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Visiting Family/Friends & Renting a Car

DH's parents live on the other side of the country and have started coming to visit us once a year. His mom usually stays for about 10 days (she's retired) and his dad usually stays for 5 or so days (he owns a business and rarely takes time off). 

DH and I usually take 2-3 days off during their visits. The 2-3 days when we're at work, they hang out at our house or beach during the day and we hang out with them in the evenings. We live in a non-walkable, bedroom type community about an hour from the closest airport.

Their flights are always during the middle of our work days "because it's cheaper" and they have big lists of places they want us to take them around (some place to buy pickles, or some place that has cool artwork, or "the best sundae in the world", or whatever). But they never offer to rent a car. 

I'm on the fence if I think it's rude to ask them to rent a car this time. They're family and we're glad they come to visit. But we can't take an entire week off to staycation with them. Plus it's annoying that they don't coordinate their flights with our work schedules and that they ask us to chauffeur them all over town.

Do you offer to rent a car when you visit friends or family? Do you think it's reasonable for me (well, DH) to request this?
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Re: Visiting Family/Friends & Renting a Car

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    I definitely think it's rude to visit someone and expect them to chauffeur you all around town. I don't think it's rude to say something like, "We're glad to have you come and stay! Unfortunately due to our work schedules, we won't be able to drive you around on X days so you will need to make your own arrangements"
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    I typically rent a car - I like the freedom it affords me.  On the other hand I don't rent a car when I visit my sister in FL because she works from home and has offered to let me use her vehicle (since it sits in the garage most days) if needed when I visit her.

    Given how long they stay I think it is a bit rude of them not to rent a car but I don't think I'd be brave enough to broach the topic with my parents/in-laws.  Is there anyway that one of them could drop either you or DH off at work and then have the use of one of your vehicles on their own for the day?  It might be a decent compromise.
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    Absolutely acceptable for you to sy something. My parents live 1500 miles away and they have never visited without getting a rental car.They know we have to work some days and they like to be free to go visit their parents/ friends/ favorite restaurant. I have gotten a rental every time I have visited them. Even if it just sits in their driveway for 5 days, it's still more convenient to drive myself back to the airport midday on a Monday.

                                                                     

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    I think it's definitely ok to have your husband ask them to rent a car and to explain why.
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    Actually I consider this like going to a restaurant and having money for the meal but not the tip. A car/ transportation is part of the vacation and should be budgeted for.

                                                                     

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    I always get a rental car when I visit my parents, I don't want them to change their schedules for me and I like the freedom to do other things I want to do without relying on them. I get your frustrations with the flights, my mom does this EVERY TIME she comes to town, they are the worst times for me to drive 45min each direction to get her but she just assumes I work from home and can leave whenever. I did have that conversation with her and it went really well, now she coordinates. The only reason people don't get a car when they visit us is because we have 3 of them so they just take the extra, if we didn't it would be something I would bring up.

    One way to approach it "We are so excited to see you both and know you have a list of things you really want to do. Unfortunately because of work we will not be able to take you to do x,y, and z so a rental car might help and that way you don't miss out"

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    Agree with others- yes they're taking the time to visit you and they're guests in your home, but it's rude of them to expect you to put your lives on hold for them.

    They should definitely be renting a car- you're their hosts, not their babysitters or chauffers. I think it's totally reasonable for you guys to ask them this.

    Formerly martha1818

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    lyndausvilyndausvi mod
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    edited April 2015
    It depends.

    If I go visit my sister alone I rarely get a car.  We are always together so the car is a waste of money.   She is a stay-at-home-mom and has more freedom.  I always ask her if a certain arrival time is convenient or not.   I have used a shuttle service a few times getting to/from her place due to arrival and departure times just didn't work with her schedule.   If I need to run out I just take on of their cars.

    If we go together we always get a car.


    Visiting my parents it's depending on where they were living.  Tokyo?  I used public transportation to get to/from the airport.    Texas, they picked me up.   Now in DE they are 3 hours to the airport so we always get a car.

    DH's side we always get a car.

