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

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.

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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.

Written by Olga Galacho

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