BOSTON (TheStreet) -- In little more than a week, holiday houseguests will turn millions of Americans into de facto innkeepers. It's time to guestproof the house.
Roughly 64% of Americans will be traveling to see family this holiday season, according to the American Express (AXP) Spending and Saving Tracker, up from 52% last year. But the tracker also suggests 2% have been so traumatized by Christmases past that they're actually traveling to avoid family and friends this holiday season. There's just a point where the people you've invited to your home stop being family and start being tenants, and that threshold varies from house to chaotic, unclean, claustrophobic house.
Though 37% of Americans surveyed by vacation rental firm HomeAway say their visiting relatives are never a burden, a full 22% say they're ready to boot the freeloaders out after the first day -- with 11% of men ready to heave Uncle Henry's suitcases into the street the minute he arrives. Even the most welcoming hosts' patience can wear thin after a few days, when 29% say its time for their guests to leave the presents and take a hike. A week seems to be the most gracious hosts' absolute limit, as 12% resolve not to have their cousin's kids take up the living room into 2011.
So where does it all go wrong? It depends on the guests. Inconsiderate relations who leave their stuff all over the house are the most annoying in respondents' eyes, with 31% saying they'd wish someone would just hang their coat in the closet instead of over the couch. Guests who don't help with the cooking and cleaning draw 26% of their hosts' ire, while family members who feel they need to be entertained all the time will have 21% of their hosts considering psychiatric help in the New Year.With 27% saying they'd throw out a sibling if they could find other arrangements for them -- compared with just 5% for dad and 11% for mom -- TheStreet, BedandBreakfast.com and the New England Inns and Resorts Association have devised two distinct approaches to guestproofing the house during the season. From making dad as comfortable as possible to showing your scrounging sibling somewhere else to stay, we're providing a room-by-room guide to making your house into a family-friendly or fight-free home for the holidays:
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