How to set financial limits for holiday visits

For many people, visiting family during winter break is a matter of “how”, not “if”. But this year, rising costs could make commuting less affordable, especially when combined with other life changes – such as moving across the country, going to school or getting married. .

The best way to tame these vacation travel expenses? Set financial boundaries with your family and friends early on. Having such conversations can be intimidating, but there are ways to make compromises to keep the holiday feeling special without deviating from your goals.

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As you add new commitments to your life, it can be difficult to maintain the same holiday travel routine. Younger millennials may have to move further away from family to find work, like Audrey Peshkam, who moved to New York earlier this year from her hometown in Southern California to work for a local family. non-profit organization.

“For the first time, visiting my parents for Christmas would be a pretty big expense,” says Peshkam. “If I were to stay in New York long-term, I would have to cover the cost of one cross-country flight per year.” She hopes that as she advances in her career, the financial stress will ease.

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Antoinette Myers Perry, who lives with his wife and dogs in the Washington, D.C. area and is currently earning his third graduate degree, has been balancing these trade-offs for more than a decade.

“When I was in the early stages of my career, I couldn’t always afford to fly home,” says Perry. “Holidays also mean choosing someone else’s parents and siblings, which is often a heartbreaking choice.” (Perry’s family is divided into several states.)

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“Now that I’m older and starting my own family, it’s even more difficult,” she added, explaining that she now has to take into account her in-laws and her travel restrictions. her dogs.

As work, partners, pets, and kids add complexity to vacation plans and increase costs, it’s essential to check your expectations – and communicate them with your family.


FILE – A tourist moves through Philadelphia International Airport ahead of the Independence Day weekend in Philadelphia, Friday, July 1, 2022. The concept of “going home for the holidays” changes throughout. your life and many millennials are currently going through that transition. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

Matt Rourke


Finances and family occasions are often two of the most important aspects of adult life, which can cause conflict if they are out of sync. To avoid misunderstandings, inform your limitations in advance.

Perry says that for many years, the conversation about her vacation home visit was so difficult that she would avoid it altogether. She would choose to spend vacations with faculty and community members during college and early adulthood instead of traveling.

Now, she works toward compromise, helping her family expect visits that fit her budget and schedule.

Whatever your vacation travel restrictions, you’re better off being honest than overspending to avoid disappointing people. Even if you can’t afford a plane ticket, you can still plan to meet friends and family members over a phone call or video chat. And in some cases, if your loved one knows in advance about your financial situation, they may be willing to cover some or all of your travel expenses.


For many people, a significant life change is when “home” moves from the place you visit to where you stay. Millennials are establishing their own homes, families and holiday traditions, and they may find it right to start inviting retired parents to join them. While hosting comes with certain time and cost commitments, it can be more manageable than traveling for some people.

Instead, you can convince your family to come to you by sharing your plight. Pets and kids are a huge hassle to drive or fly with, and having a new home can be a good reason to invite people over to visit.


If flights around popular holidays are out of your budget, try the Thanksgiving break (or none at all) to celebrate similar traditions in a less hectic week. Another option is to prioritize an essential holiday, whether it’s a religious occasion, a seasonal favorite, or a family member’s birthday.

“My family is more concerned about Christmas than Thanksgiving,” says Peshkam. “I couldn’t afford to go home for either of them, so they knew I was going to spend Thanksgiving with friends.”

If you can’t visit your family during the big holidays, talk to friends, neighbors or co-workers. You might be surprised how willing people are to open their doors and share their holiday meals with other guests, including their spouses and children.

“Spending the holiday with members of the community who were kind enough to pick me up at their homes has broadened my definition of family,” says Perry. “And when I’ve shared these diverse experiences with my family, they almost always forgive me for not coming home.”

This column was provided to the Associated Press by personal finance website NerdWallet. Dalia Ramirez is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: [email protected]


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