Real life MMD: Should we tell relatives "we're not a free hotel"?

edited 1 May 2012 at 6:16PM in Money Saving Polls
87 replies 20.3K views


  • Also, buy a copy of 'The Fabulous Girl's Guide to Decorum' and place it somewhere obvious, like your coffee table. There is a great chapter on visiting and hosting.
  • AmethystEmeraldAmethystEmerald Forumite
    3 Posts
    Ninth Anniversary First Post Combo Breaker
    MoneySaving Newbie
    I went to stay with my 2 kids with my friend in America. We stayed with them for free, but I arranged for an expensive but beautiful gift of Bristol Blue Glass to be sent to them to arrive when we got there. As well as contributing to food, by either splitting the grocery bill or the meal bill when we went out. I would not have done it any other way.

    It is different if YOU INVITE them to stay but if they invite themselves they should certainly contribute to extra food, drink etc!
  • cuba2008cuba2008 Forumite
    40 Posts
    dannahaz wrote: »
    It's not easy to deal with this, especially as it has been going on for some time and the people probably genuinely have not considered that they are one in a line of people doing this

    I;m assuming that the outcome you want is for people to only visit for a couple of days, or else stay in a B&B (rather than you actually wanting people to reimburse you)? I;m also assuming that you don't really want to make people feel stupid, and that you still want to see them?

    If so I suggest you write a letter/email to *all* offenders - email is good because you can have a long string of email addresses to demonstrate the size of the problem, but the problem with emails is that people skim read them and may miss what you say.. It must be the same to everyone.

    I've tried to express things so that you get to the end point you want without upsetting people any more than you have to.

    Hi everyone

    We're writing this to everyone who regularly spends time with us over the holidays.

    Over the past x years we've been really lucky to have you all want to come and visit us in the summer, ranging from overnighters to two weeks.

    We love seeing you all, and I hope you know this from the time we spend with you when you come, showing you around, looking after you etc. We do understand that you like having a bit of a holiday by the beach while you are with us.

    What you probably don't realise is that we have a succession of visitors. Your visit is one in a whole long line of people coming to stay and enjoy the beach.

    We love seeing you all. What we do find a bit difficult is that it feels as though we spend our whole summer looking after one set of visitors or another, showing people around, and catering for extra people for a total of several months a year. It's not just the extra cost, it' s also being on "host duty" so much - it's starting to feel like we're running a hotel.

    I'm a bit embarrassed to be writing this letter, but I've done it because we just can't afford to have another summer like the last couple of summers.

    We'd still love you to visit us. This letter isn't asking you not to come and stay. What we are askingsuggesting is that if you're planning to be here for more than a couple of days this year. we'd be happy to recommend a good local B&B/hotel that you can use.

    We hope you aren't offended by this letter. It's been very difficult to write, and I've no doubt I haven't expressed myself as well as I could.

    Love to you all, and I hope to see you soon

    I think the letter is a really good idea. However, I would add something along the lines of "We love living near the beach but feel we as a family are missing out on our summers as we are so busy with guests". My family has lived in a seaside area in the past and we still have friends there. However, when we visit, we never stay with friends, but in a hotel or self catering. Why on earth should we expect our friends to accommodate us when we are there on holiday? We see them, but only when it is convenient for them (when they aren't working) when we will perhaps go for a drink or a meal with them. The rest of the time they can get on with their lives and we are able to come and go as we please without putting anyone else to any bother. Surely that's how it should be?:cool:
  • We have a place in Spain and were given excellent advice by friends there, who have faced the same problem. At the start of the week we have a kitty where both sides put in, say 200 euros. This is then used to buy food and drinks at the supermarket or when we go out eating or drinking. It is topped as necessary, and stops any issues about splitting bills etc. People coming out are told of the arrangement in advance, and so far have welcomed it as it prevents any misunderstanding. Almost everyone has also treated us to a meal out as well, seperate from the kitty, but that has been on their own initiative.
  • tindellatindella Forumite
    100 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    I'm horrified to think that relatives freeload! I stay with my brother but I always take food/gifts - and pick up the tab for lunch and sometimes in the supermarket. After all, the accommodation is free! When I stay with my sister I do the same - and when they visit me they never come empty-handed.

