15

Recently, my significant other and I decided to travel to the Caribbean Sea. We already bought the airplane tickets and reserved the first hotel in one of the major cities.

However, the last 4 days are the main problem, as we are going to a beach place full of resorts. While a reasonable hotel there with good reviews costs around $400 for the 4 days, she is insisting on getting a more expensive one, costing $4000 for the same 4 days, a kind of all-inclusive resort of your dreams.

We both have full-time jobs and are capable of splitting all travel costs without problem. But even so, I'm against spending this much: 10 times more than planned!

I have used the following arguments:

  • We are not going to enjoy this resort fully, as we are planning a couple of day trips to other places nearby;

  • Even splitting the costs, $2000 is too much for spending on a single place. I would prefer to spend part of this with restaurants and other activities;

  • This vacation is going to be good with or without this resort.

My significant other feels that I'm not as enthusiastic as her for this vacation, which makes her also less excited about it.

Goal:

How can I make everybody happy again, without spending the $4000, i.e., convincing her to spend less on this reservation?

  • 1
    Is it possible there is some other reason your SO wants this to be special? Perhaps some secret like they want to propose to you in a $4000 dollar paradise? (You didn't mention if you were married or not) Or first time having sex, anything like that that would mean they would like this to be extra special but don't necessarily want to say why? Is an over spend like this characteristic? – Lio Elbammalf Mar 18 '18 at 8:51
  • 2
    @LioElbammalf If That were the case, expecting the OP to pay an additional $1800 of their money for her planned surprise would be pretty unreasonable. – Spagirl Mar 18 '18 at 8:58
  • 2
    "10 times more than planned!" Did you really agree for an accommodation budget, or just add different untold opinion on how much one could/should spend on hostels? The OP does not make this very clear to me. – Taladris Mar 18 '18 at 9:02
  • How many days of income does your $2000 share represent? – peufeu Mar 18 '18 at 10:14
  • 1
    Can you make it more clear whether or not you two would be spending the $3600 difference on other trip-related activities, or if that $3600 is beyond your total trip budget altogether? That makes a difference. Also, unless you are debt free, retirement funding on track, kids education funds on track, you can argue that the $ should go there. Your scenario suggests that you and your SO have significantly difference philosophies with money, and they are just coming to light with this trip. Whatever you do, I suggest you iron out these differences as far ahead of the trip as possible. – GWR Apr 18 '18 at 13:23
16

I don't have a good answer but I think it's important that you speak with her about this and find a good solution.

I guess if she wants to pay 4,000USD she wants that everything is perfect, wonderful, absolutely special, 100% of the time. And that is a very high expectation. And maybe you are part of that expectation that you and her together must be 100% happy under these conditions. Even 90% happy is probably not good enough.

I think you should address her expectations. Why does she want to spend all that money? What does she expect to get out of it? Is it even possible that she could be 10 times more happy compared to spending 400USD?

  • 2
    Veto to your first sentence! This IS a great answer as it addresses the basic problem. The same situation as christmas :-) people except a 100% perfect time and allow every little deviation to spoil the whole thing without reason. @Chaotic Resolve that thoroughly before your holidays. Don't run into a time that is expensive and nevertheless disappointing for both of you. This is not a matter of costs only but also of your SO's expectations and attitude to your common time. Edit: I'm not negative about her! It's just a matter of equalizing dreams and reality. – puck Mar 18 '18 at 8:46
  • @puck: In my answer I make a couple of assumptions, and maybe they are wrong. And I don't really answer his question how to make everybody happy... – user8838 Mar 18 '18 at 9:48
  • yes I see your point. But I'd say there is nothing better left to do than you did. – puck Mar 18 '18 at 10:39
10

I used to have these kinds of issues with my ex-wife on a pretty regular basis. Whenever we were planning a trip or considering a major purchase she would lean towards the more/most expensive options under the assumption that you "get what you pay for."

My approach was usually a practical one. I'd take a hard look at what kind of experience she was trying to have, what she was looking to get out of spending all that money, and then price it out individually. The nice meals would cost x, spa day y, and so on... Usually it wasn't too hard to show her that we could do most, if not all, of the same things for a lot less money.

Sometimes we could even have a better experience for less money. It was just a matter of breaking it down to the itemized bill, and showing her that while we could spend a whole lot on a nicer hotel, it would cut into the budget for other fun things.

Look for things that the hotel doesn't offer. Tours, museums, live shows, etc and make the case that staying elsewhere would allow you two to do those things while still being able to do the things that the hotel offered.

Basically it sounded something like:

I know you liked the $4k all inclusive hotel, but if we go with this cheaper hotel, we'll have the money left over to do these extra things... Like the hotel includes meals and all, but then we're stuck eating at the hotel, rather than sampling the local fare. I found this really awesome 5 star restaurant in the area that I'd like to check out, and there's some interesting night life on the same street...

More or less, you're showing your partner that you really are interested and invested in the trip by doing the research and finding alternatives to the ridiculously expensive hotel. You're also showing them that you're not trying to compromise the experience, you're just looking for a less expensive, and more enjoyable experience.

