Family reunions can be a lot of fun. You get to see family members you may not have seen for a couple of years. Perhaps, there are ‘new’ family members you haven’t met. The good news is there are plenty of family reunion locations throughout the U.S. The possibilities are endless!

It’s important to make arrangements early and find a place that works for everyone. This is a good way to prevent family feuds! If you wait too long to plan your family reunion, your favorite hotel or resort could be booked solid. Also, family members may not be able to attend due to previous travel plans.

How to Plan a Family Reunion, Cut Costs, and Have a Good Time

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Book Your Family Reunion Locations Early! Photo credit: Stock exchange-Sign-Helen Bobis

Book early

Beach family reunion locations are popular. The most popular beach vacation destination is Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If you have your heart set on having your family reunion in SC then you better book your location early. Otherwise, the entire family will be left out in the cold.

Tie your family reunion to an important date

If grandma and grandpa are celebrating 65 years of marriage, celebrate their special day at the family reunion. Building your family reunion around a holiday could be tricky. Big holiday’s like Memorial Day and the Fourth of July are during the travel ‘high season.’ You may not be able to find accommodations or someone may not be able to attend.

Hold your family reunion in the off-season

It may be cost effective to hold your family reunion in the off-season. Family reunion locations such as Florida, North and South Carolina, Georgia, and other popular destinations can be expensive during the ‘high season’ which is usually during the summer. Some family members may not be able to afford to attend. Take this into consideration when planning your family reunion. Holding in the off-season could work for everyone.

Meet at a family member’s home

Holding your family reunion at a family member’s home is another way to cut costs. Perhaps, a family member with five or more acres of land will be willing to host the family reunion. Everyone can bring something, a hot meal, desert, or soft drinks. Of course, cash would probably be accepted too!

Decide on the size of your family reunion

Your family reunion doesn’t have to be large. A small and intimate family reunion could be more inviting. First-time family reunion planners may want to plan a smaller affair. You’ll get a sense of what it’s like to plan reunion.

Raise money for your family reunion 

Send out an email blast and ask family members to have garage sales, silent auctions, raffles, car washes, rummage sales, etc. to raise money for your family reunion.

Plan cost-effective family activities

Ask family members what they like to do. Ask family members what their kids like to do. You can’t please everyone. But you can plan activities ahead of time to keep people entertained. Ideas are:

  • Renting a karaoke machine.
  • Set up a sound system outside (if you’re holding at your home).
  • Booking golf outing.
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Going to the park.
  • Renting a ‘bouncy castle’ or other inflatable rentals.

Now you know how to plan a family reunion, cut costs, and have a good time! Keep the lines of communication open. Correspond via email or Facebook. Keep in mind that everyone may not have a computer or Facebook page. Contact family members when you have the date, time, and location settled. Keep family up-to-date with the latest information. Happy planning!

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Family travel is no reason to go sabotage your diet or slack-off on your workouts. It’s okay to indulge once in a while, but pigging out on your vacation may leave you less than satisfied, especially if you recently lost a lot of weight. The good news is you can eat healthy and lose weight on vacation. Don’t believe me. Here’s my story.

How I lost weight on my family travel to Great Britain

My dad and I took our first international trip together to Great Britain in 1997. I was nervous, he was nervous, and we both lost weight. I lost about 15 pounds, and my dad lost about 12 pounds. How did we release the pounds? Keep reading.

Family travel usually includes sightseeing. Many destinations offer walking tours. Not only is walking is a low-impact form of exercise, but it’s perfect for the entire family. You lose weight by spending time with each other walking around the sites. It’s a win-win situation!

The trip that I took with my dad included a lot of walking tours. We walked around the gardens of Henry VIII’s Hampton Court Palace (England), Edinburgh Castle (Scotland), the town of Llangollen (Wales), and many other places throughout Great Britain.

Tip: Bring a good pair of walking/hiking shoes; otherwise, your feet will be sore.

