Holiday togetherness might make for uncomfortably close quarters for some, but for others it’s the perfect time to plan the next family get-together, ASTA said in its latest consumer media promotion of travel and travel agents. ASTA encouraged the use of TravelSense.org, a website that offers travel advice and destination information.
“Travel agents are professionals when it comes to making complex travel arrangements for large groups of people. Whether someone is looking to have 50 family members connect on a cruise or 200 at a resort, travel agents can work with a customer to find an experience that will meet their family’s needs and budget,” said Chris Russo, ASTA president and chair. “TravelSense.org even offers consumers a free Get a Trip Quote feature where they can fill out some basic information and receive bids from ASTA travel agents.”
ASTA’s tips for planning family trips include:
• Go 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 consumers should 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.