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Do you pay for adult children on family vacations?


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I'm just curious how this would work in other families. Do you expect young adults to pay their way on a family vacation? I'm mainly talking airfare as we would be paying for the hotel anyway.

 

I doubt this trip will even happen due to other problems going on right now but we were originally talking about taking a family vacation over Christmas break. This is the only time everyone will have off and very likely our last family vacation all together. This hasn't even been discussed with our kids except for a a slight mention over the summer.

 

We have 3 "kids" 18, 21 and 24. (Btw for those who don't know me is been on this board forever with a different user name and homeschooled all 3 just in case your are wondering why I'm even on this board lol). My youngest 2 are in college and don't have a job during the school year. The oldest graduated in May and has a full time job but for the time being living at home to pay off school loans. My husband feels the oldest should pay for her own ticket. First I don't feel it's right that we pay for the other two and not her but also this might prevent her from going. (Not being able to afford it but I also think she would feel hurt about it.)

 

She is responsible for her own expenses at home (insurance, medical expenses phone etc) but I feel this is different.

 

On one hand I can see his point regarding at what point we would stop paying for them. I was thinking when they get married but I got married at her age. He doesn't want to be paying for everyone when they are 30 just because they aren't married yet. I can see his point but yet having her pay right now doesn't feel right. It doesn't help that things aren't going well right now with our relationship with her. I never realized things would be so hard at this point.

 

Edited to say I truly believe we should pay for it. It's my husband who thinks we shouldn't. He is asking me at what point that would change and I didn't really have an answer.

Edited by Mom of 8 paws
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I guess it depends on various factors.  If she were invited, I think you should pay unless you couldn't.  Then I'd level with her about that. 

 

My husband and I invited my parents on a vacation.  We paid.  (Just giving a different perspective.)  We invited them!  I can't imagine saying ok you are going on vacation with us, hand us the money.  Now if we didn't have the money and we sort of came to the idea together, that would be something different.

 

 

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I'm 35, and my parents still occasionally pay for family vacations.  In our situation, their rationale is thus

 

(1) they can afford it

(2) they know our time and $$ resources are more limited than theirs

(3) if they really want the whole family to get together at a location other than their house, they are willing to help make that happen

 

So ordinary trips home to visit parents/grandparents?  Almost always on our dime, although many of the expenses when we are there are picked up by parents or mitigated by the fact that we can stay in their home, cook in, etc.

 

Any fancy vacations they want to take? At least partially covered by them.  In November we are flying to a third party location, because my dad wanted us all to get together to celebrate his birthday.  He's assisting with airfare and the hotel; I imagine my sibs and I will take turns picking up meals, etc.

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Every situation is different.  What does your gut say?  

 

Right now we only have one adult daughter.  She is almost 20 and still lives at home.  The only expenses we require from her are $ toward car insurance, personal cell phone and fuel costs plus any non-necessary items like fancy pants shampoos or handmade shoes from Europe :rolleyes: .  If we were taking a family vacation we would likely front the travel costs. We would have no problem asking the child(ren) to contribute if it was the only way we could travel as a family. They would not be required to pitch in; it would be a matter of not traveling at all or the kiddos pitching in and everyone travelling together.

Edited by Excelsior! Academy
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I think at any point you want to gift your adult child something like a family vacation and can easily afford it, yes, do it.  That said, if you were arranging a vacation WITH an adult child, I think it would be planned together from the get go "Suzie - I'd love it if we could all get away together as a family some time this year.  What might work for you?".   Is she saving money to launch?  That could throw a kink in the works.  I also think you should be fully prepared for her to say no, she doesn't want to spend her money that way right now.  Especially if there's already some tension in your relationship.

 

My parents have at points paid for mini vacations with them for my familiy and my brother's family with our spouses and kids.  We've done other things that we've paid for in full.  If it's important to you to have all your kids on one last vacation and not have her resent it even if she does pay, I'd just pay for it. 

 

Do all your kids know about this?  Could you frame it as a Christmas gift for the whole family?

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The oldest graduated in May and has a full time job but for the time being living at home to pay off school loans. My husband feels the oldest should pay for her own ticket. First I don't feel it's right that we pay for the other two and not her but also this might prevent her from going. (Not being able to afford it but I also think she would feel hurt about it.)

