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Traveling with your adult kids and their significant others

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Replies to: Traveling with your adult kids and their significant others

  • collage1collage1 1670 replies69 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,739 Senior Member
    First D to have a long term, serious bf so we just had our first trip this year to Thailand. It all went well but was different and changed the family dynamic (not a complaint).

    Hardest part for me occurred when we were on a full day tour. Lunch concluded and we were told to go ahead to the next activity. I looked around to count heads and bf smiled and said, "Gf is in the restroom. You go ahead and I'll wait for her and we'll catch up." I thought, "Hey, that's MY job!". I realized my little girl really wasn't my little girl anymore. Bittersweet.
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  • CountingDownCountingDown 13303 replies110 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,413 Senior Member
    So how do you all handle traveling with adult children when there is a significant income disparity between the two young adults? We are going to visit S2 this summer in his Eastern European country and then travel someplace else, and S1 is actually interested in joining us. S1 makes many multiples of S2's income. Feels weird if S1 offers to pay for dinner or some activities when S2 is not in the position to also contribute. OTOH, it feels infantilizing to pay for S1's expenses when he is more than able to do so. And OTOHOH, S2 speaks the language and will be able to translate and communicate with the local population.

    Just feels like no matter what we do, we slip into old roles here, esp when DH gets involved. Am I overthinking this?
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  • jym626jym626 54618 replies2834 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 57,452 Senior Member
    Good question, @CountingDown . When we ski, I usually pay for the lodging for everyone and call it their holiday gift. If your S1 is paying his airfare to/from S2’s, thats a significant cost. Maybe once you are all together you can pay for meals, and if S1 wants to help, let him. In our family, both S1 and S2 can afford to pay, but when the situations arise, S2 tends to be one to grab a check or order a round of drinks or a title of wine for everyone on his tab.
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  • fendergirlfendergirl 4601 replies156 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,757 Senior Member
    @CountingDown , it's a good question.


    My family is similar. I make multiples of my sister. When my sister and I travel with my parents (...not very often. She travels with them more often than I do), if we're doing something together, my mom pays. If we break apart and do our own seperate things together, we're on our own.

    I don't think my parents would make me pay and not her because i'm fortunate enough to make more. I don't find it infantizing. I know my mom is all about equal treatment.

    That being said, I treat them to dinner all the time when they're over visiting. And sometimes when I visit them.
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  • CountingDownCountingDown 13303 replies110 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,413 Senior Member
    We may use FF miles for S1's airfare if he decides to come. Both Ss still have to let us know their schedules, and it's getting late. DH and I are all about having our ducks in a row well in advance, esp when it comes to overnight trains and ferries. It still feels hierarchical to be the one pulling out the credit card. This is part of why I was so glad S2 moved overseas -- he and DH needed to break that power structure with one another.

    When we traveled with S1 and former DIL, they always had their own room. She was very introverted and needed her space, so they booked and paid for it. We paid for meals. Driving in a car with all five of us was torture for her.
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  • shellfellshellfell 3232 replies11 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,243 Senior Member
    S1 makes more than S2 & we've tended to pick up travel expenses for S2 (S1 refused to let us do so for him even when he was a grad student). We've picked up the tab to family weddings, etc. for S2, but that's now changing. He seems to have enough discretionary income at this point to pay his own way when we travel together.
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  • gouf78gouf78 7741 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,764 Senior Member
    edited May 15
    I’ve loved traveling with my adult kids. I’m not in charge! Everyone pretty much behaves and just enjoy the company. We plan stuff but no requirements to attend everything (pretty much the unwritten rule and no recriminations)
    edited May 15
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  • CountingDownCountingDown 13303 replies110 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,413 Senior Member
    Are you all mostly traveling to a resort/one location and doing things there, or are you touring? Strikes me that the dynamics of visiting multiple places over a vacation are different from staying in one place but having a variety of activities that folks could go off and do, but then return together for dinner in the evening.
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  • gouf78gouf78 7741 replies23 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 7,764 Senior Member
    We’ve traveled Europe together. So touring and longer trips.
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  • JHSJHS 18283 replies70 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 18,353 Senior Member
    We have spent a lot of time at a shared family vacation home with kids and nieces/nephew and their significant (and on occasion less-than-significant) others. That tends to work fine -- people can be together or apart in different configurations as they see fit, though we tend to have dinner together and usually to do something together at some point most days. One niece's long-term (~10 years) partner clearly doesn't like it, however. It has been 3-4 years since he has come with her and their child, and he was hit-or-miss before that. (We like him fine. We would be happy if he came, but we have stopped asking whether he will; he won't.)

    We haven't done much travelling with our kids and their spouses, other than going to one kid's wedding, which is something of a special case -- pretty much every moment was scheduled, but not by us. My wife is definitely a knock-on-the-door-at-seven, don't-waste-a-minute person, so touristing with our children's spouses would require some thought.
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  • Bromfield2Bromfield2 3506 replies33 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,539 Senior Member
    I have traveled with my kids’ significant others. Several times we have gone to destination weddings together, where all of us were guests. It worked out well because we were able to rent a place for everyone on AirB&B and attend wedding functions together. We have also traveled with older D and her spouse to visit younger D when she (younger) was studying in Russia. SIL was born in Russia and immigrated to US st age 5. Since he spoke Russian, he was a great guide. We went to Moscow and St Petersburg.

    We have a vacation home in a resort area and all the kids visit fairly often. We don’t impose schedules—only rule is that kids need to let us know if they aren’t showing up for dinner. H enjoys cooking foodie-type dinners when the kids and spouse/significant other are visiting.
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  • natty1988natty1988 570 replies7 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 577 Member
    No, both kids are currently single. D had a boyfriend right after college for a while, but we never traveled with them. By that point D took her own trips or was working. And H and I traveled on our own. D also lived nearby so we would see her fairly often as it is..maybe if we lived further apart. I never traveled with H and my parents or with H and his parents. Sure, we'd fly to go visit them, but we never vacationed with them. We're all very close though. Different strokes for different folks..
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  • cbreezecbreeze 4677 replies88 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,765 Senior Member
    edited May 16
    The default is we pay for lodging and all meals, kids and their spouses are responsible for their plane tickets. My son and my son-in-law will offer to pay for lunches at times. We did this a few times on overseas vacations.
    Last vacation was at our summer house. DIL brought her parents as well. We provided lodging (our house) and I made lobster rolls for lunches on the days we ate in. We also paid for dinners at restaurants. In-laws never paid but it doesn't bother me because over the years they have been feeding my son more often since they live closer.

    My Dad used to pay for everything on family vacations and I am very willing to continue the tradition. Our kids remember those memories fondly with their cousins and I want my grandchildren to share memories with us.
    edited May 16
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  • alwaysamomalwaysamom 12235 replies216 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 12,451 Senior Member
    We've done it annually for many years. Several times, my parents were also included. All have been great. I wish that everyone's schedules would coincide to allow us to do it more than once a year. My H and I pay for all. We're able to and are happy to do it.
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