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How to Tell Someone They Are Not Invited on a Trip

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Let me first start by saying that I’m all in for inclusion.

Traveling to me is not the places I go, but the people I meet and spend time with.

But sometimes we must say no to be true to ourselves, and in this case maybe also others joining the trip.

If you give in to the temptation of the “easy” way of saying yes to the person to join anyways, you might risk your trip not being what you hoped for. And that’s a much bigger price to pay in my opinion.

Though you’re fully in your right to say no, that doesn’t mean it has to be easy. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be here in the first place.

I’ve become better at being direct with the people around me the older I got. It’s a value I appreciate – also when it’s coming from others. As long as the intention behind the honesty is good.

Not only have I thoroughly studied how to say no to others for this article, but I’m also gonna be 100% transparent with one of my own stories.

Let’s start.

1. Clarifying the Reason(s) Why You Don’t Want to Invite Someone

Before we proceed to the actual tips on how to tell the person, let’s pause a bit.

I don’t know your exact situation.

Maybe you’re 100% clear on not inviting this person is the right choice. Or maybe it’s not even possible due to restrictions on space, budget, time, etc. And if that’s the case feel free to skip this step.

Making a list
It only works if you’re being honest with yourself

But if not, I suggest you brainstorm a pros and cons list and give each bullet point a score between 1-5. The list with the most points wins.

While the total sum doesn’t have to be the definitive answer it can help you get clarity.

This can be everything you can think of – not only how it would affect the trip, but also whether it’s the right thing to do if you’re being honest with yourself.

Maybe there are things you haven’t thought of, or you’ll be surprised about the result.

And remember that when you say no – you say yes to something else.

2. How to Uninvite Someone From a Trip

If you’ve already agreed on going on a trip it makes things a bit more complicated – but not impossible.

The first thing you should do is to check whether it’s possible to make changes to your trip or get a refund.

Because if it’s not, and you intend to uninvite somebody, their only option is losing the money they spent on the trip.

And if you agreed on going in the first place, but you’re the one that wishes to uninvite someone, it’s likely fairer if you were the one skipping the trip instead.

I’m aware that what’s most appropriate depends on your unique situation, so you’re the only one that can be the judge of that.

In case it’s not possible to change the trip or get any refunds, consider going anyways if it’s realistic for you. There’s always the chance of it not ending up as bad as you think.

📌 TIP: Though remember it's not only about losing money. Sometimes trips are unique opportunities that show themselves in a particular timeframe. This should be kept in mind too.

3. Put Yourself in the Other Person’s Shoes

Ask yourself:

Would you want to go on the trip with someone that didn’t want to invite you?

I don’t think so.

I know it doesn’t take away the uncomfortable feeling of getting rejected (or rejecting someone for that matter).

But since you’re an empathic person for being here in the first place, I’m sure you already knew this.


Though I’m an advocator of truth, I also believe that it shouldn’t be for all costs.

There’s no shame in focusing on the most convenient part of the truth about why you’re not inviting the person if your motivation is to decrease the risk of hurting him or her.

In some cases, you might even conclude that it’s better to come up with an excuse if the person is in a special vulnerable situation.

Despite the risk of sounding like a cliche, or you suspecting me of having a “Live. Love. Laugh” wall sticker hanging above my bed, what I’m about to quote now isn’t less true:

“Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.”Brad Meltzer.

4. If It’s Not Personal Make It Clear

This is without doubt the most important step of all.

Not being invited for an amazing trip sucks, but what would be worse is if it was due to personal reasons.

Therefore make it very clear, if the cause isn’t personal. There are several reasons for this being the case such as:

  • The need of being alone
    If the reason for not inviting the person is that you want to go solo, you have more than enough reasons in the world to say no.

  • Intimacy time with someone else
    This could be another friend, the love of your life, or family. Especially if the person isn’t directly related to any of these persons.

And sometimes you have to open yourself up and be transparent, because if the person doesn’t know, how could they understand you?

5. Suggest Alternatives

You should only do this if you genuinely want to. Otherwise, you’re just postponing the problem into the future.

Also, be sure that you’re not gonna cancel these plans – that would just be a cause of disappointment.

Hand out of the window while driving
It’s often the small things

If you make a new plan together it’s a good way to emphasize that the rejection isn’t personal and remove focus from the trip the person isn’t invited for.

The more specific you can be about these alternative plans the better. Arrange the dates, discuss what you’d like to do, and have something to talk about and look forward to together.

6. It Shouldn’t Always Be Easy to Say No

But it’s an important skill to practice.

There’s a concept called “evolutionary mismatch”.

