33 answers

Extended Family Vacation and Awkwardness Due to Costs

Hello. We have traveled several times with extended family and it has always been terrific. But there's some awkwardness and I wonder if anyone has suggestions. When we've gone before, our aunt has always paid the entire way--every cent--for her own children and grandchildren. Our parents have covered some of our costs, but not all. This made dining out a little weird when only some of us reached for our credit cards, but it was doable. Now our aunt wants us all to take anothervacation together, but our parents are no longer in a position to pay for ANY of our costs. We know, of course, that our cousins will be completely comped, but we will have to shell out for airfare, rental car, apartment, food, etc. It's not that we necessarily cannot afford it, but it will be a big outlay. Knowing that our cousins are getting a free trip may cause some resentment. What can we do? We love our cousins and want to travel with them, but don't want to fork over lots of money for a trip that wouldn't necessarily be our first choice vacation. There is no way to make this particular destination inexpensive, and anyway our aunt only travels to high-end spots. This will be an issue even if we go somewhere cheaper. Our cousins know it's awkward, but they're not about to pay for their own trip if their parents are willing to cover them.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Wow, I feel a little scolded for my resentment. I guess you all are right. We will have to take a hard look at how much airfare will cost for our three children and us, plus the cost of the hotel room, etc. If we can do it we would like to go with everyone, but if not they will go without us. And yes, I will be jealous--sue me! But thank you all for your advice. It is valuable.

Featured Answers

Going if you can't afford it is just 'keeping up with the Joneses' even if you are related to them.
If you can't afford it, don't go. It's not worth the debt.
I wouldn't feel resentful. Someone always has more than I do, but I'm not living on the street so I'm better off than others.

6 moms found this helpful

I wouldn't worry so much about how the cousins are getting paid... that's their business. What difference does it make in the end to you who'se pocket the money comes out of, as long as YOU aren't the one paying... I have lived with this my entire life. My cousins (who were my closest friends for over 20 years) always get financial help and stuff from their mom, who makes very good money and only has the 2 kids. I never get any help from my dad, because he has 4 of us, on a small budget. Do I begrudge them for what they get? No, because it's really none of my business.

If you can't afford to go, don't. If it's going to cause a strain, don't do it. Easy enough.

4 moms found this helpful

Be honest and say the trip is a bit expensive and don't beat around the bush and leave room for being talked into going away... IF money is truly the reason you do not want to go, then it's important to state as such as no one can or should be allowed to persuade you to take a vacation you cannot afford. Family time is one thing, but if you go to a place you cannot afford much less aren't necessarily into, then that will only make matters worse...

You have some power here... you really don't need to go ...

We have a cousin who inherited a lot of money and property and she is very well off and yet, by some standards, might be considered cheap and while the rest of the family shells out money to host holidays and what not, she does the bare minimum.. yet........will gladly come over to someone's house (even hitch a ride there) even though she herself has a new car.. and will eat and drink all that she likes.. (often without having brought anything) However, we know this is what she does.. we know she could afford more.. but we don't waste too much time on her... The point is, we could all waste time being resentful and believe me, everyone knows someone who gets more even though they have more.. but hey. it is what it is.. :) I definitely wouldn't go on that vacation if I couldn't afford it and IF it wasn't my own choice of destination...

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers

You have absolute control over resenting the cousins. Cross that off the list. They're getting comped. So what? If you are adults, you should have no desire to be comped, and no resentment about others arrangements. When our family went to visit my dad in Seattle last year, A) Yes, I would have rather gone to France B) We bought all our tickets, rental cars, paid for our own shopping and tourist stuff, whatever. We're adults.

When my younger brother, the adult dysfunctional surfer dude visits them-they pay for all his costs. So what? None of my business.

If you'd rather not spend that kind of cash to go on that particular vacation, then don't. We've turned down plenty of trips for the exact same reason. Your last sentence emphasizes again how your cousins aren't paying for themselves. Let it go, it's not the point. Decide if you can afford to go and want to or not.

9 moms found this helpful

I dont think your cousins trip being paid is really any of your business. Some people are just in a different financial situations these days. If you know that you need to pay to go, make the choice if it is worth it to spend time with family or save that money and do what you want with just your spouse and kids. Personally, if it was a place I didnt want to go I would plan my own trip with just my family.

