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I live in a developing country. My wife and I make US$32,000 yearly. My brother and his wife live and work in a developed country and make much more than us, probably 3 times more.

Recently, some of our relatives have gone on international tourist trips. Now my brother wants to go on an international trip, one that surpasses the recent trips. He wants him, his wife, our retired parents who live in my country, and my family of 3 to go on this trip to Europe. Flights, trains, accommodation and visas all combined will be at least US$8250, not including local expenses. We would have to probably share the expenses 50-50.

I just joined a new job recently and started making some money. Before this new job, my wife's and my income was US$24000. I can afford this vacation my brother is suggesting, but it feels like an extravaganza. I still don't have a house of my own. I feel that If I tell him we can't come on this trip, it will reflect badly on my wife and me.

In addition, I already have some emotional baggage which makes me feel that I am not respected by my parents. If I did not have to go on this trip I can think of many things I would do with the money saved - replace the old car at parents, put towards my home, etc.

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    What is your goal besides not going on said trip? Why do you think simply explaining yourself would not work? – Kaspar Scherrer Nov 5 '18 at 13:24
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    Your location would probably help, as the answer might depend heavily on your local cultural norms. – Andrew Nov 5 '18 at 22:06
  • Are you opposed to going on the trip if your brother offers to pay? – Ethan Nov 6 '18 at 0:23
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    "I feel that If I tell him we cant come on this trip it will reflect badly on me and wife" Could you specify what you mean? Could your family think you don't like them/care for them, if you don't join? Or could they think bad, because you have less money? Something else? – Arsak Nov 6 '18 at 6:11
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So I take it from your question that your brother wants you onboard with a 50:50 spending among everyone; he makes 3 times more then you do.

You're asking:

how can I refuse it?

First off, it is very likely that if you do go on this trip you will spend much more then the price tag you suggested above and from a cost-benefit analysis this trip is an expense far more then you can possibly afford.

Given this, your best argument is to present the financial around this trip in such way that promotes your brother but at the same time bringing his feet back to the ground.

As always, start with the good points - he took an outstanding initiative, he thought about his family and ask all of them to join you. On the flip side, he overlooked the economic of this trip. You guys are not on the same domain financially speaking and for that reason this idea, while honorable, is not executable.

You can say something along this line:

Brother, this idea sounds awesome! Mom and dad would love to join you and my wife is still entreating the idea. Full respect on the initiative here and hopefully many more to come. However, I'm not sure if this is a great idea from a financial point of view. You know, My wife and I are still working in [country name comes here] and the life standard are not as in Europe. I have the feeling that if we join you it will be an expense that will take us X years to return. I've struggled with the idea and decided, responsibly to decline. I'm sure you can relate to my argument.

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