 

My extended family would pay because of the affordability. For us the reasoning is that you want everyone to be able to go regardless of financial difficulty.  Also my parents wanted us to go on the family vacation, so it is a financial expense that we did not save for which means we can say we can't go unless they postpone the vacation so we can afford to pay our share or they gift us the vacation so we can go. 

 

My parents paid $3k for a family vacation for seven of us, five adults and two toddlers, when my kids were younger.  Hubby's pay packet was wipe out by mortgage and the usual expenses and we have no savings. My parents have the cash but not the time to wait as my mom's rheumatism makes walking difficult.

 

When we took my parents on a family vacation that involve negligible walking, we paid for them because it was less than $1k for 4 adults 2 kids and we were the ones who wanted the vacation and they were coming along to enjoy time with our kids.

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We have debated this.  We will be paying for a trip to Arizona for our daughter who is graduating from ASU and her husband.  We may be taking our other two children but don't know yet.  One is in college and can't pay for anything by herself.  My son doesn't make enough money to go without our help.  I was thinking that this would count as the big present for whoever goes for Christmas.  We are also going to the Grand Canyon (which all children have been to before but this would be just another trip).

 

I can very easily see us paying for a cruise for them to come with us or renting a big vacation home and having them come stay.  We do pay for some trips already.  We paid for a trip to a college football game for the oldest and youngest who had to stay with us at a hotel (middle lived close enough to drive home). We took the oldest and youngest to visit their sister this summer for Fourth of July and I believe we paid for meals and admission prices for everyone. 

 

Past of our family culture is that we tended to spend on experiences more than on stuff.  The kids never got all that many toys but they got to travel, visit museums, historical places, and parks, and go to concerts and plays.    We still take them to museums, gardens, parks, concerts, etc.  THat is what we do for our kids and my dd's inlaws do things like buy them a house.  We couldn't afford to buy a house but we can take them to a concert.

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I'm just curious how this would work in other families. Do you expect young adults to pay their way on a family vacation? I'm mainly talking airfare as we would be paying for the hotel anyway.

 

I doubt this trip will even happen due to other problems going on right now but we were originally talking about taking a family vacation over Christmas break. This is the only time everyone will have off and very likely our last family vacation all together. This hasn't even been discussed with our kids except for a a slight mention over the summer.

 

<snip>

 

Under these circumstances, and assuming we (parents) could afford to pay, we would pay. 

 

BTW on the rare occasions we have traveled with my in-laws, they have paid for everything.  When we've traveled TO them, they always give my husband some money to offset travel expenses, and always pay for meals if we eat out.  That's just their family culture.  I don't know if we will do that when our kids are  up and out.

 

But, last family vacation?   Yeah, I'd do whatever it took (and whatever I could) to have all my kids able to go.

 

 

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Yes we can afford it. There are some other things going on right now which I won't really get into but basically it's time for her to accept more responsibility for things then she has been. I still feel the vacation should be a separate thing. Just because we expect her to pay for her expenses at home etc doesn't mean she suddenly isn't our daughter anymore. He feels that we are enabling her by continuing to pay for her to go on vacations with us. It's completely different if she was going somewhere by herself but this is a family trip. I may try making this into a family Christmas present.

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If she has to pay, how will you feel if she declines to go on the vacation because she wants to spend her money differently? I think you have to be ok with her saying thanks but no thanks, and not be pouty about it.

 

(I would pay for all three. Not saying you should, though.)

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Yes, we would pay for all of the airfare and hotel. We would also pay for the main activities and meals out. We would expect them to have money for things they may want, like t-shirts or for things if they go off on their own to do something. I would expect to do this as long as I wanted the "child" traveling with us, at least until they are truly well established. I want them with us on vacation and at this point, even the one living on his own couldn't come if he had to pay.

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She is paying for other things on her own as a young person still living at home trying to pay off debt.  That's great.  I realize that you are probably all still working out boundaries and that can take a lot of time and effort.  Hugs and good luck.

 

She is still young, she is trying to pay off student loans, she is trying to establish herself.  She isn't asking you for money to go on a jaunt of her own.  This is a family vacation you are thinking of inviting her on and you know she has debts she is trying to pay off.  If you have the money and this is a FAMILY vacation I would pay in a heart beat.  I wouldn't hesitate (unless there were some serious behind the scenes issues, like she had been stealing out of your account or something).

