Stop the boring holiday events – 10 tips for fun out of town family events
Take a different route this holiday season
With the holidays right around the corner, it’s time to start thinking about “who will host the holidays?” But, maybe, this time, you may want to make it a big event. A celebration filled with activities, fun, and visits around the host city.
Here’s how Travel Bags With Annita’s will help you – Stop the boring holiday events – Our ten tips for fun out-of-town family events
Shake it up this year for the holidays and do something different. Plan a family getaway that’s filled with memories.
1. First, take a deep breath. With the help of Google, Bing, and Chrome, you can find any and everything online. If this is your first time planning an event out of town, you can pull on your research and organizational skills that you use each day and plan a fun and memorable trip for your family. Having confidence in yourself is important, but you’re working with your family, and without a doubt, there is someone who will jump in and help.
2. Put together a small planning team of family members, include someone who lives in the city where you’re gathering. Yes, that’s an obvious one! But, surprisingly some family members will want to take full control of the planning, and you’ll have some who want to sit back and enjoy all the fun. Pulling together a team allows spreading out the work, but also brings more creative ideas to the table. Some family members are better at finding entertainment, while other family members are better with budgeting.
Bring in your A-team for an event that comes in under budget yet overloaded with fun and merriment. You can also reach outside of your family to tour guides, travel agents, and friends who live in the city. Seeking help takes some of the stress off your shoulders, and it’s also an excellent way to strengthen the family bonds.
3. Put together an itinerary and start with a basic, tentative plan. Include festivals, shows, and events all around the holiday. In every city during the holiday season, there are many activities, and festivals perfect for your itinerary.
Also, think outside of the box for activities such as theater productions, ball games, cooking classes, mixology instructions, joining a caroling group, invite Santa, the list of ideas can go on and on. A great itinerary allows you to make sure you include something for everyone and it is perfect to help the planners remember to bring all the things needed for a grand success.
And, don’t forget to build in time for emergencies, travel from one location to the next and bathroom breaks after meals. But, most of all – think fun, exciting, humorous and sentimental. Combine them all in one itinerary for a holiday gathering which becomes legendary!
While you’re in the early planning stages, sort out your budget and how much this grand celebration will cost each family. You’ll want to do this early to make sure cost does not prohibit family members from coming along. That will only spoil the fun. Plan a trip filled with fabulous fun, but does not break the bank. Keep in mind the cost will vary per family. Two people traveling is much less than a family of four or six.
4. Check with the local tourist’s boards. Each city has one. You will find them within the convention and visitors bureau, chamber of commerce or a separate tourism office. They have tons and tons of information and brochures to share and will help you plan your time together.
Most cities have a travel magazine listing all the upcoming events, restaurants, hotels, transportation and articles about the city. They can provide an excellent reference for putting together an itinerary which includes something for everyone. And, pick-up the phone and give them a call. That’s what they are there for – to help plan and inform visitors about things to do, places to stay and great options for eating. Put together an arrival packet, filled with brochures and a map for each family.
Also, many tourism boards are membership organizations and are promoting their members. They may have vetted them or maybe not, but most businesses who are part of a dues-paying organization are serious about inviting tourists to their businesses and want to make a good impression.
5. Learn about the city and area – this is especially important when planning a family getaway to a destination unfamiliar to everyone. And, even more, important when planning an international getaway.
For international destinations, a fun way to do this may be creating a fact sheet about cultural norms in the country/city you are visiting. Is there a language difference? Learn a bit about the culture and language to avoid embarrassing moments.
Researching historical incidents and famous people from the area creates a fun way to approach the city too. With the information you gather about the city, you can create a scavenger hunt as an activity during your trip.
Another reason to learn about the city includes determining the basic layout and the best type of transportation. Will you take public transportation, rent a car or how much walking can you expect from everyone? It’s important to learn which places are safe to visit and which ones you should avoid. Research which areas of town are best for hotels vs. areas which are not the best for accommodations.
6. Stay connected with your planning team, travel professionals you have enlisted to help and keep your family in the loop. Everyone wants to know what’s going on. That’s natural.
Make meetings accessible using Skype, FaceTime, and Google Docs along with DropBox, which is ideal for storing itineraries and documents.
But, the best part of sharing the details, is it creates excitement and anticipation. Share the fun, but also have a special surprise planned too.
7. Build excitement by creating a family only FaceBook page, website or Instagram account where you can post pictures and lists of events and ideas. Social media is an excellent way to share the fun of the day when family members are going in different directions.
And, when you return home, keep sharing the pictures weeks after your event. Everyone will want to take a look over and over again.
8. Keep it simple – think of everyone’s mobility and energy level. Plan events that will have everyone together for family time, but also things for the children, young adults, and family elders. Part of keeping it simple means staying flexible and positive. There is always Murphy’s Law waiting to make his move. Try to stay out of Murphy’s path!
9. Assign two people to record the event. Take pictures, keep a journal, make a video…. this is an event that will be shared and remembered through the years. Take more pictures than you think you need; your photos will last a lifetime, and you will be so happy you took them 10, 20 years later.
10. Just do it! Have fun and make it happen.
So where are great destinations to break the “same ol’ thing” holiday?
- New York City – The city known for holiday fun and merriment. It starts with the Thanksgiving day parade, moves on to a long, long list of activities. There is skating in Central Park, visiting the Empire State Building with the Red and Green lights, the Rockettes, the lighting of the tree at Rockefeller Center and ice skating there too! And, who can resist walking along 5th Avenue and viewing the amazingly decorated and festive store window displays and there is Union Square Holiday Market, sledding in the park. We said the list is long! But, it’s filled with wonder and merriment.
- Orlando – Take the family and stay at the Gaylord Palms – they go all out for Christmas with Santa, and they feature the Nutcracker and ice sculptures and don’t forget the slides. Get in on the action and enjoy artists carving ice sculptures right in front of you. Live shows and holiday music – who can resist. And, if you’re ready for a break from the egg nod, there is no need to go far. Head over for a relaxing day at the spa located in the hotel.
- Skiing – If you want snow and ice and all the fun that goes along with it, head out to a snow area! Canada is an excellent choice. Check out Whistler for snowboarding, skiing and cuddling up with a cup of hot chocolate by the fire.
- Forget winter and head south – pass Florida and on to the Caribbean. You have your choice of several islands, and the Palace Resorts are a perfect choice for your accommodations. With several properties in Mexico and one in Jamaica, you can warm your toes in the beautiful blue water, and if you’re missing the egg nod, there will be a fuzzy drink to help you forget all about it.
- Don’t go far. Head up to Asheville for a step back in time at the Biltmore. Known for their maxed-out, luxurious decorations and elegant decor filled with beautiful poinsettias in all colors. Experience all the traditions you love for the season, and then some!
- There’s nothing like Christmas in Europe. There are Christmas markets in every city. Take the merriment abroad to Switzerland for breathtaking views and of course great chocolate. You’ll find it around every corner
- Are you looking for peace, quiet and a chance for a cultural experience here in the U.S.? Plan a trip to Sapelo Island where you can walk 7 miles of pristine beach, experience Saltwater Geechee culture, trade in the turkey for crabs and shrimp and connect with your loved ones on a huge porch overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Are you ready? Start planning, and you just may not want to leave.
Now spend time with your family and tell us all about it when you get back!