My years in public relations taught me a lot about setting
up successful events – and that’s what you family
reunion can be. Here are some tips.

1. You take the lead.

Maybe your family’s never had a family reunion. Probably
they’d all like it, but someone has to get the ball rolling. It can be you!

2. Talk it up!

Get everyone used to the idea. Start talking -- "Wouldn't it be fun if?" and "Where could we all meet that would be fun?" You can listen to obstacles and objections and forge ahead with your plans. For instance, if Mary wants to be sure the children have entertain, start factoring these things in.

Remain positive you can pull this off and don't get discouraged. There always has to be a First Time, and a Prime Mover.

3. The date is the most important thing.

Choose a time when the kids are on vacation from school and adults are likely to have time off. Weekends such as July 4th, Memorial Day and Labor Day are good candidates.

4. Budget is the most important thing.

A cruise is a no-brainer, but not if some of the family
members can’t afford it. (But check 'em out - with the comprehensive price for transportation, room, board and entertainment, you can get some great deals.)

Do your research on the Internet or work with a Travel Agent or Vacation Coach. For instance, Grand Lake Lodge ( www.grandlakelodge.com ) in Colorado offers friendly prices, Rocky Mountain National Park at the front door, pool. Gourmet restaurant on-site, but Dairy Queen down the road, separate cabins (no phone, no t.v. … interesting) and also lodges for families. It has a central lounge area with rocking chairs around a fireplace inside for congregating, and the pool outside.

5. No, accommodating all age groups is the most important thing.

A family reunion is by definition a multigenerational and
will include many age groups. Find the family-type resort
that accommodates to all. Many will offer a day camp
experience for the kids, and even babysitters at night.
Dude ranches can be a good choice with swimming,
horseback riding, family-style dining, campfires, cookouts,
hayrides and other activities, and small towns nearby for
antique shopping, museums and enjoying nature.

6. Find ways to make meals affordable.

Many families choose to gather at the shore where
condominiums have kitchens and cooking facilities. If
you’re driving there, buy your groceries before you leave
your hometown, because prices go up in resort areas. Plan
the meals together, so you can all eat together
economically, and everyone doesn’t have to cook each
meal each time.

7. Take advantage of the “kids eat free” and “kids stay free” options at many hotels, restaurants and resorts.
IHOP and Dennys both offer kids eat free nights, and Luby’s cafeterias here in Texas.

8. Choose a location that has something for everyone.

I remember planning a family vacation as a single parent
with boys aged 8 and 18. Now there’s a challenge. I
wanted a hot tub and a first-class resort with gourmet
dining. My sons wanted to be able to go fishing. We all
liked tennis and snorkeling and lots to do and weren’t
interested in shopping (“You can shop at home,” I always
say. We found Cheeca Lodge ( http://cheeca.rockresorts.com ) in the Florida Keys – hot tub, tennis courts, excellent food, swimming pool, fantastic fishing and a unique environmental camp for kids. We wanted “barefoot elegance,” and that’s what they offer.

Here are family-friendly resorts worldwide: http://travelwithkids.about.com/library/toppick/
aatpresorts.htm .

10. Don’t fuss and don’t overplan.

You might plan a few things, but leave lots of space for
everyone to do their own thing, announcing get-together
times and places but leaving a lot unstructured.

But do plan ahead so you can get some fun things like a Foster Family Reunion 2003 for everyone who attends.

Remember the purpose is to get together and to have fun, so make sure there's plenty of both!