 

 

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Yes we can afford it. There are some other things going on right now which I won't really get into but basically it's time for her to accept more responsibility for things then she has been. I still feel the vacation should be a separate thing. Just because we expect her to pay for her expenses at home etc doesn't mean she suddenly isn't our daughter anymore. He feels that we are enabling her by continuing to pay for her to go on vacations with us. It's completely different if she was going somewhere by herself but this is a family trip. I may try making this into a family Christmas present.

 

 

Since it sounds like everything's not okay with your daughter and you right now, I'd absolutely pay for her to be a part of the family vacation.  I wouldn't want her to feel left out.  

 

Our kids are 31, 26, 23 (married) and 17.   We currently do family vacations within driving distance and usually rent a house.  Dh and I cover almost all of the costs.  We'd not be able to fly everyone somewhere unless we got a really good deal.   

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I think that if you are planning the trip and want her to come you should pay for it. You're still treating her as part of your family unit as far as the trip is concerned.

 

I just don't see this as the place to draw the "independent adult" line.

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Students - yes.

Graduated, working full-time -no.

 

Dd paid her own airfare, hotel suite, and car rental for 2dd's wedding.

We were on the same flight, and same hotel.

 

I think that is different.  She was invited to her sister's wedding, accepted the invitation, and made her travel arrangements.  That was her choice.

 

In the OP's case it feels more like saying "Hey adult kid, we're going on this vacation we chose and hey we're paying for your 2 younger adult siblings.  Cough up the money and join us." 

 

I think the OP is doing a good job if this young adult is paying their own life expenses and paying off student loans.  It is generous that she is living with the parents.  If that's an issue, talk to her about that and a time table that you're comfortable with on moving out.  Or talk about other boundaries that are issues.  I definitely wouldn't make the vacation about that.  If you are going to have her pay for the vacation, propose it as an option for her and be fine with it if she says no.

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We pay for our adult children (two are still in college) and their significant others as well.  It is quite expensive, but worth it since it's so rare that our entire family is together and we make wonderful memories.  We are fortunate to be able to afford it (not often, but we do it when we can).  Last year we went to Mexico, we skipped this year, and are hoping to do another big trip next year.  Before Mexico, we rented a beach house which was much more affordable since airfare wasn't involved.  My adult son paid for his trip down there (gas and hotel) and we paid for everything once he and his girlfriend arrived.  

 

 

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I would opt for a cheaper vacation before I'd pay for all but one child. Young adults just starting out often can't afford vacations that involve airfare. Can the adult children drive together? Can you find a destination closer to home? If your DH wants all of the kids together on a more expensive vacation, he should expect to pay for it or to choose a more budget-friendly option. I can't imagine a destination that's more important than having everyone together.

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I would opt for a cheaper vacation before I'd pay for all but one child. Young adults just starting out often can't afford vacations that involve airfare. Can the adult children drive together? Can you find a destination closer to home? If your DH wants all of the kids together on a more expensive vacation, he should expect to pay for it or to choose a more budget-friendly option. I can't imagine a destination that's more important than having everyone together.

 

I totally agree!

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If she's newly out of school and still living at home, I think it's appropriate for you to pay for extras like this (assuming you are able to do so) until she establishes independence. These things have a way of naturally working themselves out as children become independent adults.

 

My parents still pay for a vacation rental for the entire family and my sister and I are in our 30's. But as we have gotten older, we have taken on more expenses, like buying groceries for the group for the week, etc. We have otherwise always been very independent and expected to stand on our own two feet.

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We have more people and costs now but I'd say the following comments held up even when both of us were in college:

 

My husband and I usually pay for our accommodations and tickets, but my family often helps with meals and the cost of the event/place/experience tickets. With my husband's family, who is quite a bit wealthier in terms of cash on hand than my own, we usually try to pay and get waved off of it by them.

