Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city. George Burns (Brainy Quote)
A question is currently being asked on the "Virtual Thrift Club," a Forum that appears on the Dollar Stretcher. The topic is about staying with relatives or friends when on vacation. To visit the Forum, use this address:
Welcome to Thrifty Living Today. A special way of life for the Twenty-first Century.
My name is Lori Blatzheim and I am your host.
As a child, our large and frugal family had relatives and friends living in various areas of the USA. It gradually became a family tradition to stay with them when taking a vacation. As a result, we looked forward to staying at their homes.
Following our return to California, we also hosted family members or friends when they traveled to the West Coast. It seemed as though those visiting and those hosting enjoyed the time they spent together.
Why is visiting with relatives or friends a good thing?
- It is much less expensive than staying at a hotel or motel.
- Information provided by someone who really knows the community is very helpful.
- There are opportunities to learn more about them and their family.
- Children can meet younger family members.
- Older family members can review status of the family.
Why can visiting with relatives or friends be a difficult thing?
- Visitors may have to share a confined space.
- There may be limited resources including beds, storage, food, bathrooms and play area.
- Cultural differences, in food or drink provided, may affect others.
- Schedules which need to be followed may impact the guest's plan.
- Wake-up time, nap time, and bed time may not match the habits of guest and host.
- There may be mild disagreements regarding appropriate indoor temperature.
What does it take to have a pleasant visit?
Flexibility is very important. Unless you have a unique set of relatives or friends with a large home, you will find yourself in a setting which won't provide the amenities you will find at home.
We once hosted a family of seven (friends, not relatives) from England, in our small two bedroom rental home in California. My husband and I kept our bedroom. Our daughter slept in her bedroom next to the English grandmother. Four children slept on sleeping bags in the living room. And the father, mother and smallest child slept in a camper in our back yard.
We had one bathroom shower.
Believe it or not the visit was a success. We came up with a schedule listing shower times, meals, tea, and coffee. We did what we could with what we had. The children spent a lot of time in parks. We went to one major Southern California attraction every other day of their three week stay.
In addition, we tried to help them with other issues. We allowed the father to drive one of our cars on quiet streets until he became familiar with sitting on the left side of the car while driving on the right side of the street. When he felt comfortable, he rented a car.
Note: we are still friends. Members of our family have stayed with them in England and we try to meet with them when they travel to the States.
Final thoughts on hosting or visiting others in their home
Take time to discuss the visit, in advance. The host should describe the interior of the home, and explain any hazards (e.g. an outdoor swimming pool, busy street, dog or cat). If parking is an issue this should be explained.
Determine the length of the visit. This is helpful to host and visitors.
Discuss the issue of food and meals. Can the visitors store food? Will they all dine out? How will the bill be paid? Will they "go dutch", pay every other meal? Buy groceries and have home cooked meals? This conversation can be uncomfortable, some hosts hate to bring it up but it is very helpful to know ahead of time.
Be considerate. Those who are staying together should set up some ground rules. Visitors should observe their children to prevent any damage to the home or objects within. They should return home at a reasonable time in the evening.
Are guests planning to remain in the home most of the time? Do they have a list of people to see or places to go? It is very helpful to know this at the beginning of the visit.
Staying in the home of another family is a privilege. It can bring unexpected fun and memories that will become a part of family history. I certainly enjoyed it as a child and continue to practice it today.
Lori Blatzheim is a wife, mother, writer, thrift advocate and retired nurse. She knows that use of Thrift can help people because she has experienced the benefits.