5 reasons why small-group tours are great for family reunions

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Private small-group guided vacations offer unique benefits to families looking to reunite after months of being apart during the pandemic. 

"Family reunion" usually brings to mind hosting extended family at home or renting a banquet hall for a catered party, but small-group travel is another option. You'll break the pandemic tedium, see familiar faces in exciting new places, and relive old memories even as you make new ones.

1. It marks & celebrates the end of a long separation

With activities and holidays on hold, it often felt like time was standing still during the pandemic. Facing major life events—birthdays, weddings, additions to the family, funerals, graduations—without loved ones made it even worse. And while things are beginning to return to normal thanks to vaccines, for many families, the "time warp" won't truly end until they meet up again.

A reunion trip can be an emphatic milestone for the whole family that the long separation is finally over and we can see and celebrate one another in person once more. As with the rest of the pandemic recovery, the emotional recovery is likely to proceed slowly and gradually, so having a tangible end to isolation can help make it more real.

It's also a great opportunity to catch up on family news. That could mean throwing a belated party for newlyweds and graduates, meeting new members of the family, or remembering those who have passed.

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2. You'll create new memories while reliving old ones

Talk long enough and pretty much any family conversation will eventually lead to retelling old stories. At many family reunions, this is the main event. A vacation reunion is an opportunity to stroll down those familiar old paths, but also a chance to add to the collection with exciting new memories and experiences.

That's especially true of small-group journeys within the United States, which focus on places most tourists don't go. That can include festivals, wine tastings, food experiences, indigenous culture, lesser-known national parks, and other destinations off the beaten path.

3. You probably want to travel anyway, so go with people you trust

After months of travel restrictions and advisories, most people are eager to stretch their legs anywhere other than home. A family-exclusive guided vacation lets you get back into traveling with a bubble of people you trust.

There are plenty of other benefits, too. Unlike a regular guided vacation package, you won't have to worry about interruptions from fellow travelers you don't know, or have to plan your day around their needs. The atmosphere is different from a typical tour where people are just getting acquainted by the time it's over. Most importantly, everything is just more fun with family—sharing photos back home isn't the same as being there together.

RELATED STORY: 12 surprising benefits of guided vacations

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4. Activities let you spend more time together

No matter how long you've been separated, you can only sit and chat with family for so long before people start getting bored. Breaking up the days with active family bonding time, like sightseeing or hiking, helps prevent people from going stir-crazy.

Guided vacations also help keep people from getting tired of one another with customized breakout time for smaller groups. That way, everyone doesn't have to agree on every activity or spend every moment together. For example, older family members can enjoy an evening wine tasting while the younger ones attend a local music festival. 

5. Small groups are great for novice travelers

Not everyone is a frequent or experienced traveler. Not everyone has a passport or can afford an international trip, either. Small-group adventures in 2021 and 2022 will focus on domestic destinations like the American Southwest, offering a high-end experience for travelers of all comfort levels. That makes these trips a great option for nearly anyone, especially those who are interested in traveling more and would like to do so with familiar faces.

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Embark on a Tauck Bridges Family Experience

Tauck Bridges family tours are designed to inspire wonder and enrich understanding. Every travel detail is taken care of, so you can share experiences and connect with each other through the magic of travel.

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Travel exclusively on a Trafalgar private group tour

With Trafalgar’s private groups option, you have the ability to explore and discover with ease, with every detail taken care of. This is exclusive group travel in true style, complete with a dedicated On-Road Team.

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AAA can help you navigate a changing travel world

Handling all the details is no small task when planning a vacation this year. A knowledgeable travel advisor will be familiar with the travel rules, testing requirements on departure and return, and shifting change and cancellation policies that could impact your trip.

Get a AAA travel advisor's help by calling our dedicated travel advisor phone line, submitting a request for assistance online, or finding a AAA branch near you.


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AAA Travel alert: Many travel destinations have implemented COVID-19–related restrictions. Before making travel plans, check to see if hotels, attractions, cruise lines, tour operators, restaurants, and local authorities have issued health and safety-related restrictions or entry requirements. The local tourism board is a good resource for updated information.

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