Vacation Expectations: Can I ask my kid’s friends to pay for dinners?

Q: I am planning a beach condo vacation and allowing my 13 and 16 year old kids to each bring along a friend. I will be providing transportation, beachfront accommodations, breakfast, lunch, and snacks daily. I do not cook dinner when I am on vacation so we eat out every night, however paying for 2 extra kids for 7 meals out is a deal breaker for me. Is it rude to ask the friends to pay for their own meals? How should I explain it to the parent when they are invited?

A: Be honest. Say all the costs are on you except dinner, which usually runs $X per evening, and if they are willing to cover the costs of their children’s dinners, and you will provide receipts and account for the costs, you would be delighted to take them with you.


  1. Maggie

    My instinct would be to pay for their dinners as they are young guests. But if you really can’t, I wouldn’t ask for a nightly amount or promise an accounting. I would just calculate the approximate cost of 7 dinners and say that, since there will be lots of eating out, you’re asking the two guests to each contribute that flat dollar amount of X toward their meals. Then you cover any overages and can use any excess to offset the costs of other things. Further haggling/accounting beyond that would really start to diminish the gesture of hosting them.

  2. Elizabeth

    I actually think it’s OK to ask the parents for some money. I would be surprised if they didn’t offer. Just because you offer to take your kids’ friends on vacation, doesn’t mean that you’re offering to pay for every last aspect.

  3. Ruth Peltier

    Personally, when I was in a similar situation, I talked to the parents, told them the amount of money that seemed needed, and allowed the kids to handle their own money, asking for seperate checks. Good practice for the kids and it did away with the need for accounting at the end of the trip.

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