Author Topic: Backing out on vacation plans  (Read 5744 times)

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oopsie

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Backing out on vacation plans
« on: December 27, 2012, 08:48:28 PM »
Is there a polite way to back out on a proposed trip with other family members that is to take place a year from now? Or do I just suck it up and go?

I was the one that originally suggested the trip but my intentions were to just take my nieces and nephew with me - their mother (ex-SIL) said it was okay as long as she could also go. Feeling on the spot, I said it was and thought that we could make it work but the truth is we are very different people, have very different parenting techniques and I'm afraid that the trip won't end up being enjoyable for these reasons. It's not an inexpensive trip either (cost is approximately $1000/person - we are each paying for ourselves and our own kids).


Here are some additional details:


- No deposits or bookings have been made yet, nor has an exact date been set.

- None of the kids are aware of the trip as we were going to surprise them with it the day of departure.

- We (DH, myself and our kids) just got back from this destination a few months ago and my kids don't really feel like going back. They'd rather vacation somewhere else next year.

- She really seems to be looking forward to it and has told me that the thought of surprising her kids with it is what keeps her going through the tough times.

- IMO, she really can't afford it. For example, she's depleted the kids' education savings account consisting of money given to them by relatives just to pay the bills.



I really do not want to disappoint her or have her angry with me. I'm aware that this may be unavoidable though.

Is it acceptable to tell her that my kids have indicated to me that they would rather not go to this destination again so soon but I would be more than happy to help her plan her vacation with her children if she would still like to go without us?

Help!!
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 08:50:39 PM by oopsie »

AustenFan

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2012, 08:55:29 PM »
I think the way you plan on phrasing it is great, and not 'leading her on' is the kindest thing to do. The longer you leave it the more hurt she will be when you tell her it's not on.

blarg314

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2012, 09:18:40 PM »

To be honest, I think that you're going to have a hard time backing out without making yourself the bad guy.

If you had offered to pay for her kids, and SIL had tried to invite herself, that would be different. But for a pay your own way trip to a cool location, wanting to accompany your own kids rather than send them with a relative is a pretty reasonable request.

But as it is, you suggested both the trip and the destination, and it's a pay your own way trip, backing out now for nebulous reasons is not going to look good. If you've visited the same location recently with your own kids, then saying that your finances are tight and you can't manage it isn't going to be a very believable excuse.

oopsie

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2012, 09:36:10 PM »

To be honest, I think that you're going to have a hard time backing out without making yourself the bad guy.

If you had offered to pay for her kids, and SIL had tried to invite herself, that would be different. But for a pay your own way trip to a cool location, wanting to accompany your own kids rather than send them with a relative is a pretty reasonable request.

But as it is, you suggested both the trip and the destination, and it's a pay your own way trip, backing out now for nebulous reasons is not going to look good. If you've visited the same location recently with your own kids, then saying that your finances are tight and you can't manage it isn't going to be a very believable excuse.

My intention was to have her kids come with us and I would be paying for them. We never got into the details of who was paying for what though because as soon as I mentioned possibly having her kids coming with us, she immediately said it was okay as long as she could also come. It would not be unreasonable for her to have assumed that I would have paid for her children to accompany us as we've had them come on vacation with us before and I paid for all of their expenses at that time. However, when she said that she would let them come if she could also come, she was operating on the (correct) belief that she would be then taking on the cost for herself and her own children.

I never suggested telling her that my finances are tight... ??? 
« Last Edit: December 27, 2012, 09:43:25 PM by oopsie »

Surianne

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2012, 09:44:47 PM »
I agree with Blarg, this is a tricky one.  Particularly since you note that you and your SIL have different parenting standards, and you note this as a reason for not wanting to travel with her.  This should have been a clear flag to you at the start that she might not agree with your plan.  Were you intending on parenting her kids in a way that would make her uncomfortable?  I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

I think offering excuses won't help here.  If you're 100% sure you won't do the trip with her, let her know now, so she can change her plans.

Perhaps if we understood more about why the kids' mother being involved made you change your mind, we could be more helpful?  I'm still a little confused.

SamiHami

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2012, 09:47:00 PM »
I think you are perfectly fine in cancelling, since no solid plans have been made. Don't blame it on your kids not wanting to go, though. That could very easily blow up in your face. Just keep it vague, you don't owe her a specific explanation, even though she rudely invited herself along. All she needs to know is that it isn't going to work out for you and your kids to go, but that you hope she and her kids have a great time without you. Lather, rinse, repeat and offer as much bean dip as needed.

