Pick a Point Person
You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen, right? Well, that goes double for planning a vacation. One or two people should be in charge of coordinating the trip, including finding the lodging, booking any tickets you'll need ahead of time (amusement parks, museums, boat rides), and making any other arrangements. "This person sweats the details before the trip and cracks the whip during," says Paul Eisenberg, editorial director of Fodor's Travel. Otherwise, there will be chaos and nothing will get settled. The leader can also appoint others to help out later on: For instance, your cousin Ed will call people each night to gather them for dinner, and Uncle Bill will put together the Thursday-afternoon tennis game.
If you live close enough, have a group powwow to decide on the leader and brainstorm preliminary arrangements. Most of the time the organizer will naturally emerge. In our case, there were two: My friend Stephanie and I did most of the legwork and passed the information along to the rest of the group.