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!

D.

4 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

Maybe it's time for a family vacation without the aunt and cousins. Do you feel like you're somewhat obligated to go because "this is what we always do"? Take the budget that works for you, find a place that works with that budget, and take just your own family. Then find other ways to see your cousins during the year. You don't say if they live a long distance away and this is the one and only chance to visit with them each year. If the live close enough, get together with them other than on a vacation; if they are far away, plan a separate trip to their town to see them where they are, or invite them to spend a long weekend with or near you, rather than saying yes to a vacation at some "high end spot" as you put it.

It sounds a bit like your aunt is somewhat inconsiderate. She has not asked your family where you'd like to go, or what you can afford, or whether you would like to be involved in the planning, has she? If not, she is basically running her own trip for her own family and saying, "Come if you want." If you're not part of the planning and she doesn't consider your budget or your own "first choice vacation," she likely will be fine if you say, "Thanks, but we're doing just a small family vacation this time. But we'd love to see you for Labor Day weekend...." etc.

You may be surprised to find how nice it is to vacation with just your own family and no one else's schedule to consider!

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

In a way, I don't blame your cousins! My mother gave my husband and me a trip to Europe one time and we sure weren't about to turn down a gift like that!

But that's not something we can do on our own - and this trip is not something you can do on your own. So just say, "I know it will be a wonderful trip, but the budget won't let us go with you this year." Make your reply short and sweet.

Try to be happy that your cousins can still go, thanks to their mama/grandmama. (You'd want them to be happy for you if the places were traded.)

Meanwhile, think what your family can do, within the budget, to have a good time. Don't think of what you've done - try to aim at something completely different - something your relatives might not even think about. It doesn't take a big cash outlay to make family memories that will last a lifetime.

4 moms found this helpful

Somehow I dont' understad why you would feel so awkward. Are you all working adults? What about your cousins?
Your aunt is their mother, so they get more from auntie's pocket than you get form your own mom's. It sounds like you are jealous.
If you can't afford the expenditure then don't go. Just decline politely and say that the huge famly vacation is not in the budget but you will certainly see them at Christmas.

And in our family my uncle paid for my cousins. They all had good jobs. My dad would get in the car and say things like I sure hope you girls at 25 can afford to buy a meal, there is no reason for Jack to be still shelling out for those three. Dad set the bar for me when I was 12. I do not expect him to pay for anything if we go on a vacatioin together, in fact more often than not, we pay for him and mom.

4 moms found this helpful

I suggest that you just decline. It sounds like the only issue is that you have to pay your own way when your cousins' parents will pay for them. There is no way around this. I think it's great that your aunt is willing to bring her children and grandchildren on vacation. If you can't deal with it gracefully, you just need to decline being a part of the vacation.

I think it's kind of rude that you think your cousins should pay their own way.... Their MOM and DAD are paying for them. It's not like your aunt is paying for all the cousins but you!

4 moms found this helpful

Never do what you cant afford to do. Just politely bow out this time. Since you guys like doing these family outings yearly, you should have a piggy bank and save up for the vacations.... that's what most of us have to do. You got spoiled by your generous parents but you arent entitled, remember that.

3 moms found this helpful

you just have to be frank. tell them that the high end destination is out of your price range, and suggest some spots that you can comfortably accommodate. if that doesn't work for them, bow out.
we've had similar situations. my dad has paid to rent a place for the whole family sometimes, but we've all had to figure out how to get there. we did a very expensive one two years ago, but we all agreed in advance on it before we booked it.
you really do have to communicate.
khairete
S.

3 moms found this helpful

I'd say you need to decide to go or not. I don't think it's inappropriate to have a discussion beforehand about where to go and being cost conscious. I DO think it'd be inappropriate to say anything about "the aunt" paying for her family. Rather you could say something like, we'd love to have some input on where we go, stay and eat as we really love going on vacations with the whole family, however we're also trying to be cost conscious.

If the selected destination, hotel, etc is beyond your budget, then politely decline to go. If anyone asks why, just say that it's out of your budget, but you wish everyone else a great time and can't wait to see pictures.

This is how things were handled with our large group of friends...as families grew, jobs changed, etc it became harder and harder to please everyone. It seemed like the best choice was to have one family be the "planners" each year, that way everyone got to have a final say on where to go, make the arrangements, etc. If one family didn't want to go, couldn't afford it or had other obligations, they would simply decline before any arrangements were finalized.

Perhaps these ideas will help you.

Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful

As adults with your own children you're still traveling, frequently with cousins and aunts? You must have a very close extended family. My approach would be - if theyr'e going somewhere you'd like to go then go, but you certainly don't always have to dine together. But if there's somewhere you'd rather go for the money you'll be spending - then go wherever you want.

We have never been on a vacation that anyone else paid for. My best friend in the world has wealthy parents who take her and her sisters, and all their kids away to some exotic locale every year! We don't even have family in vacation areas of the country - while my brother and SIL have family in Greece, in Florida, etc - so once htey pay for airfare they're good to go. Oh well! We take "mini-van vacations" to places on the east coast where we can afford to go - we hike mountains, lay on sandy beaches, take boat rides, float on lakes, tour cities and go to museums - we have a good time and make memories - and don't go in to debt living up to someone else's idea of what a vacation should be. ;o) As much as I wish I had someone to pay for my vacation I don't - I'm happy for those who do - but glad I don't have any string attached and can do whatever we want to do.

2 moms found this helpful

You have no choice but to talk to your aunt and tell her that you will not be able to go anymore to these destinations as a family-if she wants to go with her immediate crew that is fine but your family can't join her due to costs. Its not something that should even start a fight or be embaressing-it is what it is. You can't afford it. I would suggest if you really all want to get together rent a house somewhere -(lake, beach) that you all can chip in for and keep the cost down by driving and buying groceries. It could even be just for a weekend.

