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

edited 1 May 2012 at 5:16PM in Money Saving Polls
87 replies 20.3K views


  • yorkieboywowyorkieboywow Forumite
    5 Posts
    First Post
    MoneySaving Newbie
    as has been touched on here, i would recommend reacting positively to their suggestion of a visit and tell them how much you would love to see them, when they are committed tell them that you are having some pipework rerouted in the house and won't be able to actually put them up. but please let you know where they will be staying so you can catch up with them, then sit back and let them come up with an excuse for not coming to visit you. then next year, oh partners old school friends child staying for summer holidays, but tell us where you are staying.... many ways to avoid them coming at all, and you can tell them how much partners old school friend paid you for putting their child up for the hols. if they still have the front to ask for free digs i wouldn't be too concerned about blanking them or upsetting them, or 'forgetting' and being away when they turn up.
  • edited 2 May 2012 at 12:11PM
    drjusticedrjustice Forumite
    8 Posts
    edited 2 May 2012 at 12:11PM
    My parents had the same thing when they moved from London to the sea ,summer time was just fully booked with relatives and friends coming down for two weeks free holiday ,they use to take them for a meal at the end ,maybe buy some wine but it was costing them a fortune .In the end they stopped it saying they could not afford it and wanted some time to themselves .
    Now they only have a select few to stay and they visit them in return .
    I moved down when I was younger but did not really see the point in keeping in contact with friends that live hundreds of miles away so don't get the same problem .When a hint was dropped I found a hotel for them .

    You could say you have students through the summer .
  • skintscotskintscot Forumite
    43 Posts
    10 Posts
    It does sound like they are being very inconsiderate.

    I only stay with people by invitation but always expect to chip in for food and to help out around the house. I have offered contributions towards utilities in the past but always been refused so now I take my hosts a gift and take them out to dinner as a thank you before I leave. It's simple good manners.

    I find it hard to believe that your relatives are ignorant of these social niceties. I put a student up for the night recently and he offered to not only buy but prepare his own evening meal.

    It'll be a tough conversation but I rhink you have to put your foot down.
    if i had known then what i know now
  • tenuissenttenuissent Forumite
    336 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker Car Insurance Carver!
    This is the ideal time (recession) to say you are having a financial struggle and to set up a kitty during the visit. Everyone puts £20 in it, it is spent until it's empty, and then you start again. Anything left at the end is shared out.

    I and family used to stay with a friend in Greece and did exactly that. Very amicable. I do know people who stayed with her and expected to be fed and entertained and I know she was upset about it.

    Another thing I have done when overwhelmed is pin up in the kitchen a list of jobs that need doing for them to choose from. That is much easier than them having to ask you if there is anything they can do, when you are rushing round trying to get things done and barely have time to think up a reply. Simple things almost anyone can do like "Peel potatoes" "Hang out the washing". Even the teenage lovers agreed to clear the table and stack the dishwasher after every meal - they enjoyed being useful and got my heartfelt gratitude.

    I had 16 in the house over Easter for 10 days and am still exhausted but it could have been worse. One daughter offered me £200 towards costs! but somehow I couldn't take it....feeble, I know.

    Another daughter came to stay with her 2 boys for three months (from Germany, so that they could go to English schools and improve their language), and eventually I just had to speak to her about the extra expense - but she burst into tears and said she had no money, what a failure she I felt horrible and it took ages to build her up again.

    So it remains a problem.......
  • oldtroutoldtrout Forumite
    129 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    If you allow them to treat you like a hotel, then they will.

    Tell them before they make any arrangements, and be firm about what you would find acceptable.
  • onesixfiveonesixfive Forumite
    416 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    How about putting up a little "fun" notice in the bedroom they will be using with New House Rules?
    Explain you love to see people, but (now you are getting older / dont want to be tied to your home with visitors) "a couple of days would be better than a couple of weeks", then set quirky reminders:
    Like: If you eat it - please replace it / pay for it; If you dirty it, please wash it; etc.
    If they don't take the hint - be less subtle - or dont be available next time they want to come.
  • FujikoFujiko Forumite
    150 Posts
    What a dilemma! I find it strange that visitors could be so inconsiderate, but I really feel your only option is to do what others have suggested - next time you are asked to provide accommodation decline, just say that having been overwhelmed last year you do not feel able to have visitors for more than, say, a weekend this year. No need to go into details but hopefully the penny may drop!
  • iclayticlayt Forumite
    447 Posts
    Part of the Furniture 100 Posts Combo Breaker
    I reguarly visit friends in Ireland and visits last between a weekend and a fortnight. If I go for a long weekend I will treat us to a meal out etc. A week, I will help out with groceries. But last time I went it was for two weeks and without any beating around the bush my friend said "Would you mind paying us a bit for the time you're here, to cover the bills and so on?". Nice and direct. Of course I said yes (had every intention to anyway) and drew them some cash out when we went out.

    Don't skirt around it, when they're making their 'booking' say "Will you mind contributing to household costs those couple of weeks?". They'll either say yes - problem solved (enjoy your stay) - or no - problem solved (find a b&b!)
  • davesfirstwifedavesfirstwife Forumite
    6 Posts
    Part of the Furniture Combo Breaker
    We live in France for part of the year and enjoy having friends and family to stay. They are all happy to have a communal purse for the shopping and most people give us something towards diesel if we pick them up from the airport. Two weeks is a long time to have people stay in one go, perhaps you could arrange to have other plans sometimes!
  • That e-mail posted earlier was brilliant. Top answer.

    If you did want to take a sideways approach to the issue, you could always phone up one of the biggest culprits (we shall call them visitor A), needing to 'get off your chest' the awful time you had at the hands of another set of visitors.
    Play a lot of the 'I wouldn't mind, but she didn't even...' (thus making visitor A aware of the basic etiquette of staying with you).
    Then when they start to sympathise, come up with the idea of a set of rules. They will doubtless agree, or can be enveigled into agreeing. Display the list in a prominent place in your home for visitors.
    -Visitor A cannot say anything, as they have already had the conversation with you and basically agreed the rules.
    - Other visitors can be placated with 'well I got so very upset after someone taking advantage of my hospitality, and speaking to Visitor A made me realise that others have been doing it too. The same conversation led to me making these ground rules.'. So in their eyes, it can be visitor A's fault.

    As others have said, if they don't invite you in return or respect the rules once they're there, make yourselves unavailable, or stop inviting. If people object or complain, make it a bit more blunt. Even draw up a chart of how much it costs you to have umpteen visitors over the summer. They might not object to being £40 out of pocket for one week of visiting, but when they add it up for themselves, I bet they get more reasonable.

    Paradoxically, I have quite the opposite problem. For many years, my mum got very upset when I stayed in a chalet rather than in her flat by the sea (despite the fact that doing so meant that either she or my brother had to sleep on the sofa!)

    Hope it gets better.
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