PORTLAND, Ore. (TheStreet) -- For every rube on America's roads singing I'll Be Home For Christmas as they drive to a relative's house for the holidays, there's a parent, sibling, aunt, uncle or cousin wondering if it's too late to change the locks.
Home? This ain't your home, pal. It's your imposition that you're making on an already overworked relation who isn't expecting much help or financial restitution in return. A survey conducted a few years back by vacation rental website HomeAway (AWAY) found that 22% of holiday hosts think their guests overstay their welcome after a day or less.
They leave stuff strewn all over the house (31%), don't help with the cooking or cleaning (26%), need to be entertained constantly (21%), pick through their hosts' private belongings (2%) and kidnap the television remote long enough to burden the family with their favorite shows about screaming housewives or whiny manual laborers (2%). About 29% of hosts would kick their visiting sibling out of the house this holiday season if they could, while 22% think it's time for their grown child to make his or her own plans for accommodations.
Not that your scratchy old towels, neglected spare room and boring suburban setting are such great shakes for visitors. This year, HomeAway estimates that 38% of holiday travelers plan to stay with a friend or family member on Christmas. Of those, 64% percent aren't overly thrilled about it. A full 29% say they're not looking forward to the lack of personal space, 28% are dreading that spare mattress you picked up from the budget bed store and 5% say you or the other relatives hanging around the house this holiday season are enough of a problem on your own. Is it any wonder why 29% of hosts have had it with their holiday guests after only a few days, while 51% of holiday travelers feel stressed out by the whole ordeal? We're exhausted just thinking about it and all we had to do was key in a couple of words. For the holiday hosts sacrificing their sanity and personal space in the name of family togetherness and travelers who'll give up hours in travel time and lots of square footage to stay with the ones they love, we offer this advice: Think it over. You don't have to do this to yourselves. There's an entire travel and accommodations industry designed to prevent this kind of stress from happening. Yes, it costs money, but so do therapists and lawyers. You want to deal with the years of tangible and emotional fallout from a long family visit gone wrong? Go right ahead. If you're a harried holiday host who can't imagine going through another year of terrible jokes and bad reality television or a visitor who just wants a grown-up bed and a place to decompress at the end of the day, here are a handful of suggestions for alternate accommodations. Whether you're a host willing to spring for this gift or a visitor happy to pay his or her own way, these are all better -- if not cheaper -- options than the alternative:
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