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Need help ditching friends

shoechick's picture

I could do it bluntly and lose them for life, or you can help me :)  We have very old friends that want to join us on vacation next year.  Probably a med cruise or a land trip.  He refuses to drive in Europe so they thought my DH would make a great driver/tour guide.  We really don't want to vacation with them, but I don't know how to get out of it.  We see them socially, my DH has known him for 40 years.  They fight all the time, and just create such as toxic environment.  We travel light and also pretty cheaply, she can't go for a long weekend without two 30 inch suitcases.   I like to shop the local markets, they would want to go out for dinner every night.  I'm scared to say we can't afford it because they're loaded and would perhaps offer to pay.  How can I get out of this?


The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

msm-s's picture

(post #52143, reply #1 of 126)

Why did i have to check this site just now- I almost made it to bed at a decent hour.

Bummer. It is easy to theorize about good answers, but sooo very hard to gather the poise and confidence to pull it off.

In cases like this, to be honest, I am not above lying (am I a hypocrite or what?). you could tell them that this is going to be a romantic vacation for just the 2 of you.
Did they invite themselves Or did you sort of kind of already agree they could come along?
It would help to know who said what in the discussion of traveling together.

shoechick's picture

(post #52143, reply #2 of 126)

It's been over the course of the last year, they've said "oh we should plan something together for 2010".  And to be honest, we've just gone along with it, but now it's coming to the time to actually find something and we just don't want to do it.

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

msm-s's picture

(post #52143, reply #3 of 126)

Plan something else together for 2010. seriously. Come up with another tip that won't hurt the budget, but don't let them ruin Europe for you. I can't afford to travel hardly ever, and I for sure won't travel with people who would interfere with my enjoying the trip.

I'm not good at this stuff, but I sure hope you get some answers that help!

msm-s's picture

(post #52143, reply #21 of 126)

ITA with leonap that honesty is really the best, although it can be hard to tell someone that basically, you don't want to be with them in a given situation.

I think it comes off FAR better if you can be upbeat about it and not give too many details. Too serious or apologetic, and it comes off like a big deal. She'll be embarrassed that you've been fretting about it. I'd just go with a sort of girl-talk, I know you can understand, we just really want to do this trip alone.
Don't throw in details, because she'll find excuses for them.
Try to get her to help you start getting ideas for the excursion you will take together, so she knows you aren't blowing her off completely.
PS- if that doesn't work, try Rich's suggestions ;-)


Edited 3/31/2009 10:04 am ET by msm-s

Biscuit's picture

(post #52143, reply #19 of 126)

you could tell them that this is going to be a romantic vacation for just the 2 of you.


Ditto that.  You could also chatter on and on and on about how great it will be to "travel just with backpacks!" and hopping on and off trains on a whim, and eat at local food stands, and hiking and basically present them with a picture of traveling that is very unappealing to them.


Or you could gently, sweetly, tell them "We love you, but these trips for us are romantic and alone time for us - we really just want a romantic tour of Europe on our own.  But perhaps we can meet at some point in our trip and share a day or two?"


Statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.
- Mark Twain

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

PeterDurand's picture

(post #52143, reply #4 of 126)

I wonder what Judith Martin (aka Miss Manners) would do in this situation. I am serious. I don't suppose that telling them you decided to do a biking (pedal or motor) trip would work? Staying with friends who have no place for extra folks? Trip to save your marriage? Going to nudist resorts?

Cheers,

Peter

 


Better life through Zoodles and poutine...
shoechick's picture

(post #52143, reply #5 of 126)

Too funny!!! My mom said to tell them we were just going for a sex filled two weeks and they'd be in the way :)

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #52143, reply #6 of 126)

Your mother and I are on the same page. Any way you could sort of gently hint that you're on the make for a swingers' resort? And your friends would be welcome if... and only if...?

ETA: Seriously, I'd just tell them the plain (only slightly varnished) truth: that you two don't get enough time for just the two of you during the rest of the year, and you need your vacation time to get back in touch with each other. Anyone who's watched enough soap operas, or even Oprah, has to respect that.

