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At what age do you stop paying for your kids vacations?

HappyCow's picture

DH and I would like to take a trip to Mexico this winter and take DD10 with us since kids under 12 are free at the all inclusive resort. We would just would have to pay for her plane ticket.

If we were to take SD19 it would be the cost of the plane ticket (around $500) plus whatever the resort would want us to pay for an additional adult. I am thinking around $600 which would put us way over budget on going on this trip. There is no way she can pay her own way she is in school full time and is responsible for paying what student loans don't cover.

We both feel guilty not taking her on this trip because we never took her anywhere this exotic. On one hand we don't want to deny DD10 this opportunity but on the other we don't want SD19 to be upset that we took this trip without her.

DH believes that once you turn 18 we shouldn't have to pay for vacations anymore but is still hung up on going vs not going.

It would be a lot different if BM ever did anything remotely interesting with SD19 but she never does anything. The only vacations that this kid has ever gone on are with us. It's not like she didn't get great vacations in the past just nothing tropical and out of the country.

DH and I already did a small trip to Punta Cana late last year to celebrate our 15th anniversary by ourselves that SD19 was jealous of. She has made a lot of comments to us about it. SD19 already thinks DD10 has it a lot better than she ever did. However, DH and I are happily married and at this stage of our lives we are more comfortable then when SD19 was growing up and we were paying $500 each month to BM. Our resources were limited back then.

Would you deny your DD10 a trip or push the trip to another time when we can afford to take our adult SD19 with us?


sunshinex's picture

I wouldn't deny your DD10 the trip. This is simply what happens, even in intact families. Often times, you have more funds available when the younger kids are getting older and the older kids have launched. That's just how it goes.

If it helps, I've paid my own way on many vacations with my parents (mom and stepdad)... Sometimes they'll offer to pay the flights (usually because stepdad has lots of points that can cover the flight) and i'll pay for my hotels and food, but usually I pay my own way and i'm 22. We've done this since I was about 19 or so.

My older siblings don't go on these trips because they don't get invited. My mom and stepdad simply know they won't be able to afford it because they have kids of their own, so they don't bother inviting them. I'm sure they have times where they're jealous, but while they were off having kids, I was working hard to make good money LOL.

brutallyhonest's picture

I think the "younger siblings have it better" mentality is common in all families. I am the oldest of 5 kids and give my parents and younger siblings crap all the time about how much easier and better they had it. For instance i remind my little sister all the time that I was stuck babysitting younger siblings all the time so therefore I have used up all my babysitting time and am off the hook now. . The reality is my parents had more resources wth the younger kids than they did with me. There are trade offs. I had undivided attention for a time. I did everything first so there wasn't a standard to judge against.

Your SD19 needs to just own that life isn't fair and she had 2 Christmas parties and other double life events her D10 won't have. I'm sure there will be other trips big children will go on, some only the younger goes on and couples trips neither go on. That is normal. Keep in mind our D10 will also have "old parents" and so she will have experiences of things you can't do any longer due to are that you might have done with SD19.

FieryEscape's picture

Exactly ! " Your SD19 needs to just own that life isn't fair and she had 2 Christmas parties and other double life events her D10 won't have "

I know I won't be footing the bill for adult skids on vacations.

Ninji's picture

Your kid is going to have a different life that SD because you are her mother. Even kids with intact families don't get all the same things growing up. Kids with different parents, most certainly aren't going to have the same experiences.

I won't take her. Sooner than later she needs to understand she is an adult now and has to pay her own way in life.

Disneyfan's picture

"Would you deny your DD10 a trip or push the trip to another time when we can afford to take our adult SD19 with us?"

I would push the trip back AND give SD a set amount she has to pay toward the vacation ~maybe the airfare and spending money. If she has enough notice and works during summer and winter break, she should have no problem coming up with a few
hundred dollars for the vacation.

I still pay for my son(25) to join us on vacations with extended family. When he travels with his friends, he covers the cost. Once he's married and has kids of his own, I plan to spring for them to vacation with me once a year.

I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to this question. There are plenty of folks who will pay for their adult kids(and their families)to go on vacation with them. (there are several posters here who have said that their parents do just that). Others feel that ends once the kid is off to college or out of the house.

Sweet T's picture

so I have 1 child and if he is in college, getting good grades, working ect... and lets say we wanted to go see my sister in California or my husband's family in NY and I wanted BS to come with I would buy his ticket.

My husband and I are on the same page that if BS continues to be a great kid like he is being raised to be that he can live at home for free while in college because I want to make sure that his debt level at graduation is minimal. There will be rules and he is expected to be a productive person like we are raising him to be.

Our finances are separate, I make more money and one of the reasons it will always be that way is that I never want anyone to be able to tell me what I am going to do for my kid, nor do I expect anyone else to pay for him. He is a good kid and is being raised right and I want him to have a good education and opportunities.

