How to compensate family for hosting our daughter?
December 15, 2018 8:08 AM   Subscribe

My daughter will be travelling abroad and might be able to stay with family for a few days. I'd love for her to be hosted by this cousin instead of staying at a hostel. How would I go about compensating my cousin?

Gift cards are out and sending an actual gift with my daughter will be too cumbersome. I'd like to straight out send money but it looks kind of crass. They don't use Amazon as shipping is very expensive.

Any ideas?
posted by Coffeetyme to Society & Culture (15 answers total)
I would love to host a relative from another place for a few days and would not expect anything but a nice thank you note from them after their trip. Maybe with a photo from their visit tucked in the envelope. If you really felt the need to send something maybe a small box of local chocolates or small pack of local coffee or small Christmas tree ornament from your town if they celebrate. That should be easy to tuck in between clothes in a bag.

We actually did do this twice about 15 years ago and it was a great experience and there were no gifts or compensation involved. The experience of meeting her and showing her around was a gift itself.
posted by maxg94 at 8:18 AM on December 15, 2018 [9 favorites]

This seems a little strange to me. If your relatives offered, I would assume that they don't want compensation. It is just a few days. I regularly offer for people to stay with us.
She should bring them a nice gift. If possible, one from your hometown. If that's a pain to carry, she should buy a nice bottle of wine or box of chocolates at a store in their town or in the location she was at previously.
posted by k8t at 8:25 AM on December 15, 2018 [7 favorites]

Is it possible to send your daughter with an amount of local currency (or the ability to withdraw it once she's there)? When I was hosted by far-away family, my parents would send this and instruct me to buy some groceries or pay for meals or otherwise make sure that I wasn't a drain on my hosts' resources. Sometimes I was told just to give the money to my host; they'd refuse it first but I would insist it was a gift from my parents, and eventually they'd take it.
posted by profreader at 8:26 AM on December 15, 2018 [10 favorites]

oh, goodness. No money. It's extremely unlikely they would accept it, in any case.

In my culture it would definitely be nice to send a gift, not as "compensation" but as a token of affection and familial regard. If there are kids, then "gifts for the kids" is the default. I'm assuming that packing room is the problem. Can your daughter pick up something upon arrival at the airport? Even a box of chocolates is nice, much better than nothing, and every airport has them. Overpriced yes but consider it part of the ticket cost.

[on edit: if you think there's any chance they'd take it, then send the cash too, if you really think that your daughter's stay will constitute a financial burden. I still think it's highly unlikely it'll be accepted and a high chance that the offer will be uncomfortable for both your kid and the hosts.]
posted by fingersandtoes at 8:27 AM on December 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Did they offer, or did you ask? I think that makes a difference. If they offered, a nice thank you gift would be just fine. If you are asking, and depending on the culture, part of the ask might be offering to compensate with a bit less than the cost of the hostel.
posted by MountainDaisy at 8:50 AM on December 15, 2018

Any sort of nice thank you gift, does not have to be expensive. Money would be inappropriate (assuming it really is just a few days). Your daughter should send them a thank you card too!
posted by so fucking future at 9:11 AM on December 15, 2018

I think a sincere card would suffice - and, perhaps an invitation to host them in the future (if that's at all feasible for you and your housing situation ).
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:24 AM on December 15, 2018

We host family offspring here on occasion and by far the best thing to enable the young person in question to take the family out to a thank you dinner. Give the kid cash, let the kid use a credit card, debit card you refund, whatever.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:31 AM on December 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

If it's easy, have her bring them goodies from home--tasty food, ideally, since culinary cultural exchange never goes wrong. Locally made chocolate, jams, cheeses, or whatever seems relevant and not too odd. Unless they've specifically asked/hinted at money, offering it would probably come off as rude, since the currency family/social relationships run on is far more subtle than a cash transaction, and has more in common with warmth and generosity. If you must, a gift card is probably fine, but not for more than a hundred bucks.
posted by tapir-whorf at 11:30 AM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Agreed about gifts or taking the host(s) out. If they have children or are living with elderly relatives, small presents for the whole family if possible (and not too difficult for your daughter to transport) is a thoughtful gesture.
posted by trig at 12:03 PM on December 15, 2018

These are relatives, you don't have to compensate them. That's what family us about. Your family is not a commercial enterprise—thanks are enough, a nice thank-you card would be ideal. Also you should do the same for them should the tables ever be turned.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 1:01 PM on December 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm assuming that 1) your daughter is an adult (though perhaps a young one) and 2) she doesn't really know this cousin (maybe they met once ten years ago or something). In that sort of scenario, I'd try to endeavour to take the family out for a meal--if she can't afford that on her own, you can send her with money. Or, honestly, like everyone else has said, presents for any children or letting any kids hang out with her, depending on ages.
posted by hoyland at 2:47 PM on December 15, 2018

I agree with the folks above that if it is a token then anything will do, but if you do want to do something like Amazon credit, look into gift cards which will work locally. IHerb, for example, has gift cards and tend to have free shipping everywhere over a certain charge. In Europe there’s and nearly every country has their own local eCommerce player.
posted by frumiousb at 3:18 PM on December 15, 2018

I've hosted many people, friends and family, and I've never expected or wanted compensation. Company, conversation, and the joy of introducing my city to a new person is reward enough. If you must do something, a small gift like a tin of local candy or tea is more than enough.
posted by basalganglia at 9:23 PM on December 15, 2018

If "local candies/chocolates" would be too difficult to pack (take too much space, would be fragile, etc.) perhaps you can find a small book of local history/scenic views or something by a local artist - something that says, "you're sharing your home with me, so I'm sharing mine with you."
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:24 PM on December 15, 2018

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