When did destination birthdays become a thing? Destination weddings, bachelorettes, etc were annoying enough.
Pretty sure I would be unfriending people that demanded I fly to another country for their damn birthday. I fought against enough destination bachelor parties (which required travel for the weddings anyway).
Well, they've been friends of mine for a long time. We had travelled a bit together when we were in our 20s. So there is a precedent for the travel.
One of them is so picky and controlling and we figured that out during the trips abroad. So I tried to travel less with her since then, even though I like her a lot as a person. She just gets really picky about where to eat and ends up dominating the plans. Luckily she moved to Europe and I get to see her in shorter spurts which works well for our friendship. She was the one that actually said it would be ridiculous to have everyone fly to Europe for her birthday. She was going to pick a country she doesn't live in though, so it was still a destination requiring hotels and stuff. But she travels a lot for work and has free miles and stuff. But she's sticking with the US for her "party".
I'm almost tempted to say...sure, if you want to pay for my flight out there I'll go. The thing is if it is for their birthday, they are going to want to pick "the cutest place to stay", "the big dinners out", etc.
I guess if I thought I had endless employment in my future I'd be more OK with it just strictly thinking of the financial impact and absorb the costs (and not the presumptuosness of an expensive trip). But I've thrown so many hints of my desire to do something different with my life, that this is the last high paying job I'll have, that I won't make it to 50 employed...and still got this request.
I want to keep them as friends, but if they are true friends they should understand. I don't dump people that easily and still think we can be good friends even if I don't go on their birthday extravaganzas. I don't think many people are going to sign up for the trip either because they have children and can't go, or just find it too expensive. So I guess they are relying on me, the single friend that has the funds to go. BTW, they are also single.
I'd rather save my travel funds for future slow travel which is more frugal. I'd spend the same amount as they will on their trip, but actually get to spend a few months in Europe. I don't think they'd ever sign up to do something like that.