Whether it is a family reunion or a larger group of friends, there are some tips you may want to consider when planning. Although it can be a last minute get away, it is best to plan ahead. Get started a year in advance. Some resorts book up quickly. So as soon as you know the dates, start planning.

1 When to reserve the cabins
As I mentioned, reserve the cabins early. Many resorts have their availability on-line. You can see how many cabins are available, the size of them and most have photos of the cabins. You can decide if you want the cabins close together or a little more spaced. It might be good to have most of them close by. This makes it easier for your group and also for the other resort guests that aren’t with your group. You can keep most of the outside activities centralized.

Camp Jack the Horse ResortWhen you reserve resort cabins, a deposit would be required. Many times with a larger group a larger deposit is required. Your resort owner can tell you about their policy. Perhaps you are footing the bill for everyone, that’s great. But usually it is split up between the group. You can either put all the cabins under one name and pool all the deposits together or each family/group can reserve give their own deposits. Be aware, there is usually that somewhat unorganized member of the family. You would hate to have their reservation cancelled because they didn’t reserve the cabin or pay the deposit. Getting a financial commitment from each group relieves the financial burden from just one person. So, if you are making the reservation and making the deposit, consider collecting the deposits or the full amount of the reservation ahead of time from the members in your group so you don’t have to worry about it.

2 Who is staying where?
It's always a good idea to know who is staying where before you arrive. Minnesota Resort owners are good about having either photos of the bedrooms or at least a description of what is in each bedroom. So, make sure that if you specifically need twin beds, make sure to assign the cabin that has it. You could do the first-come-first-served method, but why start out with arguments before the vacation already started! Think about putting the families with small children either close to where many may congregate so you can keep a watchful eye on them or the furthest away so they may not be bothered by the noise that a larger group may create. Think about early vs late risers or early-to-bed vs night owls. Grandma and grandpa may want to be in a cabin by themselves if they aren’t used to having children and lots of noise. Whatever you choose, make sure it is something you thought through vs just happening because of lack of planning.

3 Activities planning
Some group prefer to having nothing planned and just go with the flow. Other groups like to have scheduled activities. If your group is the latter, then make sure to think ahead and have cards, games, dice, supplies for an art project, movies and popcorn for movie night, awards for fishing contests, books and/or magazines for quiet time, scavenger hunt sheets, etc. If your plans include a lot of outside activities, check with your resort owner, they can have suggestions as to where it is best done or where it may be least intrusive to other guests. You do need to keep the other guests in mind. They may even have a room, lodge or building that you can use. No harm in asking. Click for some ideas for activities.

4 Communicating with your Minnesota resort and your group
 Especially with a larger group, it is important to keep in communication with your resort. Keep them posted about who is coming and staying in each cabin. If you are making all the arrangements, make sure that your group knows the resort policies. Do they allow pets, jet skis, visitors or music outside at night? If there is a specific check in time, make sure that everyone in your group is aware of it. Vacations and reunions are important and should be fun. Keeping it organized is a great way to help.

Reduce the stress in vacation planning

So, go ahead and plan that family reunion or large group vacation. But, make it as stress-free as possible. Reserving the right cabins, knowing the resort lay out and being prepared will certainly help.

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Submitted by Karen Senger
Retired Resort owner of 17 years, but still loves resorts

Photo Credits: Little Boy Lodge, Camp Jack the Horse, Two Inlets Resort

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