If you’ve never heard of it before, this means that our brains are wired for certain conditions our modern society no longer matches.

This is a way to understand why humans do what they do, and why our urges often overrule rational minds.

Unwanted emotions, anxiety, or even fear regarding social relationships can also be understood through this concept.

For this particular example, rejecting someone from a village or hunting expedition back in the past might mean death to that person.

That’s also a way to explain why social anxiety can seem so irrational from a rational mind in modern society.

I know it sounds serious, and how can you use this for anything?

Once you feel these unwanted emotions, understanding why we might feel what we do makes it easier to cope with and for you to act right despite it.

Which in this case is telling someone they’re not invited to the trip.

7. What’s the Worst Thing That Can Happen?

Maybe the thought of saying no is uncomfortable, or you’ll be nervous about the situation.

But guess what, if you have your reason and your conscience is clear, the only thing left to deal with is some temporary undesirable emotions.

These won’t go away, that’s life.

No worries necklace
Bling for good karma

As my good friend Shaun from England once asked me about when I shared a problem of mine with him:

Will it matter in 5 years? If not, forget it“.

It’s a good exercise to do in everyday life.

It can help you realize that what you’re worried about in the present might isn’t important.

Everything is temporary – both the things we don’t wish for and the things we do.

And if you’re being honest towards the person while having good intentions, you might even end up getting closer to each other due to taking the genuine route like a healthy relationship.

8. Help the Person Become a Better Version of Themself by Being Honest (My Private Story)

If we’re seeing a bit further than the act of declining someone itself.

There’s maybe an opportunity to help someone here.

Back in high school one of my best friends told me that I was a bad listener during a conversation we had.

I remember the instant embarrassment. Also, it came from one of my best friends, Anders (who he still is until this day).

But most importantly it taught me to be a better listener.

It’s more than 10 years ago of the time of writing, but the lesson still stuck with me.

Though I’m not perfect, I’m convinced that his being brave enough, to be honest with me helped me (or maybe he was just pissed off 😀 ).

If the reason you don’t want to invite your person is due to obvious unhealthy character traits, you might do a favor to be fully honest.

We all have blind spots, and sometimes we have to rely on others close to us in order to see the full picture.

I know this is not an option for everyone, but I didn’t want to exclude it.

How To Tell a Friend You Are Going on a Trip Without Them

If you haven’t already read the article, I suggest you do so.

We already cover a lot of things regarding this that might be sufficient for this particular situation too. But if not, then I have a few last things to share with you.

First of all, I recommend you ask yourself a question; are you obligated to justify your decision of going on a trip without your friend?

Based on my experience, I have found that in the heat of the moment, it’s easy to be driven by emotions. However, if you take time to reflect and allow rationality to play a larger role you may realize you are doing nothing wrong.

Though if there’s a clear reason why your friend would expect to join. Such as if you’re in a close friend group. Then I get why it can be a bit more complicated.

But if you’ve already planned the trip and expect it to be in a certain way. Understand that changing it could feel like a loss. In that case, there’s no shame in staying true to what you’ve already committed to.

In most cases, I wouldn’t recommend you avoid the confrontation for the price of compromising your trip. Though this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy.

If you decide it’s the right thing to tell your friend, then remember it’s likely not the first time you have to decline someone. See it as an opportunity to grow. As long as you keep all the things in mind we discussed in this article so it’s done the best way possible.

What To Say When Someone Invites Themselves on Your Vacation

For this situation, I also suggest you read the article if you haven’t already.

With that said, let’s discuss some additional things that might be unique when someone invites themselves on your vacation.

First of all, it’s important to know, that the person inviting him or herself might not even realize it’s inappropriate in the first place.

You can decide to take it as a compliment. This is a big sign that the person is feeling comfortable with you and your relationship.

When it comes to confronting the person that they’re not invited, the key is to communicate it passionately. Plus making it clear if it’s not personal. Additionally suggesting an alternative if it makes sense.

And if it’s simply not possible for the other person to join due to practical or logistical reasons, this makes things much simpler. In that case, I suggest you make that clear from the beginning.

📌 TIP: I've also written about how to tell someone you don't want to travel with them. In case you're looking for more related perspectives and inspiration regarding the important skill of saying no and declining someone even if it's the right thing to do.
Global Dane

Hey, my friend! I’m the guy behind this website. I was born in Denmark in 1991. My love for traveling started at an early age when the occasional family trips meant ice cream, french fries, and sea water were indulged in an equal amount. Later in life, I found my true source of happiness in exploring unknown lands, turning strangers into friends, and challenging my view of the world through traveling.

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