How To Plan Memorable Group Retreats & Family Reunions

Whether you're rekindling family ties, reuniting with old friends, or simply seeking an adventure with your loved ones, this guide will walk you through the process of creating unforgettable memories. 

Young man smiles and drinks at the table of a large gathering.

4min read

Published 6 December 2023

Flight Centre Author

By

Sam Aldenton

Writer and content creator


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Whether you're rekindling family ties, reuniting with old friends, or simply seeking an adventure with your loved ones, this guide will walk you through the process of creating unforgettable memories. 


Launching any kind of group travel out of the group chat can be the hardest part of a holiday. In our fast-paced lives, it's all too easy for family bonds and friendships to stretch thin. Amid the hustle and bustle, the idea of a family reunion or group retreat can feel like a distant dream. But planning a fun family reunion or group retreat doesn't have to be a daunting task.

A large group of people gathers on a beach at sunset.

Photo: Tyler Nix

A large group of people gathers on a beach at sunset.

Photo: Tyler Nix

A large group of people gathers on a beach at sunset.

Photo: Tyler Nix

Why Plan A Family Reunion Or Group Retreat? 

Before we delve into the nitty-gritty of how to plan a family reunion, let's discuss why these and group retreats are so important. In today's globally connected highly digital age, we often find ourselves physically distant from our loved ones, even when they're just a phone call or a text message away. That's where these family reunion ideas provide a unique opportunity to bridge that gap. 

Family Reunions: 

  • Family Bonds: Reconnecting with the entire family, especially those you may not see frequently, strengthens family ties. 

  • Stories and Memories: These gatherings are a treasure trove of family stories and memories, often shared across generations and extended family. 

  • Traditions: Family reunions are a chance to uphold cherished family history and traditions and pass them down to younger generations. 

  • Discovering Roots: Exploring your family's history and family tree can be an eye-opening and enriching experience as a family unit. 

Group Retreats: 

  • Friendship Renewal: You may have come across terms like mini-moons, babymoons, and, of course, honeymoons, but there's a new concept in town: buddymoons. A buddymoon is all about embarking on a group friend holiday where you can bond and make memories together — a true celebration of friendship! 

  • Team Building: For corporate groups, group retreats can enhance teamwork, morale, and productivity. 

Now, let's embark on the journey of planning a smooth and enjoyable gathering for all family members. 

A woman writing in a planner
A woman writing in a planner
A woman writing in a planner

Step 1: Begin Planning Early 

Planning Process: Initiate the planning process early, in some cases with many different parties, this can be at least a year in advance to ensure all the details are ironed out and as many family members as possible can attend. Form a planning committee with family members or friends who are willing to contribute their ideas and efforts. 

Preferred Dates: Determine the preferred dates for the reunion or retreat. Consider school holidays, work schedules, and upcoming events to avoid conflicts. Consider creating a shared digital calendar where everyone can plot out their other commitments. 

Budget Concerns: Discuss the budget with your family or group members. Be sensitive to everyone's financial situation, and if needed, explore ways to raise money in the reunion planning if needed. Don't forget to think about how best to accommodate older relatives, especially when planning the number of hotel rooms needed and accessibility logistics. 

Step 2: Choose The Type Of Holiday 

There are so many ways to plan your family reunion or group retreat. Below, we'll explore four different types, each with its own set of pros and cons. 

1. Home-Based Reunion: 

  • Pros: Cost-effective, convenient for local family members, greater control over events. 

  • Cons: Limited space for activities, potential for logistical challenges. 

  • Example: Hosting a family reunion at a spacious family member's home or renting a large vacation property. 

2. All-Inclusive Getaway: 

If the idea of planning and discussing finances for a family reunion seems daunting, an all-inclusive venue could be your ideal solution. Opting for this choice means the host can sidestep responsibilities such as organising travel and handling individual expenses. Instead, each family contributes upfront for their own comprehensive package, typically encompassing accommodations, dining, beverages, and childcare services.

One of the notable advantages of selecting this type of reunion is its ability to streamline group decision-making. At an all-inclusive resort, the group won't need to deliberate over restaurant choices, leisure activities, or leadership responsibilities, as these aspects are seamlessly integrated into the package. 

  • Pros: Hassle-free planning, access to amenities and activities, great for relaxation. 

  • Cons: Limited opportunities for customisation, can be more expensive. 

  • Example: Booking an all-inclusive resort or cruise where accommodations, meals, and activities are bundled into one package. 

