4 times we checked in — and then checked out

Iden at the Holiday Inn Resort Wrightsville Beach

There’s no sugarcoating it: visits to friends or family members’ homes can sometimes be excruciatingly difficult.

Expectations are high, especially if you are a rare visitor and they’ve known you since you were in diapers. Children, unaccustomed to travel or dealing with the stress, may misbehave. And when you’re with family, it’s easy to feel as though you’re under the microscope.

Oh, and you have to eat the food that is served.

According to a recent survey, almost two-thirds of travelers aren’t “overly thrilled” to stay with friends and family during the holidays. Among their top gripes: lack of personal space (29 percent) and uncomfortable sleeping arrangements (28 percent).

Most travelers said they would prefer to host the holidays at their house. When asked to name the relative for whom they’d most like to find separate accommodations, about one in three (29 percent) say they’d send their siblings packing while 22 percent said their grown child could stay elsewhere.

What a welcome!

Have you ever arrived and then wished you could come up with a good reason to leave?

Here are few times we made a U-turn:

The kind but unhappy hosts. We went to Madison, Wis., for my honey’s sister’s wedding. She made arrangements for our small family and a cousin to stay in her good friend’s house. The hosts were kind but within an hour of hospitality it was clear more was expected of us. Chris’ cousin bailed, finding a rare hotel room before the day was over. We stayed the night but immediately after breakfast thanked them for hosting us, packed up and squatted with his cousin far from the rest of the family on the other side of town. We just felt like a burden.

Split up. Just last year we stayed at my parent’s and my better half had to leave and stay at a nearby motel. Why? Without going into too much detail, he needed to be able to work and being away helped him focus. We are rare visitors compared to my siblings and even though it looks like we’re on vacation, we’re really on the job. Enough said.

Family matters. Similarly, when we were driving across the United States we stayed a few nights with Chris’ parents and unwittingly became part of a debate. Again we are rare visitors and even more rare was seeing our kids great-grandmother, so we really didn’t want to leave on a sour note. In the end we were able to take a few days away and come back a week or so later — just long enough to catch up but not long enough to cause a riot.

The drive-by. We had a great drive-by visit with my sister on our way from the Holiday Inn Resort in Lake George, NY, to our vacation rental in Ocean City, Md. Sparta, NJ, was a terrific mid-point to stretch out legs and spend time with my nephews. They really are soooooo cute! My only regret was about two hours into the visit I started panicking about making it to check-in in time. We ended up leaving earlier than planned.

How about you? When was the last time you checked in — and then checked out?

Have you ever cut a visit short because you felt uncomfortable?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...
Kari Haugeto

Kari is a serial entrepreneur with an education addiction and a profound curiosity that, more often then not, fuels some pretty incredible adventures. Currently her attention is focused on social and digital media technology and she is developing a project with her family of five and a variety of sponsors to share their cross-country adventures online in an interactive, socially responsible, educational and authentic manner.


  • Sanibelsyl

    Never checked out from friends or relatives because it would have created too many hard feelings, but wanted to very much. Our gripe is generally that “guest” bedrooms in other people’s homes are just not comfortable. Twin beds do not wear well for a couple accustomed to being in Kings and guest rooms rarely have an ensuite bathroom, necessitating a hallway entrance and potential encounter when not looking your best. Overall, we much prefer renting a condo, house, cottage or even a hotel room nearby to staying with people. It’s been a good lesson, though, in so far as our guest rooms in all our properties are supplied, “suited” and separated from the master bedrooms.

    • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

      We have a predictable influx of visitors when the weather starts getting cold. Some of them are wanted, but some are not. You have to say “yes” to all of them and then hope for the best …

  • http://www.facebook.com/linda.renk Linda Renk

    That is why we bring our travel trailer. Our own bedroom and mealsand pets . We can get together for visiting but for uncomfortable times, we can excuse ourselves to our “home” in the driveway and see them in the morning. Breakfast is what we are used to, bathroom habits can be at our own pace and I can work on the computer when I need to.

  • http://twitter.com/jaelyte Janielle

    This is something I talk about with my husband and very close friends. Flat out I do not stay with anyone. I will rent a house/condo and share it with family and friends but I spend a lot of time finding the perfect one that will fit everyone comfortably. I usually pay for it and get the master suite, because yes, I am that picky. You will never find me staying in anyone’s home with them. It’s just uncomfortable! I admit it, I’m a bit of a delicate flower when it comes to the surface I will be sleeping on. Also people have varying degrees of cleanliness, most of which do not agree with mine. Plus, what about my 3 doggies? It’s extremely expensive to send them all to a kennel, we prefer to bring them with us if we aren’t going too far. We also have a travel trailer which saves us from having to explain all of my issues to in-laws and such. This really helps out with family that is near by. We just book a campsite and we always have our little home away from home and our 3 happy doggies! Side note: the dogs always give us a good excuse to have to leave if things are becoming unpleasant. “Oh, we actually have to leave for a bit and go walk our dogs, we will be back in a few hours”. yay! This gives us an out for the alone time that we need to keep us happy. Although I’d say that my hands down biggest issue with staying with others is the food. I become very uncomfortable when almost anyone other than myself is in charge of the food we eat and the time we eat it. Oh yes, I’m also a control freak! There are only a few people that I actually trust to keep my husband and I fed and happy. Most others just don’t know how to entertain or cook for that matter. There are the people that skimp on quality ingridients to save money, no thank you. Or the people that think quantity is quality. Or, what about the people that think using as many spices as possible makes things better? When I entertain I use high quality ingridients and try to stick to keeping things simple and it’s usually the best route to please all. Great topic!

  • Carrie Charney

    Felt like leaving, but didn’t, during a 2-night stay with a friend whose heating system was not working. She had just gone through a divorce and did not have enough money to replace the unit. She forgot to tell me about this before my stay. Her routine at night is to watch TV from the couch wearing a hat, coat and gloves, with a down blanket covering her. I slept under 5 blankets. Taking a shower wasn’t bad with hot water streaming down, but getting out of the shower was quite an ordeal. Needless to stay, I was very happy to continue on to my scheduled hotel a few towns away.

  • Karen

    This is always an issue, I never want to stay with anyone when we travel. One time we were given a guest room that had, until we got there, been the cats room. I am highly allergic to cats so I felt sick the whole time we were there. Ugh. Now I just won’t stay with folks unless we are in another country and even then, I always am looking for a way out!