"If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies". -Moshe Dayan, military leader and politician (1915-1981)


Edited 3/31/2009 1:11 am by shywoodlandcreature

shoechick's picture

(post #52143, reply #7 of 126)

 

Your mother and I are on the same page. Any way you could sort of gently hint that you're on the make for a swingers' resort? And your friends would be welcome if... and only if...?


EEEWWWWWWWW


I was laughingly telling Bernie this and as he said, the really, really scary thing would be if they agreed to go :)


I think I'm leaning towards just telling them that the itinerary we have picked out just isn't conducive to 4 people with luggage in a car, we want to be exploring Brussels, Normandy and Brittany.  I just can't see them hoping on trains.


The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.  ~St. Augustine

shywoodlandcreature's picture

(post #52143, reply #8 of 126)

the itinerary we have picked out just isn't conducive to 4 people with luggage in a car


Well I'd certainly take the hint... though I'm not prone to travelling in packs of four at the best of times. Good luck with it.






"If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies". -Moshe Dayan, military leader and politician (1915-1981)
peteshlagor's picture

(post #52143, reply #10 of 126)

"just isn't conducive to 4 people with luggage in a car..."


I think you got your reason.  Have you seen the 4 person cars in Europe? 


We did a trip with three other couples in two Euro SUV's in Ireland.  Nice trip, but 4 people and luggage in one of tiny those cars is dang near impossible/intolerable.  Not again.  Frankly, you won't be able to see out the rear view mirror due to all of the luggage.  Not to mention the packages that will get piled on the back seat passenger's laps.


Two people are focused (and squeezed) in the front seat, studying the street signs and maps.  They are not on a nice Sunday drive enjoying the scenery.  It's a nerve wracking process, staying in the wrong lanes, translating the metric speeds and distances and avoiding the police blowing whistles at you for going the wrong way in a roundabout.


Those in the back seat of course, laugh and soil their shorts.  No problem for them.


It isn't a fair trip.  A cruise would be different.  But not a road trip.

evelyn's picture

(post #52143, reply #24 of 126)

there are different-sized cars in Europe. All depends on how much you want to pay. ;-)

Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next.

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
peteshlagor's picture

(post #52143, reply #25 of 126)

Of course. 


And there are all sizes of roads.  Newer, more modern Euro roads will be fine for the Escalade.  You're kidding yourself if you think you can get into an older city with it.


Plus, the locals don't necessarily have the most "generous" desire to share such small roads with Texas sized American cars.


When the DW and I drove thru the Irish countryside by ourselves a few years back, we got a medium sized Euro car and fortunately bought the insurance.  More than once, we were forced off the road, scrapping the stone walls hidden under the briars.  Not to mention where would one park an Escalade or Tahoe?  A very long way from town.


 


For the type of vacation the OP was discussing, I would think the most appropriate way for them to go with the other couple would be a tour thru a college alumni travel program.  The tour is all planned.  The best spots are included (within reason).  Many times all meals are also.  The big comfortable coaches (testimony to those saying big cars can work) have incredible drivers, some with the best senses of humor.  And a guide!  Plus the hotel is all taken care of.  A very easy way to travel with others.


 

evelyn's picture

(post #52143, reply #26 of 126)

don't know what an Escalade is. Don't know what a Tahoe is. Do know what a European sedan is, and it is very roomy and comfortable and fine on European roads.

Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next.

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
kathymcmo's picture

(post #52143, reply #27 of 126)

And you can live a long and happy life without ever driving behind either montrosity.

Gretchen's picture

(post #52143, reply #36 of 126)

Many years ago we rented an Audi for our family of 5--3 large teens at the time. We did just fine.


More recently we rented a Renault "station wagon" in France for 4 of us--and did fine. 


We did see someone driving a motor home in Provence and that looked truly scary on small small streets, with sharp turns in the towns.


Gretchen
Gretchen
courgette's picture

(post #52143, reply #14 of 126)

We know people who travel together frequently and have a great time.  We have only done it once and while it was OK, probably wouldn't do it again.


We have other very well heeled friends who have wanted to go to Scotland with us for several years. When I pointed out the costs we would incur traveling with them, DH agreed and we jut "never seem to get sround to it". Like your friends they spare no expense, go for expensive dinners etc and like you, we do a lot on a shoestring. We often skip dinner or just pick up something in a deli along with some chaeap wine. We walk for miles.