Young people gather around a beach campfire at dusk.

Photo: Kimson Doan

Young people gather around a beach campfire at dusk.

Photo: Kimson Doan

Young people gather around a beach campfire at dusk.

Photo: Kimson Doan

3. Great-Outdoors Reunion:

For a family that relishes nature and embraces the great outdoors, embarking on a camping adventure could be the perfect way to foster togetherness. It's a budget-friendly option, allowing each family member to select their preferred lodging style, catering to both their comfort level and financial constraints. Choices range from traditional tent camping to cozy cabins or even a lavish glamping experience complete with all the indulgent amenities. 

  • Pros: Immersive natural experience, budget-friendly, fosters teamwork. 

  • Cons: Limited access to amenities, requires outdoor preparation. 

  • Example: There are thousands of incredible campgrounds and national parks across Australia, from national parks to stunning beaches with hiking, campfire cooking, and lounging by the sea. 

4. Destination Family Reunion:

A destination reunion serves as an ideal choice for families seeking that extra 'incentive' to come together, or for those grappling with work commitments, allowing the reunion to double as a holiday. Typically, the initial cost for this type of getaway tends to be lower than an all-inclusive option, affording families the flexibility to customise their lodgings and duration of stay to align with their schedules and financial plans. 

However, it's important to note that with a destination reunion, a greater share of the travel and activity planning responsibilities falls on the shoulders of the host. Additionally, the arrangement means families will need to manage their own meals independently, which can be a downside for some. But that's where delegating to a Flight Centre Group Travel Expert can help lighten the load. 

  • Pros: Memorable travel experience, access to diverse activities, opportunity to explore new places. 

  • Cons: Can be costly, requires travel planning, and may be less accessible to some family members. 

  • Example: Choosing an island travel destination like Bali or Hawaii is a great option because of the relatively close distance to Australia when compared to other countries, and that are well catered to group travellers. 

Step 3: Delegate Responsibilities 

Delegate Tasks: Distribute responsibilities among committee members. Assign roles such as event coordinator, treasurer, and person responsible for travel arrangements. This will also help with avoiding having too many cooks in the kitchen which can result in analysis paralysis. 

Delegate the booking process: Flight Centre has dedicated Group Travel Experts who specialise in planning and organising all travel arrangements door-to-door, from flights and accommodation to ground transportation. They can also arrange day trips, cruises, local tours and group activities, taking the hassle out of organising and booking for separate parties and large groups. And having a backup plan should anything go awry while you're away. 

Recruit Volunteers: Enlist volunteers from within your family or group to assist with various aspects of the event, from planning to execution. 

Young people sit on a hill watching an outdoor event.

Photo: Johan Mouchet

Young people sit on a hill watching an outdoor event.

Photo: Johan Mouchet

Young people sit on a hill watching an outdoor event.

Photo: Johan Mouchet

Step 4: Plan an Events Schedule 

Planning a family reunion events schedule is a crucial aspect of organising a successful reunion or retreat. Consider the interests and preferences of your group members when creating the schedule. Here are some event ideas that go beyond the board games found in your accommodation's linen cupboard: 

  • Family Talent Show: Let family members showcase their talents, from singing and dancing to comedy acts. 

  • Outdoor Activities: Depending on your location, plan outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, or sports tournaments. 

  • Historical Tours: Explore the local history and culture with guided tours to museums, historical sites, or landmarks. 

  • Themed Parties: Organise themed parties or costume nights to add an element of fun and creativity, these are also common aboard cruises. 

  • Group Photo: Capture the memories with a group photo session and consider hiring a professional photographer for high-quality shots. 

A young girl cuddles an old woman

Photo: Ekaterina Shakharova

A young girl cuddles an old woman

Photo: Ekaterina Shakharova

A young girl cuddles an old woman

Photo: Ekaterina Shakharova

Family reunions and group retreats are a chance to create lasting memories for the whole family, rekindle connections, and embark on adventures together. Whether you're planning a family reunion to delve into your family's history and traditions or organising a group retreat to unwind and explore new horizons, the key lies in early planning, delegation, and thoughtful consideration of everyone's preferences. 

So, take the leap, and begin the exciting journey of planning your next family reunion or group retreat. The memories you'll create will be cherished for years to come, strengthening the bonds that matter most. Oh, and don't forget to take plenty of family photos to continue telling the family's story for years to come.


Need help planning your group or family getaway? Contact our Group Travel Experts here

Flight Centre Author

By

Sam Aldenton

Writer and content creator


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