And I wouldn't fault your cousins...you sound like all of you would take a freebie from your parents if they were willing. Nor should you fault your aunt-lots of parents seem to still pay for family vacay if they can.

2 moms found this helpful

IMO if you can not afford to take the trip then don't. Or wait until you can afford to go. Everyone is in a different financial situation. You need to put the needs of your family first. As disappointing as it may be not to go this time...There will always be other opportunities that will come up or you can create. It is what is. Nowadays including myself have to be careful with our budgets..The economy is still not great and people are struggling. Unless the auntie and uncle want to pay you'll have to pass on this one. Best wishes.

2 moms found this helpful

If the trip isn't your first choice and you can't neccessarily afford it without going into debt, then don't go. Be honest if they ask. We have missed several family trips because of the money and I think everyone understands. If not, oh well. We are in the same boat, my cousins folks all have money and pay for them. This summer is our first trip we are taking with all of them and most likely our last. It will cost us well over $3000 and that to us is a lot of money. We have put it on our CC and will have it paid of before we travel in June.

1 mom found this helpful

If you will feel awkward don't go. Or go and pay your own way.

1 mom found this helpful

If you can't afford your vacation then you don't go. As for the cousins, hey if their parents will pay good for them. Yours cannot afford to help anymore. That is life. I would say, "sorry, that is not in the budget".

1 mom found this helpful

That is wonderful that you get to enjoy these special family outings. Are your parents planning to go and can they cover their own expenses? The only resentment would be on your part--can you and your husband get over it or will it spoil your trip?? That might be the deciding point. If your cousins are feeling awkward, perhaps they might offer to pay for one meal for the entire group (not just you) or fund one activity for everyone. You could also choose to skip one activity or meal to cut down on your costs. You all do not have to spend every moment together on your trip. We fund most vacation travel expenses for our kids, but they always offer to (or insist to) cover a few of the costs (a round of golf for dad & son) or volunteer to host a meal & organize it (like a beach picnic or breakfast by the pool)

1 mom found this helpful

I think you are "normal" for feeling the way you do. Don't apologize to anyone. If your aunt truly cares about you and your family, she will understand that it is a strain for you to travel this year. Explain it to her and ease your mind. Let them go without you, be a little jealous (aren't we all at times?), and then plan a less expensive vacation for you and your family. Life is too short to be mad, sad or unhappy! Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

You've gotten a lot of answers but my way of looking at it would be your cousins and aunts can afford to take this trip and I think your parents can. Question is if you can. Ignore HOW the cousins can afford the trip. Then if you can afford it, go and you can be a bit jealous, but I don't think resentful is fair re: your cousins. You used to take the money from your parents so you can't judge your cousins like you seem to be doing a bit. You're just not as lucky anymore versus you don't have respect for them being adults and being treated etc. If you can't afford the trip, then it's simple, you don't go or only go for part etc. Your aunt will have to think about what's most important to her - all traveling together or going exactly where she wants. It then becomes her problem, not yours.

1 mom found this helpful

This one is easy. If you can't afford to go, don't go. Tell your aunt you can't afford it this year. Maybe you can go on a less expensive vacation with your family this year.

I'm going to be really blunt because I just can't believe the audacity of your attitude here.

Why would you resent your cousins for an arrangement they have with with someone who can afford to cover them and has a tradition of doing so just because your own parents can't afford it this year? That's misplaced resentment, don't you think? And quite a bit of self-entitled attitude if you ask me. No one owes you a free ride on any portion of your vacation. And just because your parents can't cover you, there's no reason why your cousins arrangement with your aunt shouldn't remain in place.

So you either suck it up and start saving your pennies or you don't go this year and start saving up for next year.

I would not do it. Like you said, you would not pick the location or the high cost hotels. Simplyi say "We can't afford it." If your aunt is flush, she may offer to pay for everything and not mind.

be truthful say not this year money tight maybe next time its your vacation do what you want

Well, I don't think that there should be any resentment, your cousins' parents are paying for their trip and your parents can't pay for yours. Your aunt certainly shouldn't pay for your trip. I could understand if your parents paid for your sibling and not you, or your grandparents paid for your cousins and not you.
However, the financial aspect, I do understand. We are not in a position to take vacations, 20 years married and that has simply never been in our budget. I'm sorry to say but you may just need to bow out. If you can't afford this vacation, don't go. If anyone asks why, let them know the truth, that you simply can't afford expensive vacations. The issue should not be whether or not your cousins pay for their own trip, it shouldn't matter whether they pay or their parent pays, the issue is, if the whole family wants to vacation together, then a place that everyone can afford must be chosen. If they want you to be able to join, then aunt must consider your vacation budget. You do need to get over the resentment of the cousins and the free trip. I am sorry but that's just the way the world works. I have a very close friend whose inlaws take their kids and grandkids on fabulous vacations. I don't resent it. My sister's MIL has paid for vacations for her and BIL, I don't resent knowing that she gets free vacations to Aruba and all my husband and I can afford is to go camping. Your aunt is more than entitled to treat her children to a vacation. If it brings up feelings of sour grapes, then you need not to go on these trips and plan your own vacations. Your cousins should not have to pay for their own trip just to make you feel better, it's really not your business how they are affording the vacation, you need to worry about you.

"Due to financial issues, we will not be able to join you this year." Go some-
where affordable with your family.

I think it's kind of terrible that your aunt feels that since she's paying the way for a lot of people she's entitled to pick the locations of all these vacations. If it's out of your reach then bow out and spent your time and money on somewhere that you and your family will enjoy.

And I can see that you've kind of been admonished for your feelings. I can understand where everyone is coming from however I think you are entitled to feel how you feel.

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