Since my dad and I were visiting/touring another country, our eating habits and schedules were off. This was a good thing. We mostly had buffet style dinners; however, we weren’t used to some of the British foods. I wasn’t and still am not a big fan of lamb (I’m now a vegetarian), so I ate the fruit and vegetables.

I tried the “pop or soda,” but it tasted flat to me. I stayed hydrated by drinking water.

Tip: Avoid drinking alcohol or soda when you fly. You could become bloated or thirsty during your flight.

I was sad to leave Great Britain because it’s a wonderful country rich in art, culture, and history. There’s a lot to see which is why most people visit over and over again.

When my dad and I came home, my mom and sister didn’t recognize us. They were stunned by our weight loss.

So you see. It’s possible to eat healthy and lose weight while your family travels. I did!

How Families Can Eat Healthy and Lose Weight on Vacation

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Family Travel: Eat Healthy and Lose Weight Photo Credit: ChrisWatk, visit www.dolcevita-images.com

Reduce the amount of soda, sugary fruit juices, and energy drinks you drink

Drinking water is good for your family. Kids may want sugary drinks, but they’re not good for them. Purchase bottled water (recycle bottles when possible) or use a filter system if you stay in vacation rental condo or home. It’s okay to have a ‘sugary drink’ once in a while, but don’t make a habit of it while you’re on vacation. Why? You and your kids could become sluggish and may not feel like doing anything. You’ll miss out on all the fun.

Avoid fast food restaurants and mall food courts

It’s easy to grab something to eat at a food court because it’s fast and convenient. It’s best to skip food courts and eat a healthy meal at a restaurant.

If you stay in a vacation home, shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, etc. Buy organic when you can. Cook a healthy meal for your family. Let the kids help too!

Eat a good breakfast

Start your family travel off right by eating a good, hearty breakfast. Skip the stack of pancakes with a side of bacon and eggs and have a heart-healthy breakfast such as whole grain toast, whole grain cereal, egg whites, egg white omelet, oatmeal, fresh fruit, low-calorie/sugar fruit smoothie, or some other yummy breakfast.

FYI: Most restaurants have gluten-free foods and figure friendly breakfasts’.

Shop at local grocery stores and farmers markets for healthy snacks

Families staying in a vacation rental home can shop at the local grocery stores and farmers markets. Buying local and organic is a great way to stay healthy and lose weight on your family vacation. It’s also a good way to support and grow the local economy.

Ask for meals to be prepared ‘lightly’

Family travel may include eating at restaurants, delis, diners, and cafés. Don’t be afraid to ask your waiter or waitress if the chef or cook can prepare a meal differently. For example, if the chicken dinner you want is fried, ask if you could have it baked. When you order a salad, ask for dressing on the side. Instead of ordering a creamy ranch dressing, get a light dressing such as balsamic vinegar. Ask for substitutes, if available.

Use the above tips to eat healthy and lose weight on your family vacation. You can stick to your diet and exercise plan when you’re on a family vacation. Happy travels!

What’s your secret to eating healthy and losing weight on your family vacation? Share.

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Bonus Tip!

When possible, walk or bike instead of renting a car. Take advantage of public transportation too.

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A family vacation is when a family comes together to share a wonderful travel experience; to create memories that will last a lifetime. Sometimes, it works out that way. And sometimes you have travel memories you’d like to forget.

“Are we there yet?”

“I’m hungry!”

“I have to go to the bathroom!”

How many times have you heard those phrases while you’re speeding down the highway in your SUV or RV with the entire family? What about when you’re 30,000 feet in the air?

Let’s face it; taking the family on vacation can be an adventure in and of itself. Please everyone and you’ll have an enjoyable family vacation.

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You can please everyone on your family vacation. Photo credit: Billy Alexander-Stock Exchange

Have a meeting about your family vacation

Before you surprise your family with a family vacation, hold a meeting to discuss it instead. Hear and listen to what your kids have to say about ‘suggested’ family vacation destinations.

