DH and I are planning on traveling to Europe next spring. The first part is a conference for me, but it's in a country we're itching to visit, so DH and the munchkin are planning to come with and we're going to add on a week's vacation. It will be my first true vacay in 6 years, and our first vacay as a family. The trouble? MIL's hinting that she'd like to go and that just isn't going to happen.
First and foremost, MIL doesn't have any of the same interests as we do. We love things like museums and botanical gardens and generally exploring. MIL's idea of vacation is sitting on your butt drinking coffee and people watching. She'd try to dictate the agenda and sulk when she didn't get her way. It's our first time in said country, so we don't feel as flexible as we might if we'd been there before. We also feel protective of this trip because it's our first vacation in so long. Having her go off on her own for part of the time isn't possible, because she's not comfortable navigating a non-English country on her own. Plus, where I do read and speak just enough of the language to get around, she's decided that I'm her designated tour guide.
Second of all, we're going to be in major cities for at least part of the time. Having to deal with driving and parking a car in an unfamiliar city is a huge pain in the tush. We tend to do a lot of walking and rely on public transit when it's too far to walk. I don't want to be mean, but MIL is about 100 pounds overweight and has significant trouble negotiating stairs and with mobility in general. She will not be able to keep up and will insist on renting a car. She cannot drive a stick, and even if she could, she'd refuse to drive in a strange city where she doesn't read the language, so this means that I have to deal with driving her around the city in a car that I didn't really want to have to pay to rent to begin with.
Third of all, she is utterly unadventurous when it comes to food. She will insist on eating at McDonalds or some other gross, touristy venue.
And finally, we're doing a stop over to visit a family that my side of the family is very close with on the way back in another country. These friends are hosting us. I don't feel comfortable asking if they can put MIL up, especially with her quirks about food, etc. She is also nosy and tends to go through people's stuff. To add to this, one of the dear friends (it's an older couple and their grown children) is battling terminal cancer, so this visit will be in part, to say goodbye. I think this is not an opportune time to have her with us.
How to get I get MIL to back off? I feel for her, in that she'd like to see more of the world, but my FIL's idea of adventure is finding a new series on cable. I've tried several times to suggest that she maybe sign up for an Elderhostel trip, perhaps with her sister. No dice. Maybe we'd consider a trip that's more adaptable to her in the future, but this isn't it.