Travel SOS: How do I tell my relatives to stay in a hotel?

Is it rude to tell relatives you don’t want them as guests in your home? asks Tony.

Travel SOS: How to say no to guests

Tony has good reason to prefer his wife’s family checks into a hotel rather than stay with them. Olga recommends how to gently break the bad news that they are not welcome.


Q. Tony
My wife was discharged from hospital recently and it will take months of rehabilitation to recover her mobility. As her primary caregiver, I will have my hands full and am not looking forward to hosting a number of her elderly relatives who are travelling to Australia to spend some time with us. Fortunately, my wife sees my point of view but doesn’t want to tell her older siblings they are not welcome. How do I tell these family members to stay in a hotel without hurting anyone’s feelings?

A. First, you and your wife are perfectly entitled to not have any further burdens on you at this time, so I hope you stick to your guns. The best way to tell family to check in elsewhere is to be upfront with them as soon as possible.

Don’t wait until the last minute to break the bad news as this may not give them enough time to make alternative arrangements in line with what they want to spend.

Being truthful is less likely to land you in hot water than if you make up excuses like ‘we’re renovating the guest bedroom’ or ‘our cat doesn’t like visitors’, and so on. And don’t forget, ‘what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive’. There is nothing more embarrassing than being caught out by our own contradictory lies.

If your ageing relatives ask you to reconsider on the basis that they will help you look after your wife, be firm and let them know that under no circumstances can you expect them to roll up their sleeves. Suggest that they will have a better time if they are not burdened with caring for an invalid while they are visiting.

When you suggest they stay at other accommodation, make sure you have done the research for them and offer a list of potential nearby hotels at different price points. Also recommend practical ways that they can travel to visit their sister from their hotel. This should help to smooth over the initial realisation that they are ‘unwanted guests’.

For more tips on breaking the news to your relatives, check out wikiHow’s article.



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    24th Nov 2018
    Wife and I always stay in a hotel near our relatives. First of all we like time to ourselves as well as interaction with family. Do not necessarily like lining up at the bathroom and in places other than Australia folks do not have multiple bathrooms.
    When people visit us down here we fit in possibly a single but more than that we book them in at a nearby motel. OK we take the cost for a week of accommodation but we are all much happier after the event. It does not happen too often at any rate.
    24th Nov 2018
    They have a choice- if they don't like it they may choose not to visit. Not your problem
    24th Nov 2018
    I am going to go the opposite way and have them stay with you. They will pitch in. Your wife will appreciate their company and the fact that they are her siblings she has the call. We have had people stay when one of us is recuperating and they have always been a help not a hindrance. You can cut corners like order in takeaway or have help with gardening etc to relieve you from all tasks except your wife and enjoying the guests. Relax and enjoy the company. Family is important and they will help look after your wife as they were her family before you were. She would probably be more stressed knowing they were unwelcome in your home.
    24th Nov 2018
    How about checking out Air B'n'B's nearby capable of accommodating all the overseas relatives? Sometimes a 2 or 3-bed apartment can be found within walking distance of your place, where they can all stay together and explore the area and tourist attractions, leaving you and your wife handy but enjoying your own space. Might be worth checking it out and maybe even footing the bill, for your own peace of mind!

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