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ASTA Advises Consumer on Planning a Family ReunionDecember 7, 2009 By: Meagan Drillinger
With all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it’s easy to forget that summer is a short six months off, and with summer come family reunions, ASTA advises travelers, urging them to work with a travel agent and to use ASTA’s consumer site www.TravelSense.org.
“As family and friends gather to celebrate the holidays, it is a great time to take advantage of all that togetherness and begin some important reunion organizing. Thanks to these tips on TravelSense.org, that warm sense of family can last throughout the year,” ASTA says.
“Today’s travel agent has a wealth of experience to share, and many specialize in a variety of niches, including reunion planning. A professional travel agent can provide far more than just tickets and be an important member of your reunion planning team,” says Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “A travel agent can work with you to find a destination that will offer something for everyone and meet any family reunion budget.”
ASTA’s consumer tips for planning family reunions include:
* Back to the basics. Before you start planning in earnest, make sure you have a specific date and that family members have been alerted. Also, consider working with a travel agent who specializes in family reunion planning (Check TravelSense.org’s ‘Find a Travel Agent’ directory to find an ASTA agent near you.)
* Don’t go it alone. Decide where to get help and start early. Contact your ASTA travel agent to ask for suggestions regarding destinations, on-site activities and how to meet everyone’s travel budget.
* Make contacts. Contact the convention and visitors bureau (CVB) at your destination, even if it's the CVB in your own community. They offer many services to reunions.
* Commit to committees. Schedule committee meetings while everyone is home or arrange a conference call when everyone can make a little time. This is a good time to establish committees to plan games for kids, banquet program, memorial service, special activities, raffles, auctions. Volunteers are important at all steps in the planning process and essential on reunion day.
* Prepare in winter, Enjoy in summer. Many reunion projects require lots of planning and lead-time. If your group has decided to produce a quilt or publishing project such as a cookbook it’s best to start early. Use holiday visits and correspondence to ask family members for a decorated square for a reunion quilt, a recipe for a cookbook, stories for a family history, and anecdotes or pictures for a memory book.
* Christmas in July. If you're planning a ‘Christmas in July’ theme or party for next year's reunion, think about the details now. Take advantage of sales to collect decorations, ornaments, gifts and wrappings; pack those you'll want to take to the reunion next summer.
Regardless of travel plans, using a professional ASTA travel agent can save time and money, ASTA says.. For information, visit TravelSense.org. There, consumers not only can find travel tips and advice but an ASTA travel agent in their area who specializes in a particular destination or type of travel on the Find a Travel Agent Directory.