Family Visits | 9flats blog – inside the world of social travel


Family Visits

Your family. You love them dearly yet they drive you crazy. Have you relatives who live elsewhere who regularly visit you and stay in your house? Does living with them for 24 hours a day while stay in your home cause you stress? Does having visitors wanting to be entertained while you still have to work full-time make you want to pull your hair out? Well, then you’re not alone.

If there is one complaint that I hear over and over from my own friends and family it is never-ending family visits and the stress and expense they cause and the delicate issue of saying no, without appearing unwelcoming.

The stress of these visits normally start months in advance, lots of phone calls and emails about when they are coming, plans changing, asking about flights and so on. At this point you may try saying “I don’t have enough room” and get determined replies such as “that’s okay, we can sleep on the couch”. Not-so-subtle hints as this are often ignored, as determined relatives push to use your place as holiday accommodation that they don’t have to pay for.

While this is a great arrangement for your visitors who use your home to stay in, it may not be the best arrangement for you.

A friend of mine lives in Munich in a place similar to this 9flats listing there and is driven demented every summer with weeks of family visits:

Super City Centre Apartment

Learn to say no, firmly and politely

Never underestimate the selfishness of other people! “Me and John, the 5 kids and the 3 dogs, only wanted to stay for free in her one room apartment, while buying no food or petrol, creating mounds of washing, expecting to be entertained for the whole summer – I really don’t see what the problem is!”

Your relatives may complain, but just keep in mind, that these grumbles will likely only be temporary. Ultimately these people love you and you them. They’ll get over it eventually and simply slot in to the new routine.

Of course the obvious solution that I’m going to suggest is that you persuade your relatives to stay elsewhere, ideally in reasonably priced accommodation in your area. The advantage of 9flats accommodation is that many places are much cheaper than a hotel meaning that your visitors don’t have to spend a fortune on somewhere to stay and you get to chose when exactly you want to see them.

If you are overwhelmed with visitors, I have two book recommendations, one co-written by comedian and actor John Cleese , called Families and How to Survive Them, a self-help guide to dealing with your nearest and dearest. If you are not into self-help books, de-stress instead by reading this charming and hilariously funny autobiographical book by Gerald Durell – naturalist, conservationist and writer. My Family and other Animals his account of his eccentric family and his childhood in Greece.

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Written by , August 24, 2011