 

This doesn't happen a lot with either family because we are busy and travel is so expensive, but I'd say it's less family culture and more a basic resource issue. If my family had the resources on hand I wouldn't be surprised if they tried to pay more of our way. But a family of eight is just expensive no matter who foots the bill, so my husband and I always plan on doing it ourselves as a rule and are just really blessed and grateful when someone helps out. We NEVER expect it or plan on it, that could lead to a lot of hurt feelings and bitterness on all sides if we did.

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Yes we can afford it. There are some other things going on right now which I won't really get into but basically it's time for her to accept more responsibility for things then she has been. I still feel the vacation should be a separate thing. Just because we expect her to pay for her expenses at home etc doesn't mean she suddenly isn't our daughter anymore. He feels that we are enabling her by continuing to pay for her to go on vacations with us. It's completely different if she was going somewhere by herself but this is a family trip. I may try making this into a family Christmas present.

I would pay for the basic expenses of the trip: economy travel, hotel, pay for her dinner out if we're buying, but also hope she'd treat the family to a dinner or activity., or fill the gas tank at least once on a long trip.

If she chose to travel first class or have her own private spa room she'd pay for that.

If we expected her to pay her own way I would have to not be upset if she declined to go, for any reason: financial, lack of vacation time from work, not wanting to go to our destination, not wanting to follow our rules, etc. I also would have to not be upset if we were offering to pay her way and she declined for any of the above reasons or others.

 

However, if she were debt free and rolling in money and we were struggling to pay for a weekend getaway I would hope she'd choose to go with us and pay her own way, but still not require it.

 

We rarely do vacations, so sadly not an issue for us.

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My children are 31 and 26, plus we have a daughter in law and a granddaughter. We love doing a family vacation at some time during the year. It builds family memories and cohesiveness--I'm all about bonding together.

 

So, yes, we pay for travel, meals, entertainment...etc. They pay for extras or souvenirs.  It's a blast and I love that we can do it.

That money is first I put away when I'm earning in the new year.

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If they still live at home then yes, we would pay.  I might if $$ were tight suggest that since they have a job they might offer to help out a bit.  Even if they didn't live with us we'd pay.  If they couldn't afford it or, if we couldn't afford to take everyone, we'd have a "staycation" for the family.

 

When I was 22 and crazy broke my mom, her boyfriend, his kids, my siblings, all went to Cancun. I didn't have the $300 for airfare....instead of going to the beach, I got to drive them all to the airport.

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If it's a family vacation that y'all are initiating, I feel it would be best for you guys to pay. My parents always paid for adult kids (and their spouses and their children) if they initiated a family vacation. I'm thinking along the lines of... if you would be upset if they decided not to come, you (general "you") pay. 

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I agree with several pp that it's not a hard-and-fast Principle, but more about the specific circumstances of both the parent and the adult child.

 

Our own eldest is just 21, FWIW, a senior in college.  She does work part-time; we do still pay... and expect to continue to do so for a while.

 

If you *can* afford to pay, and you want her to come, and there's a chance she won't come if you don't pay (either for financial reasons or for bruised feelings reasons)... well, me, personally, in that situation, I'd pay.  

 

Both my husband's parents and my own paid for adult children well into adulthood.  At some point there was a sort of unstated split, at which point the adult children who could afford to pay did, and those who could not, still didn't.  Still don't, as a matter of fact, well into middle age. Which is OK with everyone.

 

Which is more important to *you*, the idea of every adult pulling their own weight, or the idea of everyone being together?  There's no right answer (and you certainly shouldn't feel compelled to answer -- I mean the question rhetorically), but the two principles may well pull in different directions.

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My mom paid for our family to go with her and my sf on a very expensive trip. We paid for what we could, but we could never have gone if we had to pay it all. She could afford it without hardship at all, she wanted to share that experience, especially with her grandkids, and we were there to help with the parts she finds difficult (lifting luggage, driving, booking hotels). In the end, we couldn't have gone on the trip without her, but on the other hand, because my DH was willing, able, and looking forward to driving in very strange places, they were able to do a lot of things they wouldn't normally have done.

 

Anyway, we are forever grateful, we know it's not a regular thing, lol, and she doesn't hold it over our heads, but rather cherishes the memories.

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Thanks for the replies. My dh was brought up a lot differently than I was and he said that he had to pay his own way as soon as he was 18 (and his parents had money). My parents on the other hand never had a lot of money and while I never went on a vacation with them after 18 to this day my 82 year old dad still insists that he pay if we go out to eat. Just a very different dynamic.

