Should Dad Keep Coming on Vacations?
“My dad would really like to vacation with our family, but I really cannot afford the additional accommodations he would require. We save each year for the family vacation. We have two children and only need one hotel room and the family car. Adding my father means a larger car, an extra room, and additional expense that might make our vacation more expensive than we can afford. How do I handle this situation? Do I ask my father to help pay?"
Honesty is always the best approach in a situation like yours. Start the conversation with your spouse. How important is it for your father to be included? Can a less expensive vacation be planned? Would you be comfortable asking your father to pay the extra cost of including him in your plans? Is your father even aware of the financial burden this is placing on you?
Start with the actual cost of including your father. Add up the extra transportation cost, food, and lodging. Subtract the amount he typically covers, if there is any. Include in the subtracted amount any child care that he provides or contributions that he has historically made when you travel together. You should then have the actual extra cost of bringing your father along on vacation with you. If the amount is minimal, say under $100, your concern with your father is likely a result of the fact that you are already vacationing beyond your means. If bringing Dad with you is costing hundreds to one thousand dollars or more, it is time to ask Dad if he can afford to pay part or all of his share.
Sometimes, if we have family members who have done better financially, they might assume that you can carry some of their cost. Perhaps your father thinks that the extra amount is no burden for you. He likely does not know how you feel or what your financial situation really is.
I would approach it this way. Plan two vacations.
1. One that you can afford if you are also covering Dad's expenses
2. One that you can afford if Dad covers his cost
Bring those choices to Dad, and see which he prefers. You will then know if he desires you to pay for the entire vacation or if he is willing to cover his share for a nicer vacation.
These situations and conversations are never easy. Be honest in telling Dad what you can afford and what you cannot. Do not let him challenge your other spending habits. If you are earning the money, it is only the business of you and your spouse as to how you spend it.
I wish you many happy, memory-making vacations together.
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