Ask Amy: Avoiding the Dreaded Family Vacations

By Amy Dickinson | June 29th, 2021

Self-care is saying no – especially when a miserable trip is involved


Family vacations are miserable Image

Dear Amy: My mother and my brother keep bringing up trips they want to take with us.

I’ve been on trips with them before, and I’m never going to go again.

Both of them are prone to explosive meltdowns that are excruciating to be part of.

I can handle them for a short evening, but that’s it.

The idea of traveling with them is very stressful to me.

I also don’t want my 11-year-old daughter to have the stress of traveling with them.

I keep dodging their requests.

My response is: “Go ahead and go by yourselves, and report back.”

They are not taking the hint.

I see them about twice a month, and the pressure turns any visit with them into a nerve-wracking time for me.

I’m at the point of wanting to avoid them completely.

Telling them straight up that we’re not going to go a trip with them will cause of huge emotional episode, and even then, I don’t think it would sink in.

Any advice on how to have them get the message? Can we recover from this?

– Passport Denied


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Dear Denied: The way you are behaving (so far) is to avoid stating your own preferences, while you become increasingly annoyed by the consistent efforts of your family members to include you.

Now you are at the point where you are on the verge of avoiding not just the topic but the people raising the topic. That solves nothing.

These relatives might need you as a competent buffer of sorts because they’re so volatile, and that’s why they are pressuring you.

It’s possible that if you provide a consistent answer, they will eventually stop bothering you about it.

You can state your case without blaming these family members, thereby hoping to avoid a meltdown. You just say, “I don’t want to go. I haven’t had a good time in the past. But you two should go ahead.” Repeat as often as necessary.

Consider the fact that by staying home, you might be preserving the shreds of your relationship with these family members. If your declaration causes a meltdown, then take refuge in the fact that the meltdown isn’t happening in a far-away destination.


In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068

© 2021 by Amy Dickinson

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