18Hr Drive for reunion....with Guests?

Updated on July 12, 2016
T.H. asks from Philadelphia, PA
27 answers

I'm scheduled for my family reunion at the end of the month. It's an 18hr drive. My son is in NC and my daughter is home with me. She will of course be driving down w me the first 9hrs just to grab up her brother. Afterwards, it'll be the three if us driving to Alabama. Yes, we're quite excited. I am not only looking forward to our destination but the mommy-daughter time before approaching NC as well as the time the 3 of us will share while on the road together the remaining 8hrs.

So today, my cousins step daughter left a VM on my cell. She wanted to know if her and her children could ride with us. Honestly, I don't really think I want "additional" company. I don't really know if I even want to think about the inconvenience of anything that may come along with that. I just don't know because I don't really know her nor does she know me. We've only been in contact the past 3 weeks.

Sidebar #1: Months ago, a few cousins asked me if I wanted to rent a large van w them, to drive down together taking turns driving. Once there, we'd rent our own vehicles. I respectfully declined as that made no sense to me in that I saw no need for me to rent a car when I had one already. Additionally, I didn't want any of us to be uncomfortable in a van for an 18hr period even with breaks here and there. That would probably create complaints and moodiness lol

Sidebar #2: I'm a pretty giving person, BUT, I'm tired, (emotionally) and I really need a break from people who always WANT something of me. Thus I am looking for some quality time just amongst my children. I love to drive long distance and need to be in my own head space lol where I can be 100% myself w/o distractions.

What are your thoughts on this potential scenario?

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So What Happened?

Update 2- Some of you ladies, gave me quite a chuckle. Thank you for your thoughts and well wishes. We're going to have a blast! We'll be in a lovely house w 3bdrms and a pool. There will be a live music festival there too. Who doesn't love beautiful, live music? :). I will be safe on the road along w being attentive. No worries.

And I'm glad to have followed my heart and desire for our trip by declining her request.
You've all been quite helpful.

Update 1- Yes, I was definitely polite.

Her stepdad, who is my cousin, gave her my #. She's been asking for favors ever since.

LOL @ NO THANK YOU *in caps* Thanks Wild Woman. I needed a chuckle.

Truthfully ladies, I already told her 'no'. And yes, I told her EXACTLY why. I stated that I wanted quality time w my children. I guess I asked here anyway because I wanted to see your viewpoints. I guess I wanted confirmation that I wasn't being selfish, but actually being proactive in "doing me" :)

Her children are 5 and 8.

Thanks ladies :-)

Featured Answers


answers from Columbia on

Yeah, no. Three in the car plus luggage is enough. "Aww, we already have a full car...but I look forward to seeing you there!"

5 moms found this helpful


answers from New York on

I am with you. Tell them you are sorry but you have made plans to stop along the way I.e., visit friends, sightsee etc. Don't feel guilty.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Appleton on

Why can't she get there on her own? She can call Greyhound and get tickets for a good price, they can sleep on the bus and someone can pick them up at the bus station. She could also drive herself and the kids.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Springfield on

It's ok to say no. Just say that you've already made plans to spend some much needed quality time with your daughter and son.

There should be no harm in her asking you, but you shouldn't feel obligated to say yes.

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Oh my, for starters you could not pay me to drive or ride anywhere for 9 or 18 hours.
If anything is over a 3 hour drive here, we fly. I hate road trips.

That said... I am glad to see that you used your backbone and said no.

I "get" that you want the quality time with your daughter and it is a good opportunity for some great conversations and bonding.

I also would never go for the renting a van idea. I like to always have my own transportation when I am away. Even when I fly to visit family, I STILL rent a car because I don't like feeling "stuck" if I need to get out for a break, leave for some reason or another and I do not like to rely on others for that transportation.

Hopefully, you will not be so emotionally drained when you start this drive so you can be 100% attentive to the road, conditions and the crazy people out there driving.

Added: I would NOT be ok with someone giving my phone number out to someone I do not know only for that person I do not know to hit me up for something.

Have a safe trip.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

At my age (48) I have learned how to say no, with a smile, and not feel guilty about it.
You know your own comfort level so do what works for you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I'm usually on the side of "the more the merrier", but not this time. That many people in a vehicle together for that long of a drive sounds like it would be awful, especially if they are nearly strangers. Tell her you were planning some family bonding time with your own children.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

"Oh I'm sorry but that just won't work with my schedule but I look forward to seeing you at the reunion". Your cousin's step daughter can want anything she wants but that doesn't mean you have to comply. Your plans sound wonderful. Don't let someone else ruin them for you.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I think that if you want to say 'No, I'm sorry but that's not going to work out for us' then just say it politely and don't give it another thought.

I'm kind of wondering who gave her your number so she'd think to call and ask favors of you.
That's pretty forward for a relative stranger even if they are distantly related.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Las Vegas on

It's okay to say no. Really, it is.

I don't know how big your vehicle is, but you are already three with you and your children. You mention cousin's step-daughter and her children, so that's AT LEAST six people. Then, throw in all of the luggage for six people, snacks, personal items, pillows for kids who want to sleep, car seats, if needed, and truly, where are you supposed to put all of these people and things? I can't imagine a more miserable trip, no matter how big your vehicle or what your relation to the additional travelers.