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oopsie

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2012, 09:54:37 PM »
I agree with Blarg, this is a tricky one.  Particularly since you note that you and your SIL have different parenting standards, and you note this as a reason for not wanting to travel with her.  This should have been a clear flag to you at the start that she might not agree with your plan.  Were you intending on parenting her kids in a way that would make her uncomfortable?  I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

I think offering excuses won't help here.  If you're 100% sure you won't do the trip with her, let her know now, so she can change her plans.

Perhaps if we understood more about why the kids' mother being involved made you change your mind, we could be more helpful?  I'm still a little confused.

No, I've taken her children with me on holidays before (the last one was for 2 weeks) at my expense.

As for the parenting style - she is my ex-SIL and with that comes a lot of baggage. She is still very bitter about her ex-husband and his family and this influences a lot of her parenting decisions which I completely disagree with. She can be a very negative, vindictive and even hateful person at times and I simply find it draining.

Kaypeep

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #7 on: December 27, 2012, 10:11:06 PM »
I think you need to cancel.  She won't like it but she sounds like a pill and nothing you do will change her so just go into it knowing she will react negatively but that's her problem, not yours.  Simply call or email her and let her know the proposed trip is off. Your kids have expressed a strong disinterest in the location, so you and DH decided to drop the idea.  Let her know if she still wants to go with her kids, you will be happy to pass on info you have on the location and advise with recommendations from your last trip if she wants tips and ideas on what to do while there.

I think you are not rude at all.  The trip is far off and no tangible plans have actually been made.  The kids don't even know so there's no disappointment on their end.   If SIL gives you grief you can simply reply back "I'm sorry you feel that way.  DH and I felt that it was best to scrap the idea since no deposits or plans have actually been made yet.  No one is out any money and you are still welcome to go on your own if you wish."

doodlemor

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #8 on: December 27, 2012, 10:41:29 PM »
My intention was to have her kids come with us and I would be paying for them. We never got into the details of who was paying for what though because as soon as I mentioned possibly having her kids coming with us, she immediately said it was okay as long as she could also come. It would not be unreasonable for her to have assumed that I would have paid for her children to accompany us as we've had them come on vacation with us before and I paid for all of their expenses at that time. However, when she said that she would let them come if she could also come, she was operating on the (correct) belief that she would be then taking on the cost for herself and her own children.

From what you've written, I do wonder if SIL thinks that you are going to pay for her and her children. 

I think that you need to tell her as soon as possible that the trip is off.  You could say that.............

Since we talked about this earlier as a group trip, I thought that I should let you know that we've changed our minds about x destination.  It's a great place, but we want to look into other options and try something different next time.

Then I would do as Kaypeep suggested and offer to help her with planning a trip to the destination with her children.


Suspicious person that I am, I bet that SIL will want to go on your trip next year where ever it is.  Best to keep your plans vague, just in case.

Surianne

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #9 on: December 27, 2012, 10:42:00 PM »
I agree with Blarg, this is a tricky one.  Particularly since you note that you and your SIL have different parenting standards, and you note this as a reason for not wanting to travel with her.  This should have been a clear flag to you at the start that she might not agree with your plan.  Were you intending on parenting her kids in a way that would make her uncomfortable?  I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

I think offering excuses won't help here.  If you're 100% sure you won't do the trip with her, let her know now, so she can change her plans.

Perhaps if we understood more about why the kids' mother being involved made you change your mind, we could be more helpful?  I'm still a little confused.

No, I've taken her children with me on holidays before (the last one was for 2 weeks) at my expense.

As for the parenting style - she is my ex-SIL and with that comes a lot of baggage. She is still very bitter about her ex-husband and his family and this influences a lot of her parenting decisions which I completely disagree with. She can be a very negative, vindictive and even hateful person at times and I simply find it draining.

What does that have to do with parenting decisions?  I'm still pretty confused about this.  Can you be more specific?

Hmmmmm

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2012, 11:00:59 PM »
To me, you've floated the idea of a trip that would be a year out.  Since no deposits have been made and no kids told, I think your fine to tell her that after further consideration, you and your DH have decided that the trip isn't feasible for your family after all, but if she still wants to take her kids, you'd be happy to give her some help planning since you've recently travelled there.

oopsie

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #11 on: December 27, 2012, 11:21:52 PM »
I agree with Blarg, this is a tricky one.  Particularly since you note that you and your SIL have different parenting standards, and you note this as a reason for not wanting to travel with her.  This should have been a clear flag to you at the start that she might not agree with your plan.  Were you intending on parenting her kids in a way that would make her uncomfortable?  I'm not sure I understand what you mean.

