Does the idea of being “forced” to take a vacation seem downright comical to you? You may be surprised at just how many people fall victim to this strange phenomenon. For many, vacation days are limited each year by their places of employment. Unfortunately, many of those days get used to attend things like weddings, funerals, graduations, anniversaries and other social events. Most of us feel obligated to attend these types of events but we’re not always ready for the price tag associated with them, and the destinations aren’t always on our “bucket list” of travel spots.
Just how often do these “obligation” vacations occur? You might be shocked to learn that nearly half of all Americans take some sort of obligatory trip for social reasons every single year. In fact, in one year, Americans spend almost $200 billion on trips that they felt obligated to take! Unfortunately, not all of those trips are to destinations that people actually want to attend so they’re forced to cut back on their own leisure vacations if they don’t have enough time built up.
That sparks the question of whether or not it is acceptable to decline a social invitation like a wedding or anniversary. Etiquette experts believe that it’s acceptable in certain circumstances to say “no,” especially if the event requires you to travel multiple times. For example, if your friend is getting married in another state and they’ve asked you to be in the bridal party, you may be asked to attend the bridal shower, the bachelorette party, and the wedding itself. It would be perfectly acceptable to decline the invitation to the bridal shower and bachelorette party if your situation doesn’t allow for it (or if you simply don’t want to use up that much of your allotted vacation time).
The key is to be realistic about your own budget and availability of vacation times and communicate with the person inviting you. You can politely decline if the trip is just too much for your finances or time.
It’s also important to remember this when you’re the one who is sending out invitations. Be mindful of hotel costs, travel methods, and the location of your event and don’t get bummed out if you get some declines in your RSVPs, too.