    Visiting DH's best friend in TX, we generally do not get a car.  Visiting friends in Miami we take taxis or Uber.  My BFF in Philly we also take taxis or public transportation.

    Again it just depends on the who, the where, the when and the why we are visiting.


    In the case of your ILs, I would get a car.  Or at the very least take a shuttle to/from the airport if for the rest of the time we would be in one car anyway.       A short weekend without a car wouldn't be an issue for me. 10 days?  Yeah, I would want a car.  That is assuming you don't live in a city with good public transportation, you can walk everywhere or the price of parking costs more than the rental itself.






    What differentiates an average host and a great host is anticipating unexpressed needs and wants of their guests.  Just because the want/need is not expressed, doesn't mean it wouldn't be appreciated. 
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    When it's someone you're very close to (parents, for example) then I think they should definitely not expect you to drop everything and chauffeur them around. However, I'd never ask an invited guest to pay for something or rent a car even if it was my parents. Honestly, if mine were being like this, I'd lend them my car, put the GPS in it, say "It's so great that you were able to come but unfortunately I have this and this commitment so I can't join you and do the driving today," and rent one myself for the week, rather than asking them. But I'm not saying that's the right thing to do.

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    I just went through this whole thing with my Mom for the wedding. She flies in on Sunday and the wedding isn't until Friday. So I'm taking off Wed/Thurs/Fri. That leaves her with two days to figure out something. Well, she thought that she was going to borrow my car (since FI has two vehicles - 1 car and an old truck we use for hauling)...  yeah no. I basically laid out all of my week plans, all of her week plans and showed her that it just didn't work for me that FI didn't have his normal driving vehicle and my mom have one of our cars. 

    It wasn't a super fun conversation to have because she thought I was just going to be available to her all the time, but it's not fair for her to think I've got nothing better to do than play chauffeur. I know when I was a kid, my need to be driven around was on HER schedule. Not mine. I frequently sat outside or caught a ride when she couldn't come and get me when my practices were over.

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    I don't think I'd ever tell my parents to rent a car, but I think I would be up front about my availability that week and hope they make the choice.  You may not be able to get away from picking them up, unless there is a good shuttle or Uber option, but I would let them know (preferably before tickets are booked) that you are only able to take off XYZ days so if there are places they want to visit during the other days they will need to make arrangements.

    It sounds like you already do ok at them staying at home and you going to work 2-3 of the days, so is the issue you don't want to drive them places the other days?

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    kvruns said:

    I don't think I'd ever tell my parents to rent a car, but I think I would be up front about my availability that week and hope they make the choice.  You may not be able to get away from picking them up, unless there is a good shuttle or Uber option, but I would let them know (preferably before tickets are booked) that you are only able to take off XYZ days so if there are places they want to visit during the other days they will need to make arrangements.

    It sounds like you already do ok at them staying at home and you going to work 2-3 of the days, so is the issue you don't want to drive them places the other days?

    The issue is them booking their flights for the middle of work days and expecting us to leave our jobs and drive an hour each way to pick them up and drop them off. And also that they have specific things they want to do and errands they want to run while they're here - not stuff we need/want to do at all.
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    kvruns said:

    I don't think I'd ever tell my parents to rent a car, but I think I would be up front about my availability that week and hope they make the choice.  You may not be able to get away from picking them up, unless there is a good shuttle or Uber option, but I would let them know (preferably before tickets are booked) that you are only able to take off XYZ days so if there are places they want to visit during the other days they will need to make arrangements.

    It sounds like you already do ok at them staying at home and you going to work 2-3 of the days, so is the issue you don't want to drive them places the other days?

    The issue is them booking their flights for the middle of work days and expecting us to leave our jobs and drive an hour each way to pick them up and drop them off. And also that they have specific things they want to do and errands they want to run while they're here - not stuff we need/want to do at all.
    That is when you say "I am sorry but I will not be able to pick you up from the airport.  There are taxis and you could also use X or Y service to get you to our home."

    When my Mom and Dad fly into town and I have to work I have one of them take me to work and then pick me up.  That way they have my car to use however they want.  At the end of the week/their visit they will either fill up my tank or give me some money for gas.

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