I think offering excuses won't help here.  If you're 100% sure you won't do the trip with her, let her know now, so she can change her plans.

Perhaps if we understood more about why the kids' mother being involved made you change your mind, we could be more helpful?  I'm still a little confused.

No, I've taken her children with me on holidays before (the last one was for 2 weeks) at my expense.

As for the parenting style - she is my ex-SIL and with that comes a lot of baggage. She is still very bitter about her ex-husband and his family and this influences a lot of her parenting decisions which I completely disagree with. She can be a very negative, vindictive and even hateful person at times and I simply find it draining.

What does that have to do with parenting decisions?  I'm still pretty confused about this.  Can you be more specific?

Here are some examples:

- Telling the kids details about her split with their father that are not (age) appropriate in an effort to pit them against him (and in my nephew's case, it worked).

- Getting upset with her daughters because they didn't report back to her information on their father's personal life (her mother, their grandmother, actually told them "if you don't see your pictures hanging on my wall next time you come to visit, you'll know why" over it).

- Calling one of her daughters the "b" word in anger.

Don't get me wrong, she can also be a really nice person and that is why I'm agonizing over this. I really don't want to let her down, but every time I think about this trip, I just get a feeling of dread.

oopsie

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #12 on: December 27, 2012, 11:25:28 PM »
My intention was to have her kids come with us and I would be paying for them. We never got into the details of who was paying for what though because as soon as I mentioned possibly having her kids coming with us, she immediately said it was okay as long as she could also come. It would not be unreasonable for her to have assumed that I would have paid for her children to accompany us as we've had them come on vacation with us before and I paid for all of their expenses at that time. However, when she said that she would let them come if she could also come, she was operating on the (correct) belief that she would be then taking on the cost for herself and her own children.

From what you've written, I do wonder if SIL thinks that you are going to pay for her and her children. 

I think that you need to tell her as soon as possible that the trip is off.  You could say that.............

Since we talked about this earlier as a group trip, I thought that I should let you know that we've changed our minds about x destination.  It's a great place, but we want to look into other options and try something different next time.

Then I would do as Kaypeep suggested and offer to help her with planning a trip to the destination with her children.


Suspicious person that I am, I bet that SIL will want to go on your trip next year where ever it is.  Best to keep your plans vague, just in case.

No, she definitely doesn't. We've had discussions about the cost and I know she's started a savings account specifically for this.

doodlemor

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #13 on: December 27, 2012, 11:33:24 PM »
My intention was to have her kids come with us and I would be paying for them. We never got into the details of who was paying for what though because as soon as I mentioned possibly having her kids coming with us, she immediately said it was okay as long as she could also come. It would not be unreasonable for her to have assumed that I would have paid for her children to accompany us as we've had them come on vacation with us before and I paid for all of their expenses at that time. However, when she said that she would let them come if she could also come, she was operating on the (correct) belief that she would be then taking on the cost for herself and her own children.

From what you've written, I do wonder if SIL thinks that you are going to pay for her and her children. 

I think that you need to tell her as soon as possible that the trip is off.  You could say that.............

Since we talked about this earlier as a group trip, I thought that I should let you know that we've changed our minds about x destination.  It's a great place, but we want to look into other options and try something different next time.

Then I would do as Kaypeep suggested and offer to help her with planning a trip to the destination with her children.


Suspicious person that I am, I bet that SIL will want to go on your trip next year where ever it is.  Best to keep your plans vague, just in case.

No, she definitely doesn't. We've had discussions about the cost and I know she's started a savings account specifically for this.

I'm so glad to see that there is no misunderstanding about this. 

You are a kind person to want to help her and the children.  Go ahead and cancel, though.  You aren't really letting her down in a horrible way because she can still go with her children.  Perhaps some fun time as a family unit would be good for them all.

JenJay

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Re: Backing out on vacation plans
« Reply #14 on: December 27, 2012, 11:44:18 PM »
To me, you've floated the idea of a trip that would be a year out.  Since no deposits have been made and no kids told, I think your fine to tell her that after further consideration, you and your DH have decided that the trip isn't feasible for your family after all, but if she still wants to take her kids, you'd be happy to give her some help planning since you've recently travelled there.

This wording is perfect. You don't need to tell her specifically why you want to cancel, and giving her a reason might cause her to be more upset. I don't see why she can't take her kids without your family. Email her lots of tips, links to helpful planning websites, etc. and encourage her to stick with her plans.

I think you're fine canceling if you do it asap. I wouldn't want to spend $5k on a vacation my kids were meh about, either!