Teenagers may not be thrilled to travel during the summer if they look forward to attending summer camp. Toddlers may not be ready for whitewater river rafting.

Ask everyone for their feedback. Hint: This shows your children that you care about what they think and feel.

Once you’ve gathered the data, choose a family vacation destination that receives the entire family’s seal of approval.

Ask family members to write (help younger kids with this) down their “top 7 vacation destinations”

This piggybacks on Point #1 about holding a family meeting about your vacation. Asking all family members to write down their top 7 travel vacation destinations is a good way to see where everyone would like to go on vacation.

Review all of the selections and narrow it down to the best location for your vacation. Keep the list of vacation destinations for next year, or plan a vacation over the holidays when kids are out of school.

Request travel brochures and guides

You can get plenty of family vacation ideas from travel brochures and guides. Most travel websites such as GuestQuest.com offers free travel brochures and guides. With a click of a button, you’ll have plenty of travel information that will help you find the best family vacation for everyone.

Speak with relatives and friends

Speaking with relatives and friends is a great way to discover a family vacation that will please everyone. Ask questions such as:

  • Where did you vacation last year?
  • Did you stay at a hotel or resort? Other accommodation?
  • How ‘kid friendly’ was your vacation destination?
  • How ‘pet friendly’ was the lodging?
  • Did you have a good time?
  • How much did it cost?

Read online travel reviews

TripAdvisor provides readers with reviews of vacation destinations along with ratings for accommodations. Reading reviews about family vacation destinations can help you plan yours. But, it’s important to read reviews with a keen eye. One family may have had a terrible experience, while another had the time of their life. This is where your ‘mother or father’s intuition’ kicks in. Follow your gut instinct.

Always choose the family vacation destination that’s best for you and your family. Use the above tips as a guide to planning your next family vacation. Whatever you do … have a fun family vacation. Bon voyage!

How do you choose your family vacations? Share.

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The latest travel trend is grandparents traveling with grandchildren — with and sometimes without parents. Grandparents traveling with grandchildren can bond with them and create memories that will last a lifetime. Below are tips for grandparents traveling with grandchildren — follow these and you’ll have the time of your life!

Tips for Trendy Grandparents Traveling with Grandchildren

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Trendy Grandparents Travel with Grandchildren

Choose a travel destination that’s “right” for everyone.

It’s important to plan a family vacation that appeals to everyone; otherwise, traveling with grandchildren may not be fun. Ask your grandchildren where they’d like to go and what they’d like to do on vacation. Review all of the travel ideas and plan a vacation that everyone will enjoy.

Air travel.

You don’t want air travel to be your first vacation with your grandchildren. However, after you’ve traveled a few times, plan a beach or adventure vacation that requires you to fly to the destination.

Tip #1: Book non-stop flights vs. ones with layovers, especially if you’re traveling with small children.

Tip #2: Avoid bringing a lot of luggage. It’s best to travel with carry-on bags because it’s more convenient.

Traveling with grandchildren through the airport can be an adventure in and of itself. Bring lots of snacks and activities for small children. Teens will probably bring their iPad, iPod, laptop, and other electrical gadgets. Teach grandchildren travel etiquette and you’ll have a pleasant time flying the friendly skies. And so will the other passengers!

FYI: When grandparents travel with grandchildren, they get to teach them things such as how to fish, proper travel etiquette, how to pitch a tent, how to appreciate a sunrise and sunset, and much more.

Make plenty of stops when you take a road trip vacation.

Kids can become tired and cranky, but then again, so can adults. It’s important to stop at rest stops and or national parks when you take a road trip. Get out of the RV, car, or SUV and stretch your legs. You may even want to have a picnic lunch.

Tip #3: Breathing the fresh air will be good for everyone. Grandchildren will probably become sleepy and sleep all the way to your next destination.

Bring all required documentation and medications.

Make sure you bring the proper documentation if you travel abroad. Don’t forget to bring your medications and any medications your grandchildren may have to take.

Have fun!