BethAnne's picture

It depends what you want to do and your finances. Are you going to connect as a family and enjoy that time together and would sd19 be an integral part of that and enjoy spending time with you all? If so then I would stretch the budget or choose a destination that you can afford and maybe ask your sd to contribute a nominal amount to get it into her head that she is not on a free ride anymore.

If you are going to that destination to see the destination as the main draw (rather than family time) then perhaps you might decide to take just your daughter.

To me it all depends on how well sd gets on with you all, if she will enjoy the trip and if she is generally appreciative of these kinds of things. Personally if she wants to go and is all of those things I would find a way to make it work, either by cutting costs, finding a cheaper destination or working out an affordable payment plan for sd.

Personally in my family I was the youngest and in lots of ways I did benefit from my parents added financial security by the time I was a kid compared to when my sister was a kid (she is 14 years older than me). My sister though did go on various family vacations with us all when she was 19-20 ish as I recall. I presume my parents paid (because that is the kind of thing they do). It was great having vacations with my sister there, I always loved having my big sister around. Later she stopped coming away with us and it was just me and my brother (2 years older than me). When I was in the 18+ range I was done with family vacations and itching to get away from my parents being the only child left at home and I think my parents were keen on some adult trips too.

So that brings up another point to consider, will your daughter enjoy the trip more having her big sister tagging along too, giving them some bonding time?

MrsZipper's picture

All 3 skids (late 20s early 30s) make over 100k a year, their SOs do as well. They all take a family vacation with BM and SF every year and BM and SF pay. The skids have not been a big family vacation with us since they were in high school even though they are invited, but if they accepted DH would not dream of asking them to contribute. I think it's crazy and after 25, when you are a few years into a career, you should be paying your way. But every family does it differently.

Gimlet's picture

Out of curiosity, were you born into that social class or did you marry into it? It would feel like a different world to me.

MrsZipper's picture

Neither? I guess its how you define upper or middle or whatever. Some places you can have a household income of 300k and be middle. DH and I were both from middle to middle-upper-middle and are still middle-upper middle for our area. BM grew up upper middle and became upper and remarried an upper. The skids grew up middle-upper-middle and are still middle-upper-middle but all things considered will probably be upper later.

Gimlet's picture

That wasn't a very well-worded question, was it? And it's probably none of my business. I understand what you're saying, I've just been curious since I read about the expensive dishes. I'm still unable to really grasp that whole idea.

Thanks for answering Smile

Gimlet's picture

I was more referring to people who buy dishes that cost as much as a good used car. Curious, mostly, and again probably more nosy than I needed to be. Making six figures makes you part of a certain demographic from a statistical perspective, but that wasn't really the gist of my question. And like Clever pointed out, it's relative to where you live.

Sorry to derail, I really should have sent a PM with my silly question. And Mrs Zipper wouldn't have been wrong to tell me it was none of my business. I just wondered if it was "normal" to her or not, really.

CLove's picture

When growing up we always went on awesome vacations to awesome locations. As I grew older and went away to college, my younger siblings continued going on awesome vacations, without me. I am totally fine with it.

Someone named Peacekeeper on here said something extremely relevant:
To paraphrase - children always expect everything to be equal amongst each other. But it can never be completely equal, nor should it. Just because one child has a dog, doesn't mean all other children deserve to have a pet. Children are different in different age groups, with differing capacities, families go through different phases with different resources available at different times. What SHOULD happen is that things should be FAIR, not equal.

If it is a family bonding situation, SD19 might feel left out, but if her father is ok with it, you should go with that. When she graduates from college, do something nice for her.

notarelative's picture

You can't always make things equal. You'd go crazy trying. Otherwise you're trying to remember how much you spent on the older kid's back to school stuff when she was ten and holding the younger kid to it.

To me, whether you take her or not is more about timing. She's in college and needs to work during breaks. Is there a time that DH and you can get off work, that coincides with a time DD10 has off from school, that OSD can go? If you can find that magical mystical time than consider it. If not, she definitely stays home.

My bios are seven years apart in age. When youngest was graduating from high school I told him I'd like to do one more vacation with him. I also told him that I understood vacationing with Mom was probably not appealing so he could pick the place. He picked a place in Europe. We went. Oldest, who had never been to Europe, stayed home. I never considered taking him.

Hennypenny's picture

I don't think there is an age cutoff. My parents still pay for family vacations. But they have the money and it makes them happy, and we all get to be together so it works out.

I wouldn't keep DD from going just because SD can't. But if there are no other reasons other than financial then I would figure something out to allow SD to go- find some creative way between you guys and SD to raise 600.00.

notsobad's picture

We love family vacations and if we can afford it we pay for all the kids. We also take trips without any kids and they take trips without us.

I think the problem comes when someone feels entitled to a vacation and expects that a parent is going to cover all the costs. As others have said life isn't fair or equal, stop trying to make it equal.

I like the idea of telling SD that she has x amount of time to save $ for the trip.

Stepped in what momma's picture

I think part of being an adult is paying your own way, I've taken my parents on vacation and paid for their trip, just because I am their child doesn't mean they should always pay.