Is Leaving Inlaws Out of Family Vacation Unfair?

Updated on June 11, 2017
B.O. asks from Topeka, KS
21 answers

My husband and I are planning our first family vacation with our son. My father and step mother would like to join us. They love to travel and have the money to do so. My mother in law does not travel often and doesn't have the funds to do so. My husband is worried she will feel left out if we take a family vacation with my family and not her. I don't want to miss out on a trip to the beach, just because it might upset my mother in law. Thoughts? Is it fair to leave out the inlaws and let my family come?

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V.B.

answers from Jacksonville on

Life is not fair. PERIOD.

We have done "family" vacations off and on for years. Some with my family, some with my husband's. Never all together. Some of "my" family ones included siblings, some didn't, it was just us and my parents. Others were us, my parents and both siblings and they're spouses and kids.

With husband's family, they have included aunts/uncles even.

You do what works, when it works, with whom it works. Fair isn't even a question.

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N.G.

answers from Boston on

I love extended family events. I would invite them all-- if his mom really cannot afford it, pay for her! She raised him!

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K.G.

answers from Fort Myers on

I think you, your husband, and son should go alone. They raised their kids and had firsts with them. You guys should enjoy the first family vacation alone. If thats not the case, then I would say this to both sets of parents - this is where we are going, this is how much the hotel is. Be up front and tell them that the 3 of you would like alone time together. Don't rearrange your vacation because someone can't afford it or you feel bad. Do what works for you 3. Its a vacation - no stress.

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G.♣.

answers from Springfield on

We've taken vacations with my family. We've taken vacations with my in-laws. We'It've taken vacations by ourselves.

I don't feel the need to include every family member in everything that we do, so I do not believe it would be unfair.

ETA - You are also under no obligation to include your father and step mother. If you want to, that's one thing, but you don't HAVE to. It's important for you and your husband to have a vacation with your son - just the three of you. If you do travel with family, I would encourage you to spend some time with just the three of you.

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S.B.

answers from Houston on

You can vacation with whomever you want. We have vacationed with my family and with my inlaws.

I am not advocating paying for MIL to go. If you do that, she might then expect it every time. You could invite her and tell her the cost. If she isn't able to afford it that is on her.

FYI - you don't have to include your dad and step mom. It could just be your little family. Nothing wrong with that either.

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J.B.

answers from Boston on

Of course it's fine! We've done some vacations with just our core family, a couple where my in-laws joined us for part or all of a vacation, and have had a couple where my parents joined us or we met other relatives from my side for part of it. You are under no obligation to provide for vacations for anyone else. Enjoy!

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J.D.

answers from New York on

Can't you just ask your mother in law if she would like to come and whether she can afford to come and leave it up to her? That way you don't have any guilt about not inviting her....

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M.G.

answers from Portland on

We vacation with my family often.

We live near my husband's family. We have never traveled with them.

We do what works for our family - we're not responsible for everyone else. Invite who you would enjoy traveling with. You don't have to invite anyone, if you don't want to.

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J.K.

answers from Wausau on

If I were to tell you that we are taking a 'family vacation' what I mean is my own household. Me, my husband, kids. We don't like group travel, so vacation with either set of parents, or in a group of extended family, isn't part of our life.

In your shoes, I would gently tell dad and stepmom that this is is a trip for just me, my husband, and son. But that's about me standing by my preferences and not wanting to set a precedent. It would also eliminate any reason at all for your in-law(s) to feel left out or slighted, however. Leave everyone out and it is fair again. Heh.

What do you want, now and going forward? What does your husband want? Remember that above all, you two are the only people that get to decide these things. You're a team, so you have to decide and agree together. This might require a compromise.

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D.D.

answers from Boston on

Well my thinking is its better to invite everyone and let them decide if they want to come than to not invite and have hard feelings. So invite his mom and let her decide. If she can't attend then make sure to email or text her pictures and videos so she'll be able to see your son enjoy his vacation. You can also plan a special grandma/grandson outing before or after your vacation so she has some special time with him.

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W.W.

answers from Washington DC on

Welcome to Mamapedia, B.!

Why not do this - plan a vacation that your mother in law can afford?

Go on this one with your family.

Your mother in law should understand that you can't afford to pay for her way too. Just plan something she can afford.

GO!! HAVE FUN!!!

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M.D.

answers from Pittsburgh on

Travel this summer with your extended family. And plan a vacation next summer with your MIL (maybe one within driving distance that won't be a financial strain for her) that your family is not invited on. Basically, establish a precedent of taking turns.

Or, tell your extended family that you are establishing your OWN family traditions, and want to take your first vacation with just your core family. Then you, your husband, and your son go to the beach on your own. Later, you can plan a smaller, more inexpensive vacation and invite the entire extended family (both sides) along.

