What do you do when family lives all over the country?

Our family is spread out all over the US. We have family in Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Texas, and Florida. How do you choose the best location to hold a reunion to be 'fair' to everyone? In the past we have had reunions based on where the host family is from. If you were in our family and planning the reunion, where would you have it?


- Is there a location that has meaning? People are usually more willing to travel if it's somewhere with good memories.

- Have a different destination and change it each year

- The first priority to take into consideration are the elders of the family. How much travel can the older family members endure and still have a good refreshing time? A survey taken not so long ago stated that the most supportive reunion attendees among family members are the older ones. Most are willing to travel to see their progeny. Still it’s important to consider making the means of travel as comfortable and refreshing as possible for our elders. As discussed in my reunion planning guidebook, when family members are spread out across the states it is best to “provide several possible locations in the event planning survey.” First ask the family for suggestions regarding possible locations. Three locations will do. Next add the locations to the survey and send them out. Tally the returned surveys to determine the most desired location.

- We typically choose states where family lives or somewhere in between

- We usually try to meet somewhere in the middle, or rotate around the country, meeting in a different state each time.

- you might also look at where the larger group of family members is located

- In the city of the reunion host. We gather every two years and decide at the end of one reunion where the next one will be.

- We have ours where our grandparents/parents raised us all, which was pretty much in one area. So we were lucky.

- Maybe a location that is most central to everyone, or one that has the least expensive hotels, car rentals & etc.

Comments for What do you do when family lives all over the country?

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Jul 15, 2011
Hostess Discretion
by: Sandra

I have been hosting our family reunion for the past 5 years simply because no one else will. The first time we got together was at the suggestion of one of my cousins and we had a small gathering in Vero Beach, FL. which is where we live. Then, we decided to go to Valdosta, GA, which is a couple of hours drive from our hometown Hawkinsville.

We chose that location to make it easier for the elderly members in Hawkinsville and because there was something for everyone to do there. The 3rd reunion was there also. Now, keep in mind. I live in Orlando, FL, which meant lots of traveling back and forward to finalize everything after communicating through email and via phone. Our 4th reunion will be in Orlando where I am to make it more convenient for me.

I love my family and I'm passionate about my family history, but in trying to please everyone else I get stressed and can't relax enough to have fun. So, I decided that if I am going to host it, it only makes sense for it to be held in the vicinity of where I live. I sent out my invitations 1 month ago and the reunion is July 12-15, 2012, so everyone has time to save the date and their monies.

I will try again next year to get someone else to host it and see what happens.

Aug 12, 2010
perfect location
by: Anonymous

We have family in Washington, California, Utah and in Illinois. It is tricky to find a gathering place that meets everyone's needs, let alone when you are so spread out. The Florida panhandle area - like Destin or Pennsicoa is fabulous. Other than the recent oil spill - it has been the perfect place with rental beach homes built for large gatherings. Each house usually has it's own pool and so between the sugar-white sand beach and the pool, there's no need to go any place else. Being together is what family reunions are all about and this is the perfect place. Of course, there are lots of other things to do in the area for those who can't relax. Many see our family photo taken on the beach and say, "Where is that place? I want to go there right now!"

Jul 26, 2010
Do your best, leave the rest
by: Lydia

Everyone will never be happy all of the time. So, regardless of where you hold the reunion, simply do your best, make sure everyone feels invited and call it good.

In my opinion, you basically have 3 choices:

1. In or near your home town.
It stands to reason that the host gets to decide the reunion's location and, therefore the host's hometown would make a logical place.

2. At the "homestead."
Is there a place that most of the family calls "home"? If so, that could make an ideal location and give everyone plenty of opportunity to reminisce about the past.

3. Somewhere in the middle.
Measure the distance between the farthest family members and then choose a "central," neutral location. (This is probably the most difficult planning scenario for the host, as you will have less knowledge about the area's lodging and event choices.)

It sounds like the best thing you could do in this situation is announce the time and location WAY in advance (AT LEAST 1 year, preferably 2 or more) so that everyone has plenty of time to save for and purchase plane tickets.

Good luck! Please report back what you decide and how it works out.


PS Do any other families struggle with such vast distances? If so, how do you handle it??

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