UPDATED: Feb. 22, 2021 —
When it comes to vacationing with your lady, the conversations around money can get real funny. So many people in relationships (and situationships) have conflicting views on if a man should a man pay for the couple’s trip. Let’s speak on it. A lot of folks, both men and women, believe “the man” should cover hotel and travel costs. This line of thinking goes beyond the basics of chivalry. It’s also rooted in some old-school values (like the assumption that you’re only traveling with your wife), and practicalities (like the fact that most men used to earn more, or close to, what women earned).
But a lot has changed. Like, a lot.
You’re not always traveling with your wife. Which, by the way, research says that 38% of wives earn more than their husbands, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, that statistic makes some couples (both men and women) uncomfortable.
But, if you’re not traveling with wifey, you’re jumping on a plane with a girl you’re feeling or in a relationship that’s serious enough to be monogamous, but that’s about it. Then there’s the fact that women of color, particularly Black women, are earning Bachelor’s degrees at a rate higher than ever before, which has increased the income potential of that demographic. What happens if paying for her travel would total your pockets but only put a dent in hers?
My suggestion: Don’t let your ego create a debt your bank account can’t cover. There’s nothing worse than having a good time with your girl, only to realize you can’t pay your rent the next month.
Create your own norms in your relationships. If you want to cover the costs, offer to do so. If you don’t want to, or simply can’t, that’s cool, too. Either way, a conversation will be necessary. For example, if you’re paying for everything at home your lady may assume that you’re financing the trip, too, which can lead to hurt feelings if you choose not to. She may also deduce that you’re paying for the travel if you propose the trip like an invitation. Alternately, your lady may not want you to pay. She may feel like a trip is too big an expenditure for another person to cover.
The most important thing is to talk it out, honestly. In fact, research shows that talking with your partner about money actually increases relationship satisfaction.
Before you approach the conversation, have a clear idea of where you stand and why. If money is an issue, be honest. And, have a budget in mind before you approach the convo. “Evaluating and cutting back on your expenses is a fantastic way to set yourself up for financial success,” says leading experts at Zebit. “One of the most important steps when cleaning out your budget is to be realistic when setting your goals.” Also, keep in mind, if you can’t discuss money matters, the relationship likely won’t last long term anyway so there’s nothing to lose. If it’s a principle thing, then it’s even more important to have the convo because you want to make sure your stances are compatible.
Remember, vacations are for unwinding. Handle your business before you hit the road.
Rondel Holder is the founder of travel site Soul Society 101.