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Avoid a Family Reunion Fiasco with These Helpful Hints

A family reunion is a perfect way to gather extended realatives together and celebrate your family's history, new additions, and your tribe's milestones. Whether you choose the mountains, the beach, or a theme park, you are sure to make memories that last a lifetime. There are a lot of little pieces involved in making a family reunion run smoothly, so check out these helpful hints to ensure your gathering is a success. 

Plan the Date Far in Advance — It may be harder than you think to find a date that works for the whole family, so start planning early. It's best to start planning 6 months to a year in advance when everyone's calendars are still open and flights and lodging are still available. Once you have chosen a date, try to stick with it, even though you may not be able to accommodate every family member. 

Make a Plan  Once you have decided on a date, send a questionnaire to family members asking for input on destination locations, activities, and preferred housing. Then come up with a loose itinerary of activities for the duration of the reunion. This way, you will know what activities need to be coordinated, and you can come up with a checklist to guide your planning. 

Delegate — Don't try to do it all yourself. Recruit various family members to help you take charge of different parts of the event. As the reunion chairperson, you can oversee the gathering and surround yourself with capable committee members who can handle the tasks you assign them. Some reunion jobs to get you started are finance director, lodging liaison, food director, correspondence officer, entertainment director, reservations officer, mementos organizer, and welcome committee. 

Create a Command Center — Keep your paperwork organized. Whether you choose a simple folder or a notebook, make sure to keep copies of pertinent information cataloged so you can find it when you need it. Hang onto food vendor contracts, registration details, and lodging information so they are handy when you need to refer to them. 

Build a Budget and Stick to It — Cost can be one of the biggest barriers to attendance. Keep your expenditures down as much as possible and give the family plenty of time to budget for the total amount.  In your first survey, provide an idea of what the price of the reunion might be. If you are planning a more expensive getaway like a cruise or a Disney vacation, offer monthly payment options to make it easier for relatives to pay for the trip. If you come across unexpected expenses, make sure to include those financial updates in future mailings.  

Send Invitations — Get the word out as soon as possible by sending a flyer, newsletter, or postcard. If your family is tech savvy, you can rely on emails or websites like Facebook that can act as a message hub. Get relatives excited about the event by including family stories, trivia, and old photos. 

Pick a Fun Destination — It's important to offer a range of activities to satisfy every generation's interests from the youngest to the oldest attendees. Try to find a home or hotel that is close to a pool, golf, or even a lake that may have fishing, swimming, and hiking trails. If no family member has a home large enough to accommodate everyone, consider a house rental for your reunion. Look for rentals on sites like VRBO.com or Homeaway.com to find homes with fully equipped kitchens, multiple bedrooms, and large outdoor spaces where everyone can gather. 

Plan a Theme — If you have chosen a place that has different activities for all ages, folks may go their separate ways and have little time together as a group. Set aside a few hours and plan an event that so that everyone can participate. The best part of the reunion will probably be the time everyone spends together as a group, so come up with something fun and memorable. 

Before leaving for your reunion, let AAA be your guide. Visit your local AAA Car Care Center for a pre-road trip inspection for all of your car maintenance needs, including battery checks. AAA offers premium batteries with the best service in the business. Don't miss out on the fun by getting stranded on the side of the road! With AAA's emergency roadside assistance, we can bring a new battery to you and get you on your way. Make sure to download the AAA Mobile App before you set off, so you find the lowest gas prices, GPS navigation, and discounts along your route. You could also rent a car for your trip. AAA members save 10-20% from Hertz. Visit your local AAA travel agent to help make trip planning easy with countless discounts, reservations, and TripTiks, AAA's exclusive travel planner. AAA members receive discounts at thousands of hotels, so if you are going overnight, you will always have an affordable and comfortable place to stay. You can easily manage your AAA membership online or call 1-866-593-8626 while on the road.

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