 

We are definitely going through a difficult time right now adjusting to having her live at home after being away at school for so long (except summer and holidays). It's hard watching your kids make poor decisions no matter how old they are. But that doesn't change the fact that she is still part of the family. She is definitely starting to learn that money doesn't grow on trees and when she moves out on her own will realize that even more. I feel like this is something special for the whole family and it's completely different from expecting her to pay for her own bills. She is a teacher so she has off over Christmas break. She may choose to not even want to spend her time off with us but I definitely want to offer it to her. I'm just in the beginning stages of planning the trip but my husband really surprised me today when he told me he would expect her to pay for herself.

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If she were living on her own, say far enough away you only saw her on holidays, would your DH pay then? I think you have to differentiate the child being independent from gifting your child with something.

Our parents made it very clear we were on our own when we were 18, with no help. VERY clear. And I will always be grateful for my mom going shopping with me for things like a pail and gloves and Mr. Clean and a bargain vacuum, and pulling out her wallet at the till and saying I'd have to pay her back. And the $2 in my wallet would make us even. Still makes me tear up. It didn't stop me from being independent at all, but it sure taught me a lot.

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 I'm just in the beginning stages of planning the trip but my husband really surprised me today when he told me he would expect her to pay for herself.

 

I encourage you and your dh to come to an agreement before saying anything to her. It won't be good for any of you if she knows you argued over her, especially if the only way she gets to go is if she pays.

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It's a family vacation. Do you want her to be part of the family vacation.

 

At 24 I am not sure I would have chosen to spend my own money on a family trip. I have wanted to spend money on things I wanted to do specifically. Trips planned by my mother might have been fun, but they didn't fall into the category of something I wanted to save for.

 

If you want to say you aren't paying for vacations say it. Do not expect your oldest to go.

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It's a family vacation. Do you want her to be part of the family vacation.

 

At 24 I am not sure I would have chosen to spend my own money on a family trip. I have wanted to spend money on things I wanted to do specifically. Trips planned by my mother might have been fun, but they didn't fall into the category of something I wanted to save for.

 

If you want to say you aren't paying for vacations say it. Do not expect your oldest to go.

 

:iagree: At 24, I was married with my first child on the way. My parents often rented beach houses with enough rooms for all of us. We did get ourselves there but it was typically a 5-6 hour car ride. They paid for almost everything there. As time went on, we paid for more dinners out and groceries but couldn't have gone if we'd had to in our mid-20's. My parents would rather us be there and pay for everything than to not have us be there. And we will do the same for our children. Even once they're married, if need be.

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I'm with you on this. I think in doing the important work of holding boundaries or helping your daughter take more responsibility for herself, it helps your cause if she also clearly feels your love and support for something like a family vacation. 

 

Keep the message of taking responsibility for herself focused where you want to see it happen, but also keep sending her loving and supportive messages where that is appropriate. That will help communicate that it's out of love and support that you are holding her accountable, not out of general annoyance or a desire to cut her off or something.

 

Amy

 

 

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I didn't pay for our then 23yo to go on safari with us when we went to Africa. She was MAD. She had just started a new job, just out of college and she would have lost it if she went for three weeks, so we said, we aren't paying so that she would keep her job. It caused a lot of problems later, even though I had taken her to Nepal without our other children. 

 

In the case of the OP, I think not paying for one when one of the other two is 21 is going to cause problems when the oldest IS trying to be responsible. If the oldest were being a flake I would feel differently, but I think the very fact that she is living at home to pay off debt gives her the slack. I WOULD tell her this is the last vaycay on mom and dad to make the dad not feel like a victim since her dad is clearly worried about how long this will go on. Because we all do know those people who are paying for their 33yo to do dumb stuff and that is probably what he is REALLY worried about.

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In this case, yes I would pay. Call it her Christmas present if you must. It sounds like she is living in the Sam ehouse as everyone else. I think it could potentially cause irreparable harm to the relationship if she is forced to pay her own air fair, or she is not allowed to attend with the rest of the family.

