It’s been years since you’ve seen your dear Aunt Gertrude and cousin Jeff. To get reacquainted with your dozens of cousins and other relatives, you have decided it’s high time to host family reunion. While you have relatives galore, you budget isn’t quite as large. Fortunately, it’s easy to plan a family get-together that won’t break the bank.
Hold the party at a public park
One way to save money on a family reunion is to skip the pricey rented venues and make reservations at a nice city park. Most parks have play equipment for the kids, covered picnic areas and benches, and even other recreational amenities like horseshoe pits, sand volleyball courts, barbecues, tennis courts and swimming pools. Many city parks can be reserved for free or for a small fee. Once you have decided on a date and city for your reunion, get on the phone with the local parks and recreation department for help choosing and reserving a family-friendly park where everyone can gather for the afternoon.
Find deals on lodging
Unless your entire extended family lives in the same city, chances are good that at least some of your relatives will drive or fly in for the reunion. To save money on lodging, think outside of the hotel box and look for more roomy and affordable options. As the Dish blog points out, rental homes and cabins can be more budget-friendly than a hotel. Since these accommodations also typically include a fully-stocked kitchen, you can save even more money by cooking at least some of your meals. Depending on how many people are traveling to the reunion, you can either all share one large rental home, or speak with the property manager to see if there are nearby or adjacent rentals available that a large group of you could rent, possibly for a lower group rate.
Consider a cruise
While you might think of cruises as spendy luxury vacations, Budget Travel notes there are plenty of cruise lines that are extremely affordable and are well-equipped for large family groups. For example, Cruise Line is a discount agency that can accommodate family reunions, and if lots of young kids are coming, a family-friendly company like Disney Cruise Lines might be your best bet. As long as you are not traveling over a holiday, it’s possible to find 3 or 4 day cruises for around $450 a person. When you consider that this includes room and food, and plenty of activities, it’s a pretty good value. Plus, a short cruise is still long enough to reacquaint you with all of your distant relatives before you arrive back at your port.
Delegate food and beverage assignments
If you are meeting at a park or another local venue, ask everyone to bring along a dish so there is plenty of food to share. To make sure that you don’t end up with 35 bags of Doritos and 25 2-liter bottles of Coke, ask your relatives to bring something based on the first letter of their first name. For example, Anne through Clark can bring a salad, Doris through Fred can donate some hot dogs and buns and Gladys through John can spring for the fruit or chips. If everyone chips in on the food—yes, that is a poor pun—it will save you from spending a lot to feed everyone.