8 moms found this helpful

I would just say "I wish I could go with you, but this year we just cannot afford it." Blame it on the economy if you want, or the cost of older kids, or whatever. You have no obligation to go somewhere you wouldn't choose, especially if it puts a strain on your budget. They should have the decency to not push the issue (especially if they don't have to pay for it).

Then maybe next year, plan on something you and your siblings would choose, including dinners and such. Have the itinerary pretty set early on, then invite them to come. Don't let your aunt's "high-end" proclivities change your plans. Just say "this is what we've decided to do. You're welcome to come with us, or you can do your own." If they really want to vacation with you, they should be willing to respect your budget (regardless of who pays for them)

7 moms found this helpful

This has nothing to do with how your cousins pay or don't pay. It is strictly a matter of can you afford this? If not, say "No."

My family has missed out on so many wonderful trips that all the rest of my siblings and their children went on together. They could afford them. We couldn't. Period. One of our children had huge medical expenses. We spent the money on what we felt was more important even though I sometimes think nostalgically of trips that we all would have loved.

But resentment? Hmmm..... hadn't thought about that. We each have our separate lives. Some have money. Some have debts. We have different joys. Different tragedies. And yet they are my siblings.

I just live my life and enjoy being with them when I can.

I do feel some grief that I cannot always share times with them that they share with each other, due to budget constraints. But my husband & I make our decisions based on OUR budgets - not theirs. When we could only afford some of us going, we have sometimes sent just the kids so they could at least be with THEIR cousins. Some of their cousins are wealthy. We are not. So far they haven't expressed any resentment of their cousins' lives. I hope they never do have resentment or envy as that is destructive. We simply accept different people have different lives. Period.

One recent event we could not afford to go to we at least had live video so we could share a party and meal with them. It was a lot of fun even though it was just over the computer. I got to talk with so many relatives I had not seen in a while. But we've saved up and will get to go to the next one.

6 moms found this helpful

What difference does it make if your cousins pay their own way or not? Since everyone knows that the aunt pays for the cousins there shouldn't be any awkwardness.

If you want to go and you can afford it you go otherwise tell them that you can't afford it this year or that you would prefer to go someplace else. Usually the person who pays calls the shots and since you are paying your own way now you also should have some input in regards to destination.

6 moms found this helpful

Going if you can't afford it is just 'keeping up with the Joneses' even if you are related to them.
If you can't afford it, don't go. It's not worth the debt.
I wouldn't feel resentful. Someone always has more than I do, but I'm not living on the street so I'm better off than others.

6 moms found this helpful

Well, of course...your aunt is going to pay for her own children. She isn't obligated to pay for you! If I were you, I would take a private family vacation...I am sure you would really, really enjoy it. Just think...you'd be able to pick where you went, stayed, ate, sight-see-ed (is that a word? Hah, it didn't spell check it!!!) etc, and you'd have more bonding time.

4 moms found this helpful

I would ignore the fact that the cousins are being comped. That doesn't figure into the equation. What you shouldn't ignore is that the trip is being planned by someone who spends more money than you are comfortable with - which makes the vacation too rich for your blood, so to speak.

It's time to tell your aunt that you are so sorry, but you cannot go on this trip. It's really important for you to do this now to establish precedent. If you don't, the trips will just get more and more expensive. This year, they'll go on their own. Next year, either they won't invite you or the aunt will think of a way to make things easier or more quitable for you in order for you to be willing to go.

Look, I had to do something similar, and it was hard. Our entire extended family on my husband's side used to go to a big beach house and split the costs. But the costs really weren't split - the other kids were older and started sleeping in separate rooms while my kids slept in sleeping bags in the big closet in our room, yet we were supposed to pay the same amount of money as the others. I had to talk about it with the family and tell them that my husband and I needed to be able to take a vacation separate from the family too, but the expenses of this extended family trip were so much that it hurt our ability to have a separate vacation, and we needed to work out a difference in the cost since we were only using one room. They "got" it, and after that, the cost was split dfferently. That made it so that couples and families like mine who used only one room got charged less. If I hadn't spoken up, nothing would have changed.

So don't let this go. Accept the possibility that you won't be going again, and if things do work out to your betterment, consider yourself lucky!


4 moms found this helpful

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