After planning a massive Disney World trip last summer, MIL was understandably burned out from planning summer vacation for the 6 grandkids this year. She gave heavy hints to DH that he was in charge this year (by which I mean, she asked if he had thoughts and then said she was not going to plan anything but someone else should feel free).
DH’s first attempt was a week at the in-laws like old times back when nobody had enough money and there were enough beds to fit all the parents and children (so 4 grandkids and one house remodel that turned a bedroom into a kitchen and another into an office ago). That went over like lead. So DH added a 2 day trip to an Historic Site that is ~3 hours from the grandparents and 1.5 hours from both his siblings. (Oddly, none of them has ever been with their kids.) MIL seemed … disappointed… that there were only 2 days of things planned.
So after an extensive conversation with DH’s brother and SIL and a lengthy gchat with a friend from high school who grew up near said Historic city, we came up with 2 more days of activities (MIL still disappointed… can the kids really handle that much educational stuff? But, we said, there’s a water park! And a summer festival! And she was happier.)
So we bought plane tickets for DH and the kids. $1,365. If we were driving I’d also be going to break up the driving shifts. But DC2 tends to throw up on long trips and we can afford it… but honestly I don’t see much point in me going too when I could be doing work and not spending $455 on a plane ticket. If they were going someplace I wanted to go… Not that I’ve got anything against [Midwestern town], but from what I understand, I’ve been there, done that, and not much has changed since my own childhood. (There is one Frank Lloyd Wright house I’m a little bummed at not getting to see, but I bet without me there they won’t go see it.)
But it’s too expensive to get all 4 families anyplace in the summer that I’d like to go. I have some truly ridiculously expensive work junkets this summer that I’m not taking the family on. One because the plane tickets to [insert fancy outdoorsy destination for economists and east coast elite] in the summer were just too too much, another that isn’t terribly expensive but conflicts with the coding daycamp DC1 really wants to go to… another conflicts with another camp DC1 is going to (Irritatingly, there are PLENTY of expensive day camps for DC1 this summer, but I only put away $3000 in the DDA after last year’s fiasco). Conferences in expensive locations that aren’t on the west coast are completely wasted on me. I just fly in, conference, and fly out, spending most of the time trying to regulate my temperature with layers. We might use my frequent flyer miles to fly in MIL so DC2 and DH can go with me to the second city, though that doesn’t seem like a great deal for MIL.
Anyway, back to the trip. We found a house ($867) that fits three families and its guest house that fits a couple ($265) to rent for about the same price as hotels, which made MIL happy. Houses are also easier for us to just pay for. I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t put a crimp in the in-laws budget or DH’s brother’s family’s, but SIL’s family is younger and not yet comfortably off (not to mention used to MIL and FIL paying for stuff like this). So we don’t have a problem paying for it. The thing is, DH’s younger siblings don’t think of chipping in for housing when it’s a group house and it doesn’t seem right that MIL and FIL should be responsible for it all when they’re retired and we make so much money. If we were doing hotels, it would be harder to finagle that trick– everyone would probably pay for their own room except MIL would pay for SIL’s. (Is it crass that I pay attention to these things? I worry a lot about people being forced to pay for things in the interest of family harmony when we can easily shoulder some of that burden. I’d prefer to spend $455 on IL’s housing than on a plane ticket for myself…)
So… family summer vacation of $2,500, plus whatever they spend on eating out. (DH suspects MIL also wanted to not be responsible for a ton of cooking, which is understandable.)
Seems like a lot just to go to the Midwest, but hey, it’s less than going to Hawaii, amirite? Or Europe? Heck, it’s less than we spent at Disney last year.
Man, I suck at vacations.
Do you have upcoming vacation plans? Who plans your family gatherings?