car or plane to pass the time. You could also bring a Nintendo DS or a Sony PSP.
If you are going to go to a city unknown to you, buy the entertainment book ahead of time. The book itself is less than $40 dollars but you can recover that in no time. One book will provide coupons for multiple families.
At The Family Reunion
Family Style Dinners
Save yourself some money by buying dinner family style. Instead of ordering Chinese for each individual, order up a bunch of large sized dishes and have everyone eat as a family. It’s cheaper and get people talking. If you are hosting the family reunion at the hotel, then you can probably use the hospitality suite as an informal dinner area.
If your hotel does not offer a shuttle, then rent a van to transport to/from airport and activities. Doing this will save your family members the hassle of arranging their own transportation (Cab) and will end up being a lot cheaper than everyone renting theor own cars. Book the van well ahead of the family reunion to avoid paying too much at the end.
Organize Rooming Lists At Hotel And Pre-Assign Rooms To Families
Arrive at the hotel a day ahead of time and speak to the hotel sales representative about your block of hotel rooms (How to block hotel rooms for a family reunion). Make sure that the rooms are going to be near each other, and on the same floor. Also, have the hotel pre-assign the rooms according to where you think each family should be. Make sure larger families have connecting rooms to accommodate for small kids.
Make sure you buy snacks and munchies for the hospitality suite ahead of time. If you are going to arrive a day early, a trip to Sam’s club or BJ’s will also make things easier on your family. You can stock up on soda, chips and any other snacks that the kids will end up paying a lot more for at the hotel vending machines.
Also, if your hotel does not offer a free breakfast, get cereal, milk and other breakfast items for the entire family. Doing so will save everyone money (Breakfast is usually $10 per person if you eat out) and the hassle of going out every morning. You can keep the breakfast items in the hospitality suite. Just make sure to ask the hotel for a mini fridge for the milk.
About a month before the family reunion, send out an e-mail asking every family attending the reunion to bring one board game.
The tips above will keep make things easier on your family reunion primarily by keeping everyone organized and ahead of any issues that will arise.
What should you do next?
Since you’re planning a family reunion, take a look at our family reunion planning guide.