A Guide to Hosting a Group Retreat

One of the biggest changes to family life over the past few decades has been the way we tend to spread out over the globe more. It’s pretty commonplace for friends and family members to move to an entirely different continent from the one they were born on, and this means that organizing those special family get-togethers or reuniting with old friends and classmates can take considerably more planning!

Even once you’ve finally decided on a location where you can get everyone together in one place, deciding where to stay and what to do with your time is another challenge altogether. That’s why we’ve put together some of our top tips for choosing a location to host everyone, organizing your vacation, and keeping everyone smiling in the process!

Choosing the time and place:

A great way to work out when everyone is available is to send them all a blank calendar to mark out their available time periods on, get the results together and see where the overlaps fall. Making the process visual rather than trying to work with dates alone can be a lot less frazzling.

If you have party members from the northern and southern hemispheres, make sure to take the seasons into account too. If the only time everyone can get together is over the December holidays, it might be better to choose a location somewhere south of the equator. If this isn’t possible, you could always run the idea of a family skiing trip past the party!

What type of accommodation will suit the group size and budget?

Budget is always a big consideration when friends or family members have already had to fork out cash on flights and transport. One great option is to rent out a holiday home, where the nightly cost will be far lower than staying in a hotel, and you have the added bonus that everyone is together in the same place.

Let’s imagine your group has mainly adult members who live in the States, Europe, and South Africa. Constantia in Cape Town is a good meeting point for everyone, especially if you have some wine lovers in the family! The added bonus is that it gives the members coming from the northern hemisphere a chance to escape their winter season. Renting a guest house will set you back far less than opting for one of the region’s beautiful but pricey hotels, and probably means that you can all afford to stay a little longer too.

Consider the kids

A big motivator behind many family get-togethers is the opportunity to introduce the newest additions to the clan to members they haven’t met before. If this is the case, then you need to take into account how you’re going to entertain them. Amusement parks are always a big hit with the little ones, especially if they cater to a variety of different age groups. A great bonus tip for avoiding long lines is to start at the back or far end of the park, and work your way towards the front against the flow!

It’s also a good idea to check with your accommodation if they are able to offer babysitting services, so the adults can get a chance to relax and have some grown-up conversation once in a while too.

Create some nostalgia

Whether you’re having a reunion with family or old friends from school, it’s always great to chat about and relive the good old days. Think of a few ways you could bring memories back, do something together that you all used to love, or make that special recipe again.

Don’t try and be the host all by yourself

If hosting the reunion, family get together or group vacation was your idea, you might feel pressured to make sure everything goes smoothly all on your own – but remember that you’re supposed to enjoy the event too! Delegate tasks to people who show a strength for certain jobs – whether it’s planning where to eat, which activities to participate in, or keeping the place you’re staying in livable.

Prioritize the activities on your itinerary

One of the biggest mistakes people make on any holiday is trying to cram so much in that they forget to enjoy the experience! If you’ve got a huge list of activities from everyone, try and prioritize them so you get to do the things you really want to without making the schedule too busy. The most important thing is that you get time to talk and reconnect, so if you want to spend a few days just lazing around the house, then why not?

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