12/26/2022 | By Amy Dickinson

A visit from her adult niece comes with an unwelcome high price of hospitality – higher than the “Conflicted” aunt is willing to pay. See what advice columnist Amy Dickinson says in this edition of “Ask Amy.”

Dear Amy: 

My adult niece lives several hundred miles away, and said she wanted to come visit us in Florida with her husband and their new baby.

Since they both work, the visit would be only for three or four days.

I said of course, and we tossed dates around.

I gave them some recommendations of beachfront hotels within walking distance from our condo, since it’s not large enough to absorb two additional adults and a baby. I said I could “help” with their hotel costs. I plan on picking up the tab for meals when we are together.

A few weeks ago, she let me know that they did not select one of the hotels within walking distance to our condo, but rather they booked themselves in a resort-style hotel, 10 miles away.

This will mean more shuffling around, as everything will be done by car.

She then said that she didn’t want me to get “sticker shock,” but I should know the hotel bill would be $1,700.

I had been thinking perhaps I could contribute $500 to their housing costs, which would have come close to covering their entire stay for a few nights in a local hotel. They are in their early 40s and both work.

I want to be gracious and I’m happy they are making the effort to visit. But I was shocked to learn that my offer to “help” was translated to picking up a large hotel bill. I was not expecting such high price of hospitality.

I doubt I’ve ever paid that much for myself in a hotel. If I’d known I would have to pick up the tab, I probably would have suggested another time of year when prices are not at seasonal highs.

This has left me feeling a bit taken advantage of. Do you have any suggestions for how I might enjoy their visit without being resentful?

– Conflicted

Dear Conflicted: 

Your niece has handed you an opening, as well as the language to use when responding to this high price of hospitality. 

And so you can say, “Yes – haha – I do have sticker shock, and thank you for understanding that cost would be an issue for us. We can afford to contribute $500 toward your stay, and would be happy to do that. Other hotels along the beach are much more affordable, but I’ll leave it up to you to make your decision. Looking forward to seeing you!”

In the tradition of the great personal advice columnists, Chicago Tribune’s Amy Dickinson is a plainspoken straight shooter who relates to readers of all ages. She answers personal questions by addressing issues from both her head and her heart. A solid reporter, Dickinson researches her topics to provide readers with informed opinions and answers – ranging from an older dating couple threatened by a controlling offspring to grandparenting to dating. Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068.

© 2022 by Amy Dickinson

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