No matter how weird we think our families are, they’re still our families…and we’re apparently willing to travel long distances to get together with them.
A 2005 study by the Travel Industry of America (TIA)tells us that one in three adults has traveled to a family reunion in the past three years.
That’s 72 million adults hitting the road to see Uncle Joe, play horseshoes with cousin Alice and swap stories with long lost relatives.
And with gas prices being what they are, you can be sure traveling to see friends and family, mini-Family Reunions, are becoming more popular.
ButEdith Wagner, Editor in Chief of the Milwaukee-based publication, Reunions Magazine says it’s deeper than that.
“Many families,” Wagner says, “memorialize lost family members with candle light services, or they’ll create souvenir booklets and play games like ‘autograph bingo’ as a way for out-of-touch members or the younger generation to get to know each other.It’sabout creating memories.”
Her advice for families planning that big reunion?
• Chose a cruise because they have “something for everyone.” Cruises and all-inclusive resorts reduce the stress involved in planning meals and activities, creating a worry free time to get to know each other.
• Get creative.Reunion activities can include river rafting, tours of cemeteries in Ireland, East African safaris, Galapagos Islands tours, stays at dude ranches, visiting bike week in Daytona Beach, Fla., or European trips to retrace family heritage.
• Wagner advises using a travel agent, someone with reunion-planning experience who can handle all the logistics skillfully.
• And plan a family reunion around a milestone event like an anniversary or wedding.
But beware: family reunions can rekindle old animosities and stir up unresolved feelings among family members.
Dr. Larry Basirico’s funny and wise book, The Family Reunion Survival Guide: How to Avoid Problems With Your Family Without Avoiding Your Family is must for anyone planning a reunion, or attending one.
It goes a long way toward insuring family feuds stay buried.
Had a weird or wonderful Family Reunion experience? Tell us about it.
Headline: Family Reunions are fun and treacherous! Get creative. Be forgiving. And have a sense of humore. Learn more.