Is this going to be a National Lampoon-style vacation?
April 22, 2010 9:26 AM   Subscribe

My partner and I want to go on holiday in October with my father. But how can we compromise with my family to make this the holiday we all want to go on?

Originally, we had told my father that we'd fly to Atlanta. He agreed to drive the three of us to Miami to see my grandparents and then he'd drive us all back to Atlanta where we'd spend the rest of the 3 week holiday.

A couple of things have happened since we made that agreement that make my partner and I prefer to fly to Miami directly. First, we found out that my sister is going to be staying in the spare room at my father's so there isn't really much room for us there. My father offered us his bedroom and said he would sleep on an air mattress but we don't feel comfortable kicking him out of his own room. Then we found out that my grandparents don't have room for us to stay either so we would have to pay for a hotel in Miami.

Now, searching for flights online we realised that it would be much cheaper (and a direct flight for us) if we flew straight into and out of Miami. And we could get a package deal that would include a Miami hotel as well.

Then we noticed that there is a great deal going on a cruise from Miami for a week to some really interesting locations in South America. All in all this would be a much cheaper and more interesting holiday for us than going to Atlanta and would mean we could spend more time with my grandparents.

So I emailed my father and asked him about it and asked if he would like to go on the cruise with us. He emailed back saying he would be "hurt" if we didn't come and stay with him in Atlanta. He also said he would rather go on a different cruise - one that is much more expensive (almost double) and that we couldn't afford. I emailed him to tell him we couldn't afford that cruise which didn't look as interesting anyway. He hasn't emailed back about that although he did email about some other business.

My father is coming to visit us in a month to stay for two weeks and he has just asked if a friend of his can come and stay with us for a week as well. So we'll be hosting them and it's no problem at all. But as most of my holiday (and my partner's) is tied up with family stuff we'd like to choose to go on the cruise as something that's purely for "us" and to fly to Miami instead of Atlanta as well.

So my question is, are we being selfish to want to change the plans (no tickets have been bought yet) or is my father being unreasonable wanting everything his way?
posted by hazyjane to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
You're not selfish for wanting some time to yourself, he's not selfish for wanting to spend some time with you. These two things are not incompatible - you just need to work out how to do it.

Maybe you could explain that you DO want to see him, and you'd also like some private holiday time to yourself. He's probably feeling hurt that he had all these plans involving you and now won't see you at all. If you explain your point of view and show that you understand his, you are half way to a solution.

Maybe phoning him rather than emailing would help.
posted by emilyw at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2010

You and your partner are grown-ups with your own time and resources to consider. It sounds like you're going to be spending time with him both where you live and in Miami, so if he chooses to feel hurt that the plans have changed (despite the fact that he made changes to the plans that affect your decisions) then that's on him. Tell him you are sorry that he would feel hurt, but that you are going to making some decisions based on your finances and that doesn't mean you don't love him or care about him. He is welcome to come on the cruise that you want to go on, but if he doesn't want to do that you will understand.

And then do what you want. If he protests or makes other drama, just repeat that you have decided what you're going to do, you love him and he's welcome to come, but you're not changing your mind. Do not engage in the guilt-tripping.

Good luck and have fun!
posted by Kimberly at 10:34 AM on April 22, 2010

Yes, he's being unreasonable. It could be partly because this is being done over e-mail (it's easy to get unnecessarily offended or to misread this sort of thing). Or, it could be for some other reason--like he's upset about something else and is being passive aggressive maybe? Why not call him up and say:

- We're really looking forward to spending time together with you, [sister], and [grandparents] in Miami
- We're so appreciative of your offer to have us stay over in Atlanta, but flights are cheaper if we fly directly to Miami and our budget is pretty tight this year
- Speaking of budgets, we can afford to spend $X on cruise tickets but not $2X; let's book [your preferred cruise] or find another that's in the same price range, k?
- Did we mention we're super excited for the trip?
posted by Meg_Murry at 10:36 AM on April 22, 2010

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