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This Is the Age Kids Should Have to Pay Their Own Costs on Family Vacation, Survey Says

As a kid, you may have been lucky enough to go on a family vacation or two.


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On those trips, you probably ate like royalty, played all day in the pool, had all the virgin frozen drinks you wanted, and never, ever saw the bill. Sadly, as an adult, you’re also probably expected to pony up some cash for those same family getaways.

But, when really should people start paying for their own travels? According to a new survey by Bankrate, almost everyone thinks you should be paying by the age of 20.

“The journey to independence has changed in recent years as ‘helicopter parenting’ and prolonged education continue to create more co-dependent financial relationships between parents and children,” Bankrate wrote in its survey findings. “But the data from this new survey reveals an alarming trend: 50 percent of Americans say they have sacrificed or are sacrificing their own retirement savings in order to help their adult children financially.”

The survey, conducted by YouGov, asked 2,553 adults (including 890 adults with at least one child 18 or older) questions about money and age. Those questions included when children should start paying their own cellphone bill, rent, credit card bills, and travel-related expensive. For all of the above survey respondents said children should start paying by their 20th birthday.

So, what can parents do to both set those healthy boundaries and start asking their kids to pay for their own flights and hotel rooms?

“You have to decide what works best for you and then present that,” Dr. Laura Dabney, a psychiatrist specializing in interpersonal relationships, told Bankrate. “Start with being honest about that. And then, listen to the child — and maybe come up with a compromise. Take the two wants and needs from both sides and come up with a plan that works for everybody so there’s no resentment that eventually gets in the way.”

As part of the compromise on travel, try planning your next family getaway together. Here’s a quick guide on how to plan a family vacation that will suit everyone and ensure you have lasting (and happy) family memories together.


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