    I think it's time for a chat!! You could soften it by suggesting that times are hard for everyone at the moment, and though you're happy to see them, they need to contribute to the cost. Suggest sharing the supermarket bill - make sure you're NOT stocked up with lots of food/drink when they arrive, so it necessitates getting supplies in. Only get bare essentials if they seem reluctant - like bread, milk, butter etc. I'm not sure what food you usually supply but if you have to, plead poverty, though it would be nice to think you wouldn't have to do that!

    Worst case scenario - you offend them - but then, if you do, they won't come again - so, though it's not ideal, it would solve the problem! Good luck!
  • tindellatindella Forumite
    100 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10 Posts Combo Breaker
    juliamarsh wrote: »
    I think the letter suggested by dannahaz handles it pretty well. When I was in this situation, after a couple of such visits left me exhausted I just told them they could only stay for a couple of days the next time they asked. I occasionally stay with relatives in Cornwall for a few days but would never expect them to wait on me. I bring with me milk, bread, butter and anything we might eat for breakfast and make sure I replace it throughout our stay, plus a plentiful supply of wine to share with our hosts! During the day we normally go out so are not around to eat lunch, and I make sure that I buy the ingredients for and cook at least a couple of meals for everybody over the course of our stay. I go out of my way to do the clearing and tidying up whether it is our mess or not and help them out wherever I can to avoid putting an extra burden on them. I take them out to dinner before we leave and also buy them a gift to say thank you - hopefully something that they like!! I am very grateful to them for welcoming me to stay and consider it the least I can do to show my appreciation,as well as letting them know that they are always welcome to stay at my home whenever they wish. This is just basic good manners and it sounds as if your relatives are totally unappreciative, even if unintentionally. Either be upfront about how you expect them to behave if they are too selfish to do it without being asked or limit their visit to a couple of days so that you get to catch up with them but are not worn out!! Best of luck!!

    You can stay with me anytime!!!!
  • barbarajeanbarbarajean Forumite
    17 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    We live in Portugal and have this problem, but most visitors come for at least a week and seem to think that paying for their flights is all that is necessary. We now only have a 2 seater car so say they must hire their own car which helps a bit as then they go out on their own which takes the 'running around' bit out and also means they get their own lunch. It still costs us a small fortune to have them and a meal does not pay the electric bill. Some of the ideas given are good and it is comforting to find that we are not odd feeling that people should contribute.
    Debt free and saving since retirement !:j
  • [Deleted User][Deleted User] Forumite
    0 Posts
    Tenth Anniversary 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Photogenic
    MoneySaving Newbie
    My own favourite response is "I'm afraid it's not convenient". Unfortunately, for many people if you act like a hotelier they will treat you like one - Ad infinitum.
  • Try this. When they ring up, say you'll have to check your bank balance and you'll get back to them. Say you have had a lot of expenditure lately and not sure how much spare money you have - can you let them know! See what they say - see if they ring you again. I can't believe they are so selfish but I think I know someone who does this - visits friends all over the country but can't put them up as she has no spare bed!!!
  • I once had to deal with a very similar situation and I felt too embarrassed to ask them for money or tell them to stay in a hotel instead. On one occasion my nephew's family came and stayed for a week and by the 2nd or 3rd day the kids were really starting to grind my gears, running about, breaking things and so on.

    I'll spare you the details but to cut a long story short, when they were out at the beach, I went into their en-suite bathroom and took a massive dump in their toilet. Didn't flush it, just left it there.

    I did this every day for the remainder of their stay, about 4 more days (and on one occasion my wife did it too, right on top of mine).

    They never mentioned it, and as my wife and I behaved exactly as before, I think they probably didn't even know what to make of it, or who did it.

    Funnily enough, that was the last time they invited themselves to stay at the house. The 'prank' if you could call it that had the desired result, and without any of the awkwardness of having to ask them for money or tell them they can't stay, etc.
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