As someone has already mentioned, cars in Europe are very small. We went to visit our daughter a few years ago when she was studying in France and with the five of us, and luggage, it was a nightmare. Getting on and off the trains was crazy and getting a single cab was impossible unless we managed to find a van and then they charged triple. Last fall we were in Spain with three of us and even that was tight in a rental car.


The only way I would consider traveling with people like these is on a tour where costs are more or less controlled. Tell them you are saving it for when you are retired. Are you perchance very active and they are couch potatoes? I am no althlete by any means, but a lot of our friends could not keep up with us.


Another thing you could tell them is that you travelled with dear friends in the past and it didn't work out and now you are no longer friends with them. That you value their friendship too much to risk losing it. That you transform into a crank when you travel and that Bernie is the only one you would inflict yourself on. That he tolerates you because he loves you. That you are not fit company for anyone else, especially people you care about.


Perhaps you could tell them you are walking the Camino de Santiago......


It is a very difficult path to tread.


Mo

ashleyd's picture

(post #52143, reply #18 of 126)

Just a small correction, cars in Europe are not small, although externally they may be smaller than their North American equivalents, internally they are very well "packaged" and have a surprising amount of space. The problem with European cars (for North Americans) is that they are expensive so the temptation is to take an "economy" car that "seats 5" according to the rental company. Well sure it does if you are going to just go a few miles with no luggage, but it ain't going to be comfortable for touring. You need the equivalent of an American intermediate or full-size care but the cost is horrendous, especially because of the insurance which doesn't tend to hit Americans when they rent in their own country (but does hit visitors hard - ask how I know!), so the cost is maybe three or four times what they would pay at home for a car of the same capacity.


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

courgette's picture

(post #52143, reply #23 of 126)

We rented the largest we could find, and it was complicated by the presence of golf clubs.  At least now that issue is settled. Pat has no burning desire to notch off all the big golf courses around the world. And if the opportunity presents itself, he will rent clubs.


But is is difficult to get a minivan. Companies usually only have one and it is gone. At least that was our experience. Due to the price of gas, Europeans don't want the larger vehicles, so less demand, and less availability.


We want to do a trip with backpacks and train it. I think it will be a lot of fun. No itinerary, just whatever and wherever appeals. Never did the backpacking in Europe when I was young. Of course, I am talking about a pack with wheels....


Mo

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #52143, reply #22 of 126)

I really like this idea:

"Another thing you could tell them is that you travelled with dear friends in the past and it didn't work out and now you are no longer friends with them. That you value their friendship too much to risk losing it. That you transform into a crank when you travel and that Bernie is the only one you would inflict yourself on. That he tolerates you because he loves you. That you are not fit company for anyone else, especially people you care about."

beware any excuse that just says "not this time" because it opens things up for them wanting to go next time.

Gretchen's picture

(post #52143, reply #17 of 126)

Bingo. Your itinerary suits YOUR method of travel.


We went to Paris with some very good friends who had never been and once there, it became apparent that our travel method of getting up and out early in the morning was not "Mary's" although it might have suited "John". So after a day or so we just agreed we would do as we wanted duing the day and get back together for dinner--or at some point during the day. By that time the husband had mastered the Metro, and they are certainly smart enough to plan a day from a guide book.  You really DO have to be careful of travelling companions when you are truly "sighseeing". I think it would only be family members now--and maybe only our kids. I can forgive them anything!!


Good luck.


I also think saying, we really want to have this time for us--maybe we can go out to dinner next week instead.


 


Gretchen
Gretchen
Lee's picture

(post #52143, reply #29 of 126)

I think I'm leaning towards just telling them that the itinerary we have picked out just isn't conducive to 4 people with luggage in a car, we want to be exploring Brussels, Normandy and Brittany.  I just can't see them hoping on trains.


I think you're on the right track.  I wouldn't get involved in any kind of elaborate excuse.  A simple dose of the truth, nicely put, should suffice.  Your trip is too precious to spoil by being polite to people who are on a different wavelength and would ruin the experience for you. 