Traveling with grandchildren is fun. Make sure to travel at your grandchildren’s pace and don’t force them to try activities if they don’t feel comfortable. Let them choose restaurants and fun activities such as miniature golf.

Related articles

Traveling with grandchildren (www.independenttraveler.com)

Air travel tips (grandparents.about.com)

6 tips for traveling with your grandchildren (money.usnews.com/money/retirement/articles/2009/09/28/6-tips-for-traveling-with-your-grandchildren)

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At GuestQuest, we’ve heard great travel tips over the years. Here are five we’d like to share with you:

Travel Tip #1: If you have to travel alone, be alert to your surroundings. Always keep your cell phone close to you and avoid carrying a purse that could be easily grabbed. If you must go out late at night, be especially cautious when in an area you don’t know well.

Travel Tip #2: When you’re at your family vacation getaway, don’t give in to your appetite too often. Many people indulge while on trips and wind up suffering with stomach aches and headaches. Be wise and choose your foods carefully.

Travel Tip #3: Ask for the best price. When you call to make a reservation for your next fun family vacation, just inquire as to whether the price you’re being offered is the best deal they can make. Certainly, they might say they can’t go any lower, but you’ll never know unless you bring up the subject.

Travel Tip #4: Pack lightly. If there’s one thing that can rapidly ruin a fun family vacation, it’s too much luggage! Bring only what you need and remember that you can probably buy some necessities at your family vacation destination.

Travel Tip #5: Stay hydrated while at the beach. Too many people unnecessarily experience heat exhaustion (or, in more extreme cases, heat stroke) because they drink too little water while at the ocean or lake. Keep a water bottle with you at all times.

GuestQuest hopes all your travels are fun, safe and exciting!

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Yes, it’s mid-September. And you know what that means? There are plenty of fun family vacation deals to be had!

Even though most people are gearing up for the holidays, we who are part of the travel industry understand how tourism really works. If you’ve been dying to see rural Tennessee or just get to Myrtle Beach (with or without a dip in the ocean), it’s time to start looking around for steals, and GuestQuest is a great way to begin!

Though it’s unusual to find hotel rooms for 90% off, you can find some deeply discounted by 30% or more. In fact, many places (especially those that could be affected by hurricanes or other inclement weather) seriously reduce their prices. Many other locales offer incredibly attractive family vacation destination packages.

Not ready to take the kids out of school for a week? Never fear! At GuestQuest, we routinely see special weekender offerings for families just like yours! Whether you’re looking to chill at the beach or dance the night away in the city, you can probably snag a deal that you wouldn’t have expected.

It’s really the time to make the most of your dreams! By booking off-season ventures to fun family vacation locations, you’ll get the best of all worlds. Not only will you see a place you’ve always wanted to visit, you’ll also save a substantial amount of moolah in the process. It’s a definite win-win!

Interested in learning more? Stop by GuestQuest and click on your family vacation destinations for more information!

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It’s September 1. School’s back in session (or will be soon.) The holidays are just around the corner. But now is the PERFECT time to start planning for next year’s family vacation getaway! Here’s why!

1. There are steals to be had!

If you pay in advance for a cabin or house rental at your favorite family beach vacation, you may be eligible for a significant discount. This means you can save tons of money.

2. You’ll have time to investigate the best deal.

If you wait until the last minute, you’ll probably pay more than you’d like for your cabin or hotel room. Instead of spending a fortune on a fun family vacation, spend wisely. Begin collecting travel magazines and compare prices.

3. You’re (almost) guaranteed the cream of the crop.

Do you feel like every year you just can’t seem to get into the resort you want? Maybe you need to start planning your family vacation destinations earlier! By giving yourself 10 months, you’ll be able to easily snag lucrative hotspots before others beat you to them!

4. You will be excited for next year’s fun family vacation!

Nothing beats the winter doldrums like knowing that you’ll be at a family vacation spot in a few short months! Plan your fun family vacation today and it’ll boost your spirits when the winds howl and the snow flies!

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