● 5 minutes TO READ

Plan the Best Family Reunion!

With these apps, tips and great ideas, plan the reunion your family will talk about for years!

With so much of our lives on social media these days, it’s important to make time for face time. Cue: the family reunion!

Before you even get that first, too-long hug from Aunt Betty, you’ll need to coordinate with family members from all over. Sharing links to destinations and theme ideas from Pinterest, texting, Facebook Messaging, calling … (Make sure your data plan is up to the task.)

Destination Ideas

This article from Real Simple will get you started on picking a destination. Here are our favorite options:

Backyard Shindig

A good choice for smaller families, grilling out in the backyard is laid-back. Make it a potluck, send local hotel options to guests from out-of-town, and you’re all set.

Cruises or other All-Inclusives

When you’re rounding up lots of people, or just itching to travel, going the all-inclusive route alleviates the pain of planning activities, food and sleeping accommodations. Bonus: some cruise lines and resorts offer specials on family reunions.

The Great Outdoors

Book early if you’re eyeing a national park for your reunion; cabins often fill up six months to a year in advance! For families who enjoy hiking, rafting, swimming and nature, lots of campsites and lodges combine recreation with nature.

The Apps 

Send out a Punchbowl invitation! The app helps you keep track of RSVPs, event details and more.

TripAdvisor for iOS and Android will help you out with reviews of restaurants and other attractions, as well as tips on what to do when you reach your destination. Use it to send ideas to your family, or use it to plan your side-trips for a little alone time.

We featured Checklist in our blog on hiking. It’s a great packing assistant, helping you remember all the stuff you need for camping, vacations and more.

Use ThingToBring for iOS or Android to coordinate who brings what food, games, supplies and whatever else!


Bring board games, yard games, puzzles, books and movies for downtime. Borrow ideas from our glamping blog to keep the fun cranked up!

Group of children blowing soap bubbles

The Photos

Hey, you don’t get this many people related to each other all in one place very often, do you? If there was ever a valid excuse to overload your social media feeds with photos, this is it!

Hummingbird Selfies

A popular option when Grandpa is grumpy and toddlers are a flight risk. Get as many small-group selfies as you can with cousins, aunts and uncles, and, yes—even Grandpa. You can always put together a nice collage in Google Photos and share it will your whole family!

The Panoramic Selfie

This one might take a few tries to master, but it’s worth it! If your phone is equipped to take Panoramic Selfies (check in your camera app for options), try it out with smaller groups, sans-squirrely kids and older relatives who just ain’t got time for all that.

The Timed Masterpiece

Set the timer on your phone, make sure it’s propped at the ideal height and angle, and get in the picture!

The Earbud Shutter

Did you know you can take selfies by pushing the “volume up” button on your iPhone’s earbuds? It’s true! Plug it in, prop it up, get some long-lost cousins in the frame and start clicking!


Your phone’s native camera app probably has some great filters and editing tools built-in. Try it to brighten, crop, and generally spruce up your favorite memories. You can also try one of our favorite photo editing apps, Snapseed.


Use Google Photos, Flickr, Instagram and, of course, Facebook to upload and share your photos with your family. Who knows? Maybe posting all these great pics will convince stragglers to attend next year’s reunion!

For Posterity

Each of those stories that Great-Aunt Joyce tells is precious! Take special care to record video of some of your older family members as they talk about their lives. Ask a few interview questions to get them going. Just think of this: today’s kids are part of a generation that doesn’t remember what life was like before we all had cell phones!

Keep track of the kids

While it’s nice to let the kids run amok with all that extended family, getting their fill of stories about when you were their age (aww!) or when you were a rebellious teenager (oookay, Uncle Joe, maybe we could talk about something else!?), you’d still like to know where they’ve run off to. Get the best of both worlds when you strap on a GizmoGadget. Its limited connectivity means kids aren’t exposed to social media or internet influences yet, and its GPS and pre-programmed messaging capabilities mean you can communicate, while giving them independence.

Get the party started!

You’ve got the portable pavilions all set up, the grill going, coolers full of ice, water and adult beverages … what’s missing? Don’t forget the tunes! You don’t need any more bulky things to lug, so just pull out your smartphone, your favorite party playlist on Spotify, the small, mighty and splash-proof Wonderboom Bluetooth speaker, and get groovy. You might want bring along some extra juice with an extra battery or charger.

Reunion Swag

Some families print up matching t-shirts or hats. It’s not just a fun reunion souvenir; wearing matching clothes makes it easier to find your crew in a crowd at Disney, the beach … wherever you congregate. Try ordering your reunion shirts from an independent shop on Etsy.com!

If you’re looking for fun gifts for bigger kids, try Pop Sockets.