We had the same situation come up with friends who wanted to plan a trip with us, and that's how we handled it.  We enjoy spending an evening, or even a couple of days with them, but having spent 4 days vacationing with them in the States, we would have slit our wrists after 2 weeks of waiting around for her to get going in the morning, running late every evening for dinner (she's always late; I think she does it mostly to irritate him), listening to them bicker, having to eat 3 sit-down meals every day (we like to pick up food for picnic lunches or grab something from a little shop), and wasting time discussing whose itinerary we would follow each day.  We simply have totally different concepts when it comes to travel and what we like to see.  We ended up doing less of what we wanted and too much of what they wanted.  Never again.


Edited 3/31/2009 5:33 pm ET by lee

sally ryan's picture

(post #52143, reply #30 of 126)

Run for your life!  There aren't many of us who can successfully travel in packs.  I am planning a wknd trip with a friend of mine and I can't stand her already.  I booked a day off work after she chose the dates, and now she thinks she'd rather go the next day.  Wants to rent a car but doesn't want to drive it.  I could go on and on.  Tell them you're really looking forward to some alone time and leave it at that.  Don't let them make you feel guilty.  Holidays are precious in these hectic times.


 

MadMom's picture

(post #52143, reply #31 of 126)

I agree with everything that everyone has said, but shoechick, don't give them too detailed an excuse (4 people and all their luggage would be too much for the car) or they might just decide to pay for a bigger car, etc.  Just tell them you want to spend some alone time with your DH.  They can hardly argue with that...and be firm.



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Sondra's picture

(post #52143, reply #28 of 126)

Lol, all wonderful suggestions.

evelyn's picture

(post #52143, reply #9 of 126)

I think I suggested this before, and it's pretty much in line with swc's recommendation. A second honeymoon? You can't be 4 on one of those. ;-)

Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next.

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
helena1's picture

(post #52143, reply #11 of 126)

We went on vacation together with a single friend of my husband 3 years ago. I know the guy pretty well, I liked him fine, and still, I would *never* do it again. Vacation is sacred to me in the way that it is one of the very few chances you have as a couple to reconnect. It's just not the same with another party involved. A weekend get-away? Perfectly fine. A vacation: definately never again.


Maybe you could come up with something that explains your different opinions on how to travel comfortably, (you like the more adventurous way, they like the more luxurious way to travel) and how you think that THIS vacation would not lend itsself to compromise as well as you'd like. Whatever you do, stick to your guns. You will regret giving in and travelling together (keep reminding yourself of that when you speak to them!)


ashleyd's picture

(post #52143, reply #12 of 126)

Same offer as before, say you're visiting meeting friends who are driving afrom the UK to ferry you around, I can even write you a couple of e-mails if they want "proof".


Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Age is unimportant unless you’re a cheese.

Rich02's picture

(post #52143, reply #13 of 126)

When faced with a situation such as yours there is only one way to go- think outside the box (hate that expression)  but select from these.  #1- Real reason for your trip is to go Zurich for the famed Herpes cure.  #2Plan to spend long weekend at the Warsaw Lawrence Welk Bed and Breakfast #3 Always wanted to repel from the Eiffel Tower in the spring (or Rapel)#4 Taking up offer from friend to use his Yugo for that lovely drive up the Autobahn#5 Going to Amsterdam for operation that will turn you into shoerooster.  Hope this helps.  Rich

It's not what you say or what you do- it's how you make people feel

We did what we did when we knew what we knew, now that we know better, we should do the better thing.   Maya Angelou

Jean's picture

(post #52143, reply #15 of 126)

We had a similar problem with old friends, but it's complicated by the fact that we've vacationed with them before many times, camping trips, etc. They've 'graduated' to summer/winter homes and still want us to join them. Now they have a winter place in Arizona and are begging us to come. The last time we stayed with them in SC she and her DH were at swords point much of the time and we felt so uncomfortable we swore never again. Our excuse now is my mobility problems--too long a road trip and I won't fly. We just bluntly told them it's not going to happen.


Why not just plan a weekend with them somewhere nearby and use the logistic problems with 4 in a car as your reason to go it alone in Europe. Just don't cave, you'll regret it.



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