I’m not really sure when it happened but sometime in the last 5 years when people have asked me about my family, I’ve stopped telling about my siblings and started telling about my kids. Family reunions of the past were tales of aunts and cousins but somehow, all of the sudden, I’m the aunt and my kids are the cousins. Now I’m not sure what your family is like but mine has recently grown into something quite large. So, trying to fit us all under Mom and Dad’s roof is a lot harder than it used to be. Because of the cramped quarters we’ve had to up size a little bit when family reunion time comes a calling. We’ve taken our show on the road twice now for these family get togethers with the help of Family Reunion Cabins. Now, that’s not their official name or anything; it’s just what I call them.
There are a few dozen home rental websites out there where people are looking to rent you their abnormally large barracks. Vrbo.com and airbnb are probably the best ones that we’ve found (at least for The United Stated and Europe) but with a little research you can find plenty of other options as well. Even if you don’t need a large reunion space these sites are a great way to find a non-hotel option for any travel. We have saved a lot of money by booking someone else’s home instead of renting a hotel. As far as reunions go, we have learned is that it really doesn’t matter where you are as long as you are all together. Disneyland as a family would be great but you’ll get time together for a lot less money in the Black Hills of South Dakota.
Reunions come with a lot of planning but there are a few things that can make it a lot simpler. Once you have the accommodations all squared away there are plenty of other things to tackle. I.E. food, games, entertainment, etc. The best way to approach the workload is to divide and conquer. Last year we got together in Arkansas with my in-laws. Mom-in-law started a Google Doc to help organize the weeks activities. Then she had us all sign up for times to participate. Every family was in charge of providing meals: a breakfast, a lunch, and a dinner (sometimes more than once). This meant providing all the ingredients for the meal, cooking the meal and being responsible for the clean up. By chopping it up this way, the cost is split as well as the effort. You’ll want to print out a calendar and put it up in the kitchen so that people can remember what meals they are responsible for.
Also, every family was in charge of a day time or evening activity. In our family reunions in the past these activities ranged from jet ski’s on the lake to $10 minute to win it games in the basement. We took a trip to the fish hatchery, had a talent show, organized a murder mystery dinner, did arts and crafts with the kids, took family pictures, and went for a hike through the forest. It’s good for the kids to have some organized activities to keep them entertained. It’s also fun just to have some down time where they can play and build friendships with each other.
It’s good to be together and it’s nice not to have to plan the whole thing by yourself. Depending on your desired vacation spot, rental properties can fill up fast so call up your family and start planning for next summer’s gathering.