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By:    On: 2010-08-27

    FREE LODGING at an EMOTIONAL PRICE?

Staying on a couch at a friend’s house is less comfortable than being a stow away, let’s say on a cruise ship! I'm figuring if you are a stow away you are not enjoying the bliss of the entertainment and food but hiding not to get caught and be thrown off the ship, and so you’d be hiding in a storage closet. Through my experiences, when trying to save costs of lodging I have put up with conditions that I am not normally accustom to. Slightly above motel standards without the warm hospitality in the morning or coffee service but at least it is free shelter for the night. You would except if staying at a friend basic housekeeping would be a consideration or prior notification of the plumbing being faulty and the landlord won’t fix it so showers are limited due to hot water usage if there is any at all. This one friend has a three-bedroom, two bathroom. The bathroom is so dinky and the shower molding and paint have worn out. Another friend, had okay plumbing but had a uhm, bug infestation problem which I had to accept to keep the peace of the friendship, but later it was came out my displeasure. It was passed off as a joke like “You can contact the lodging manager, and request a refund.” The stay was brief but all in all I wanted the companionship of this friend. Letting it be is sometimes more effective than making things more complicated internally and risk being moody throughout leaving on a bad note. I grumble; “It's too hot, its too cold.” Heating and cooling issues are certainly problems when the homeowner is a penny-pincher. “More blankets please! Or Can I sleep in your pool, as it is over 110°.”

Hmm, where is my tent at a full facility campground? I chuckle to myself.

The most frustrating unbearable part of waking up in the morning to roaring bear type people behavior when the friends cannot stop bickering and fighting over the smallest issues. Caught in a house in the onset to a divorce is truly a place a was cursed to be. Moreover, family situations do not stop just because there are guests present, addictions and late night partying may crimp your style and in that case, Motel 6?

Sleeping on a bad mattress with springs popping out, or a futon that is to worn for the dog to sleep on.
Other examples could include being handed a sleeping bag and crashing out on the floor, or couch that is fine for sitting but not sleeping. Try the homeowner that insists that couches are not for sleeping and that leather couch is too delicate and pretty to do anything including eat or drink on it, but to stay in a stationary position and never get up. Realize your stay may infringe on someone else's lives and they are too proud to deny you anything so the inconveniences are something to put up with. Stiff neck from inadequate support from a pillow or position having slept in is no cure for a productive day of driving or traveling to the next destination. Or the five layers of dust that collect in my laptop and on my monitor screen as I walk away for a few minutes as my name was called.

Some possibilities to consider before your next friend's reservation, might be to think if you have been there before, what hours they keep so things like TV, computer, and noise can be controlled as to not bother them. These questions provide a baseline for your excepted comfort and ultimately the answers depend on how long the stay might be. Some questions may not apply for a one night stay.

Are you allowed to use their computer to check email or is there a WI-FI connection your laptop can connect to? What limitations are there to things like laundry? Are there gate codes and security that may infringe on someone’s privacy when you the guest is seen as a stranger? Would you have access to a front door and gate key, if you need to go out? 

 

Good Eats: 
Should your friend be a stingy food keeper or if you don’t like the cuisine they serve, politely suggest cooking for them and buy the groceries. Food is not always in abundance due to costs, personal preferences and to be honest not everyone goes with the Julia Child school of etiquette when it relates to hospitality. Meaning, lack of preparation for your stay may not be just a passing thought but a character flaw. To attempt to reverse this, try a thoughtful but memorable gesture to your host/hostess may extend a return invitation under convenient circumstances.

Do these rants not end?

Friends try to be giving despite the circumstances one may not like, but it is their home, their habits, their living. As a guest what right do you have to say otherwise? But as a part of friendship it may be worthy to drop a few hints down the line for a good faith effort to change what you think is wrong. Remember be tactful and sometimes situations warrant silence versus an argument.

Respect what you are given for free, and pay it forward by extending your own invitation for their next visit. Traveling can be extremely fun with the right intentions in mind. Have fun and good luck. 

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