 

Now, I will say that I have taken vacations without my DD21 that my younger DS did go on, but that was more due to logistics. She had to work and could not afford to take the time off. I'm not going to not travel just because she can't go at the same time. Heck, my DS and I go on vacations without my DH for the same reason.

I did pay for her to join us on our spring break trip last year. She had to go back earlier , so I paid for a one way ticket just for her. We are planning one last "family" vacation over Christmas break this year to Disneyworld and paying all her expenses, but I have made it clear to her that this will be the last "family" family vacation.

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If we can afford it, we'll *always* do it. :) If we can't afford it, we won't. 

 

I have a friend, age 80-ish, who was an attorney, very successful, very financially secure on her own, and her two children we *wealthy* due to inheritances from her ex-husband. Anyway, my friend . . . her dad lived across the country. He was *still* paying for her flights home to visit him until he died, probably in his 90s. I thought it was sweet. 

 

 

If my kids insist on paying their own way someday, then that's great. Once we were financially solvent/working, dh and I started paying for some vacations (and including Mom in the trips) while Mom still paid for some other trips in the early years (the ones she planned and invited us to) . . . 

 

If money were tight all around, I'd try to plan a trip everyone could afford -- driving distance and rent a VRBO or a cabin for hiking instead of flying to somewhere fancy . . . Right now, we're just so happy to have time with our kids, and I'm so sad to think of them being less and less available to travel/be with us as they are growing into adults. . .  that I, personally, consider it a top-priority budget item for us to be able to splurge on family trips for ever. Dh will likely work a couple extra years before retirement to make that easier. :) 

 

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My parents have been doing a family vacation for the last bunch of years. Not everyone can make every vacation. Typically we are responsible for transportation and extra activities during it. Sometimes we have needed to cover $100-$200 per person extra on an expensive trip. They vary from smaller less expensive trip like to Yellowstone and more expensive ones like cruises. The point of them is to gather as a family. They have covered full vacations for our family when my husband was a grad student. I'm so grateful that they covered the cost and we were able to spend the time together. We will continue to cover vacations for our children until they are able to pay on their own. I missed out on several trips as a young adult not because my parents wouldn't pay but because I couldn't miss class or other important things.

If I wanted a trip to be a family vacation I would cover costs for all children. You just don't know how many chances there will be to travel together.

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I think if parents can afford it, they should. A child at any age (even when married and with their kids) may not want to use their money for said vacation. They may have other plans for it.

 

I'm all for financial independence but I know how it straps us to fly to a wedding or some kind of family event. It means something else has to give. Your grad seems to have enough bills to pay without adding to it.

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I will be paying for my adult kids to participate in family vacations as long as I financially can.

 

My son supports himself, rents his own house across the country. I wouldn't dream of asking him to use up his vacation time PLUS his savings to spend time with me.

 

I imagine if I told him he needed to spend his own money to fly out, I'd see a lot less of him. I'm certain he has plans for every dollar he earns and Mom isn't on the top of the list....exactly as I think it should be for a young adult.

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If this is likely to be your last family vacation together, then how can paying for it set a bad precedent for the future?

 

I (as parent) would pay unless I couldn't afford it.

 

The exception would be if my kid was more financially set than I was, and paying would be a real burden on me.

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I think that is different.  She was invited to her sister's wedding, accepted the invitation, and made her travel arrangements.  That was her choice.

 

In the OP's case it feels more like saying "Hey adult kid, we're going on this vacation we chose and hey we're paying for your 2 younger adult siblings.  Cough up the money and join us." 

 

I think the OP is doing a good job if this young adult is paying their own life expenses and paying off student loans.  It is generous that she is living with the parents.  If that's an issue, talk to her about that and a time table that you're comfortable with on moving out.  Or talk about other boundaries that are issues.  I definitely wouldn't make the vacation about that.  If you are going to have her pay for the vacation, propose it as an option for her and be fine with it if she says no.

 

the OP asked "do you pay for adult children on family vacations?"

 

I'll remember in the future to not take that seriously and not answer that - because obviously other posters don't.

 

I used my dd as an example. she's a completely independent adult. she owns her own home, and has traveled (on her own dime) to europe multiple times. she doesn't need me to pay for her vacations.  If I said "everyone, lets go__, who's in?" - I would expect to pay. 

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