Politely, but firmly tell her that you and your children already have plans for your time together, so you won't be able to travel with others. I would not offer any other explanations, and if she continues to ask, just repeat, "I'm sorry. That won't work for our plans for this trip." Repeat once, if necessary, and then engage no further.

It is completely understandable that you want this precious, uninterrupted time with your children. Get back to cousin's step-daughter sooner rather than later so she knows she has to make her own travel arrangements, and then think no more about it.

Enjoy your kids, the trip, and your family reunion!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I started feeling claustrophobic just reading your post!

Ya, it would be a "no" for me

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I would say NO THANK YOU. I am truly looking forward to quality time with my kiddos.

Let it drop. You're on your own schedule and plans. Maybe you're going to take a side-bar visit? Who knows. But I would just tell the truth. I'm sorry - I truly looking forward to one-on-one time with my kids.

Good luck!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I agree with the others. The purpose of the reunion itself is to get to know new people, like her. And she's a pretty distant relative at this point.

Say no, with as little extra info as possible. "We already have plans for our special bonding trip and it won't work out to have so many people involved. I'm sure you understand." If you really, really feel you need to add something, say that you want the freedom to do some side trips with your kids, stop when they need to, etc. And it sounds like you aren't exactly going directly anyway, but taking a bit of a detour to get your son. If he's 8 and not living with you, then you really need this special time!

It's too complicated to ride such a long distance with people who don't know each other, their habits, their personalities. I assume she asked to "ride along" rather than "help with the expenses, the driving, and the hotel bill for the overnight." That's a clue that she's a user. Everyone just needs to get there under their own steam.

Try not to tell her that "You've asked, I've answered, yet you keep asking for favors." Even though she deserves it! It will make the reunion complicated and drama-filled! Just leave it that "I'll look forward to seeing you and everyone else at the reunion." After that, I wouldn't even answer her calls - you don't have to go to every fight you're invited to! Just avoid her!

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I suggest you ask your cousin to not give out your phone number or any personal information without talking first with you. I received a call for my adult daughter. I took a message and their phone number. Then gave my daughter the information.

Your cousin may have thought it was OK because you're family. If you don't know her and haven't become friends, why would your cousin think that you might say yes?

Even among friends, I don't give out a phone number unless I know it's OK. It's just the polite way to get permission before giving another's phone number to someone else to avoid situations like this.

I think both your cousin were presumptious to give your phone number and for his step-daughter to ask favors. I would have a friendly conversation with your cousin.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

I don't think I would feel the least bit bad about saying "no". Have a fabulous trip!!!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

Please just say no. You've only been in contact for 3 weeks and she wants you to do this? Does she know the cousins? Tell her to talk to them if she does.

This is a really long trip. You will be with your two kids through a lot of it. That's enough.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I like how Gidget would word it. I tend to keep it as close to the truth as possible myself (otherwise I feel awkward) but just keep it kind. You don't owe any long explanations and don't have to justify yourself.
I agree - it's not bad she asked you (some people would like company) but in your case, you'd like to catch up with your kids. So just say that. It's nothing personal :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

Just say no.

If you feel the need to explain, there are plenty of excuses. I really do not like driving with a packed car to I want alone time with my kids.

I'm curious as to how old her children are. Are they young? Are they going to have you be the grown up who handles everything from meals to gas? Are they responsible adults who want to help? I am guessing not, because they would be able to drive themselves if they were responsible.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

uummm no. i don't like having others around on a long raod trip. would prefer it be it be just my family and would of told her no just like you did. and sounds like shes kinda needy and i would continue to tell her no in the future

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Baton Rouge on

Just say, "No, that doesn't work for me."

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Nope - I wouldn't do it any I wouldn't feel bad.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Wausau on

I don't travel with people outside of my household members. it never goes well and I'm perpetually irritated. We always opt to take our own vehicle even when offered a ride.

My advice was going to be to do exactly what you said you did in the SWH. :-) Have a lovely time with your kids!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

It's ok to simply say no.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Fe on

I would feel bad too. But I would say no, I'm really looking forward to this one on one time with my kids. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Amarillo on

You did the right thing. You want time with your children. The cousin has a 5 and 8 year old and they do not know you.

This cousin keeps asking you to do things but does not state or offer any monetary assistance. Do keep her at arm's length and be respectful. But because you are family does not constitute immediate assistance. She can learn how to do things for her family and get there on her own or don't attend.

You are not responsible for anything she does. The only allegiance you have is to your grown children.

Enjoy your road trip and make happy memories of what takes place. Enjoy the family reunion and meet other members that you might want to further a closer bond.

If you did what they all wanted, I would think of "Vacation" with Chevy Chase on their way to California and all that they endure on the road.

the other S.

PS I love family but family is who I choose. Life is too short for all this drama.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

Just tell her your car would be overly crowded but you are hopeful to see here there and get to know her better, and leave it at that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

Tell her that you are planning on stopping at every little shop and in almost every little town you go through so you and your daughter can find some wonderful things. That you're planning on adding at least a couple more days to the trip and staying in some really nice hotels so that you guys can relax and pamper yourselves. Eat out in nice restaurants, etc...additional costs and time spent on the road will make her not want to come.

Make up stuff or tell her no, flat out, that you and your daughter don't want company.

1 mom found this helpful
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