Whether you see your extended family regularly at Sunday dinners or only gather during holidays, breaking free from the status quo rejuvenates your group and creates new chances to bond and create lifelong memories. Plan that family reunion or vacation you’ve been putting off and join together for a trip of a lifetime.
Tips for Planning a Family Reunion or Vacation
Family reunions should be a fun and memorable experience but can be stressful without the right plan in place. Keep things simple and create a structure for your reunion or family vacation while leaving plenty of room for flexibility. Here are some multigenerational travel tips to turn your trip into a success:
Skip the All Inclusive Resorts
It’s true all-inclusive resorts offer a tantalizing done-for-you trip where everything seems to be taken care of. But in reality, all-inclusive vacations don’t always offer much opportunity for spontaneity or an incentive to get off the resort and explore. Instead, a cruise mixed with plenty of excursions and shore trips offer the best of both worlds. You get the all-inclusive amenities you’re looking for from meals to kids clubs with the flexibility to adventure off the ship as a family.
Plan Something Every Day
Leaving your family reunion or vacation up to chance and just going with the flow may sound relaxing, but doesn’t leave much opportunity for those epic adventures that help foster family bonding time. Plan something every day that suits the interest of your group with some flexibility for family members to choose some downtime too.
Keep it Small
The point of your family reunion is to create an opportunity for togetherness. Skip the big, bustling bus tours and instead opt for small tours for a day of fun. For example, Grand Cayman Stingray City offers a cozy cruiser cabin instead of an expansive barge, which most tours use. Ask for a tour that leaves later than the big tour barges and skip the crowds and enjoy family time together on your cruiser cabin.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Nothing bonds a family together like getting out of your comfort zone and trying something new together. Try scuba diving with the sharks in the Bahamas on your next adventurous family reunion with a tour that handles all of the details from gear to safety. If scuba diving and sharks stretch your comfort zone a little too far, try a private sailboat ride and go snorkeling in calm waters near Puerto Vallarta.
Pick a Meeting Spot
A central meeting spot for your family is essential whether you’re trying to meet up with stragglers, or are worried about getting separated. Pick a meeting spot and make sure everyone knows what to expect. Let them know where to meet, the approximate time it will take for everyone to regroup, and what to do in an emergency. Smaller kids who get separated should be reminded of the grown-ups first and last names, memorize at least one mobile number and know to approach a gift shop worker or police officer if they get lost.
Factor in Downtime
It’s tempting to want to pack activities in all day to really make the most of your family reunion. But a successful reunion includes time to just hang-out and relax, and a little downtime from the group can ease tensions. Factor in downtime whether you’re choosing a tour that includes a leisurely lunch break, or time to just wander and get some quiet time. And remember grandparents will get bonus points for offering to watch the grandkids so Mom and Dad can have their own downtime or chance to reconnect on a date.
Family Reunion Activities
Now that you have some tips to plan and execute the perfect family reunion, start brainstorming activities the whole family will enjoy. The trick is to make it fun and memorable and just far enough outside your comfort zone for exhilarating adventures that tap into all age groups, while still being relaxing and intimate. Here are some ideas to kick-off your family reunion bucket list:
Cruise through the Caribbean
A family cruise through the Caribbean offers something for everyone from water sports to sailboat rides to history lessons. Choose a cruise that stops through several islands to see a wide range of diversity. Jamaica is fantastic for horseback riding and tubing while Puerto Rico offers plenty of historical attractions and a totally unique bioluminescent bay. Meanwhile, Grand Cayman offers world-class diving and a chance for the whole family to snorkel in Stingray City where friendly creatures come so close you can touch them.
Explore Hawaii’s Waterfalls
Hear the roar of Hawaii’s cascading waterfalls and soak up its vibrant flora and fauna with a UTV tour. Although Hawaii’s waterfalls can also be explore by helicopter or hike, a UTV tour complete with an intimate picnic gives everyone in your family a chance to explore together, chat, and really take your time navigating Hawaii’s lush landscape. Lively tour guides show you the best spots for amazing photos, a private waterfall for an exclusive picnic lunch, and plenty of chances to see infamous movie locations, wildlife, and historical sights.
Swim with the Dolphins in Mexico
Dolphin encounters are a bucket list experience for all ages where everyone from grandparents to kids can get in on the fun. Swimming with dolphins is popular in areas from the Caribbean to Mexico. In Riviera Maya, families can interact with dolphins, swim, and play and even get a big kiss from these friendly creatures. Their Swim Adventure even offers the opportunity to snorkel with a dolphin and experience their world under water.
Take a Short Alaskan Train Ride
Alaska is a haven for wilderness lovers and can be soaked up on a train ride across its scenic railway. Take a tour on a 28-mile Alaska journey between Skagway, Alaska and Fraser, British Columbia. Visitors trek through the White Pass for breathtaking panoramic views of mountains, glaciers, gorges, waterfalls, and trestles while getting a history lesson. A historic narration guides visitors through what they’re seeing. Kids in your group will love the tales of the Gold Rush era and folklore tales.
Remember that family travel is about a shared adventure. In fact, one of our favorite quotes about family travel by Helen Keller is, “Life is either a great adventure or nothing.” Where will your great adventure take you as a family? We would love to hear about your experiences with your family reunion or vacation!
This article was originally published on ShoreTrips.