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N.B.

answers from Oklahoma City on

If you're taking one in law I think it's only fair to invite all in laws. If the one alone doesn't have the money to do so then I think you should figure out a way to include her. I mean, who wouldn't want to take a trip to the beach if it was to a condo or rental or something similar.

If I were going to the beach we have friends that do condos. When we've been invited to go with my friends they cook all means in the condo, don't do much except the beach and stuff so if we go it's basically a free out of town weekend.

If she "could" afford to contribute financially then I would think she'd want to contribute to the food budget or gasoline or snacks or something. But if she literally has no money to give towards this vacation then I'd invite her to join in and not expect anything.

If the father and step mom feel slighted due to her not paying anything then I'd uninvite them all.

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S.S.

answers from Atlanta on

If your mother in law cannot afford the trip? I would still go without her. If she whines about it? Tell her to help plan a trip she can afford and then go.

We have vacationed with Tyler's family. We have vacationed with my family. It all works out in the end. There should be no hurt feelings, in my opinion.

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Z.B.

answers from Toledo on

Personally, I would politely tell your dad that this vacation is just for you, your husband and your son. This is your first family vacation, right? You really don't need anyone else to join you.

But, if you and your husband are ok with your father and step mom coming, that doesn't automatically mean it would be rude not to include your MIL.

I'm wondering, would your husband actually prefer no one else come with you guys?

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J.C.

answers from Philadelphia on

You could invite her while telling her how much the trip would cost.

My parents have a condo on the beach. Therefore we always spend time on vacation with my family. My husband's family I believe is just happy we get to enjoy ourselves at the he shore. No jealousy there.

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S.H.

answers from Santa Barbara on

If your husband knows she doesn't travel much and is low on fund, does he want to help pay for her to go?

Are your parents more like the hosts (getting a beach house and you guys will pitch in)? If this is the case it is easier to tell her that your parents have planned a trip and invited you, your husband and child. This should help with her hurt feelings.

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T.S.

answers from San Francisco on

I'm not sure I understand, if your mother in law can't come then none of you can go on vacation, is that what he is suggesting? That doesn't really make any sense.
There are many ways to have a relationship and spend time together that don't involve travel.
I'm sure as a grown woman your husband's mom understands her financial limitations, and yours, and doesn't expect you guys to only do activities that she can participate in!

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S.S.

answers from Chicago on

I think under the circumstances if you and your husband can find a way to fund your mother's trip it would be a wonderful way to work it out. She actually may not want to anyway, but at least your husband will feel better that she was included. I tried to explain to my son years back, when you get married you are actually marrying the family, too. Your husband's mother loved him enough to raise him to be a wonderful husband to you. What a wonderful gift it would be to him to know that you care enough to encourage it.

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D.B.

answers from Boston on

You don't want to start a precedent for everyone going on every vacation with you, so do some overall thinking ahead of time of what you see your summer trips (or other time of year trips) looking like. Also take into account people's likes/dislikes, mobility issues, food choices and more. But if you take them ALL with you this time, what will you do the next time, and the time after that? Be careful about what cans of worms you open up.

There's no nice way to say to your MIL that you've already planned a vacation with your parents. So I'd start out by saying you're thinking of a trip with MIL next _____ (choose a month or season) and wonder if she'd like to do X with you. For example, a road trip to a place where you rent a house is not all that expensive - we used to take my mother on some of our trips to Cape Cod (1-2 hours away from here), and we just rented a house with an extra bedroom. We cooked meals in the house, made sandwiches for the beach, and so on, so a lot of the daily expenses weren't much more than we'd have had at home. It didn't cost any extra to put her in the car with us either. It worked because my mother likes the beach and doing things like mini-golf, and also enjoys spending time on her own with a book. So we could go do an activity she didn't enjoy (e.g. go-karts) and she was fine about not going along. She also was thrilled to just observe her grandson doing things she didn't choose to do personally. She usually took out all out to dinner one night, maybe two, as her contribution. So see if you can plan something like that with her, or at least open the discussions with her about what she would enjoy.

If the trip with your parents is something she would love but cannot afford, you'll have to look at perhaps paying for her on another trip. But it depends on what would hurt her pride and what wouldn't.

If you're going on some expensive family vacation involving airfare and hotels and restaurants and amusement park admissions, there's no real nice way to tell her she's not invited because she can't afford it. So DO have something else lined up to at least offer her. And have your husband do the asking.

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B.C.

answers from Norfolk on

No.
Actually, I think once people are married and have kids - it's ok for the newest family unit to bond on vacations without the whole extended clan coming along.
I mean sure, every once in awhile - have a family reunion and invite absolutely everyone.
But for the most part, don't tie yourself up with massive extended family vacations.
For me at least, it's not a relaxing vacation if I have to deal with a lot of relatives.
AND - do not start paying for people to go.
Once you start that - some feel entitled to dip their hands into your wallet whether you like it or not.

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