Perhaps also worth sitting down with your partner and watching some food and travel shows. You'll probably both notice that they rarely, if ever, set foot in the all inclusive resorts. Some of the travel tv hosts even show open disdain for them. They nearly always recommend the local restaurants and small boutique hotels, over the generic resorts...

5

The answer lies more in the "why?" behind the decision she wants to make, rather than with the "how do I convince her otherwise?"

There is almost certainly a good reason why. If she isn't being irrational on any other part of the trip, there is a specific reason as to why she wants to go with this route. It could be that she really wants to spend the money on something extravagant because she never does otherwise. It could be her dream resort since when she was a young child. It could be any number of things.

Given that, just attacking the problem and trying to get the cost down isn't the way to approach this. Even if you succeed, there's a great chance that the fallout will be pretty bad if there was a good motive behind the extravagant room.

It can be fun to guess what that reason might be, but it's really the linchpin to everything. Without the reason, you will continue to look like the bad guy simply because it appears that you're blowing off her emotions. You aren't doing that at all, but it can sure look like it to the other person if you're being steadfast without inquiring further.

Once you've tackled the rationale behind it, you can more easily work the problem given more information. If it's because it's a special event, you can remind her that anything with her is special. If it's a lifelong childhood dream, then maybe you do need to compromise and let it happen. But all of that is conjecture without more information.

2

Afford it or not a 10x multiple is an extravagance. You have to talk her out of it is just not fair in my opinion. She should have brought this up as a discussion and joint decision.

It is not fair of her to characterize your desire to budget as a lack of enthusiasm. It is not mature of her to be less excited - it is still a vacation to the Caribbean with you.

What I am saying is I see some relation red flags. This should have been discussed in a rational way.

With all that said I don't have a good answer other than start addressing the bigger issue.

Is this about more than just a nice hotel. Ask her "why this is so important to your." Does she view this as a measure of your commitment to her?

Work the bigger picture.

Honey this a significant financial decision. We need to discuss these things up front and come to a responsible decisions together. Yes we can afford it but it is extravagant and enough money that it matters. We are going to have other financial decisions in life like buying a house and we need to be able to talk these things through.

You may need to sacrifice on the hotel but at least lay down the ground rules for moving forward. If she gets this because she made a hiss she will likely do it again.

2

You are doomed.

If you do go to the luxury hotel you'll be unhappy, if you don't she'll be unhappy.

Simply convincing her to go to the cheaper place won't fix this, because as long as she believes the $4000 option would have been the better choice, you'll be blamed for anything that isn't perfect.

But there's a loophole: Assume that you may be wrong and help her convince you. If she can convince you that the luxury hotel is a reasonable option you'll both be happy.

Tell her why you don't like the idea of staying in a luxury hotel, not with the goal of convincing her, but with the goal of having her understand how you tick so she can convince you. Help her to convince you, because if she succeeds you'll be happy.

0

I think that one potentially effective way to discuss this is by saying

Hey [first name of SO], regarding our trip to the Caribbean Sea, I would like to discuss with you how saving money and booking the cheaper hotel could really expand our options, while we are there.

You can then choose to highlight some great restaurants or shows at the Caribbean Sea that you guys can go to and afford easily, because you guys saved a significant amount of money by booking the cheaper hotel to stay at.

You can’t really force them to make a different choice, but you can convince them to make a different choice for themselves. So, be sure to accentuate the positives of going with the cheaper hotel, and aim for a compromise with them.

Source: https://www.thesimpledollar.com/im-frugal-but-my-spouse-is-not/

-1

"My SO feels"

Option 1) Counter with feeeelings:

"Honey, this is so expensive all I'm going to be able to think about during these four days will be the price! I won't even be able to enjoy it. I'm already picturing myself drinking that martini, and thinking 'holy f--' that glass cost me fifty bucks and it's stirred not shaken! How dare you! I want to talk to the manager!"

(for extra spice, add "I won't be able to give you the attention you deserve if I'm thinking about money the whole time").

Option 2) It's a simple shit test (ie, she's testing if you have the confidence to say no) so agree and amplify.

"My budget for these four days is only $400, but I'm so happy you're offering to cover the extra $1600! -- grin -- Oh, this is going to be suuuch a dream holiday, do you think the price includes naked masseuses? -- thoughtful look -- For 4k, it better... lemme check in the brochure..."

Note you're already making a huge concession here, as you're going from your previous budget ($400 for both) to $400 each...

Option 3) The jerk

"Damn, I'm gonna have to sell the ring I bought to pay for that."

Try not to laugh. After she stops hyperventilating, you can say you were just kidding, but wouldn't it be a good idea to save a little bit if you want to buy that house with her eventually.

Option 4) Flattery

"I'm not going there for the hotel, I want us to have a good time together." (and insist that even a tent would be fine as long as she's there and she brings that particular swimsuit)

Option 5) Logic

Explain that you go on vacation to get away from stress and pressure. Paying a ridiculously extravagant amount for your vacation brings the stress and pressure back, as you have to make sure everything is perfect! This is like having a chaperone running after you and whacking you with a stick and saying "you must have fun!!! have fun now!!!" in other words this will feel like work, not fun!

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