In January my parents and siblings decided we’d all meet up in Bali. It had been almost a year since I had seen my Australian family and as a favourite Australian holiday spot, Bali seemed the ideal location.
Commence operation Destination Family Reunion. 13 people, all with different budgets, lifestyles and hometowns, with 1 simple goal in mind – the best family holiday! This was going to be a mission.
A drunken Christmas Eve is not the place to discuss a family holiday. Perhaps a family dinner or over email or a private Facebook group… not an evening when no one can remember the details or where some people are not present. Everyone should also have a say so they don’t feel left out or overlooked. But when there’s so many people involved, expect compromises to be made.
Once the destination is decided make sure everyone is realistic with their budgets and work to the lowest common denominator. For our family Bali was the perfect solution for a cheap holiday, close to Australia that everyone could afford. Each member of the family may be at different stages in their lives, so be mindful of income. My sister is a student working part time so we had to make allowances for a budget that would fit everyone.
3. Book a date
This is not one of those moments everyone gets to agree to disagree. You have to agree on this particular detail. Someone (usually the oldest member of the family) should choose 3 dates and put them out there for family members to vote. Without a limited choice there are way too many options and not enough decisions.
4. Book flights
To avoid some people missing the special, or never getting around to booking it, allocate one person to buy everyone’s flights. This usually falls as a task for the patriarch of the family (or the person with the platinum credit card). Don’t be an ass, make sure you pay them back promptly.
Collect all family members details in advance (including date of birth, passport number and passport expiry date). If a limited-time flight sale pops up you don’t want to miss out.
5. Book accommodation
If you are like me and love to organise then take on the research of the accommodation. And much like choosing the dates, offer up 2 or 3 choices for your family. This one will have to be line with everyone’s budget so make sure that is discussed back in step 2.
For our family we choose a massive 7-bedroom villa in Seminyak through Flipkey. It worked out perfectly for everyone and we had plenty of space. Decide if you are all going to stay in the same villa or if hotel rooms are going to work better.
While enjoying a leisurely breakfast on your first morning of holidays consider planning the upcoming week loosely, ensuring people have space to be by themselves or with the family. Plan a few family activates and schedule in a few relaxing downtime hours to just hang out or shop or get away from the madness. Again, remember people’s budgets and accommodate those who can’t participate. Perhaps some activities can be done without everyone if budgets don’t stretch that far. Resist pressuring people into doing something they can’t afford to avoid unpleasant screaming. In our case we had 2 young kids to work around, so we chose family-friendly activities. If you’re visiting a destination that requires advanced bookings (such as a major theme park or cruise), these plans can be discussed and booked before heading off on holiday.
7. Have Fun
You are on holiday! Have fun! Enjoy yourself. Try not to take it personally when someone forgets to flush the toilet or steals the last beer from the fridge. Relish each other’s company and savour the moment because it doesn’t come often and will over all too soon.