One of the most popular vacation destinations for young frugal families is the home of relatives. Staying with relatives, assuming they welcome you as house guests, is a great way to save money on lodging costs while getting away from home for a while.

But just because you’re visiting mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, or your brother or sister, doesn’t mean you can just make yourself at home and treat their house as if it were your own. Here are some tips for making sure you are invited back again.

Be Considerate

Every family has their own way of doing things, and if you change your behavior to match your host’s way of life, you’ll be a much better house guest than if you expect your host to cater to you.

Keep these things in mind, when you’re visiting:

  • Rising and Bed Times. When does your host family typically get up in the morning and go to bed at night? If they’re early to bed and early to rise, don’t keep them up talking until one o’clock in the morning, even if you are a night owl.
  • Children and Pets. If your host family is uptight about kids running wild and you’re a hand’s off type parent, either plan to keep a close eye on your kids or plan to stay somewhere else. Having a talk with your children about expected behavior while visiting is always a good idea. And if you’re thinking of bringing Fido along, please, PLEASE ask your hosts first. If they don’t like pets, leave Fido home.

Offer to Help Out

Playing host to a family with children can be quite a challenge, especially if your mom and dad no longer have other kids in the home. Make sure you help lighten the load.

  • Help Out With Chores. Don’t expect your hosts to serve your every need. If you want maid service, stay in a hotel. Offer to help with cooking and cleaning up. Make your beds and run to the store for that gallon of milk. Better yet, don’t ask. Just pitch in.
  • Help Pay for Food. This may not apply, if you’re visiting parents and they insist on paying for everything and they can afford it. In that case you may insult your parents if you insist on paying for food. Use your judgment when it comes to parents.

However, if you’re visiting siblings or cousins, who have their own families, it will be a great help to them if you buy your share of the food. The grocery bill is bad enough, when you don’t have four extra mouths to feed. You’re saving money on lodging by staying with them. Make sure you don’t cause them financial hardship because they have to feed you.

Show Your Appreciation

No matter whom you are visiting, make sure you let them know you appreciate their hospitality. Offer to take them out to dinner on your last night in town. Leave a bouquet of fresh flowers when you leave. If you’re really strapped for cash, write them a letter, letting them know how much fun you had and how much you appreciate them. Even if you visit every year, never take your host family for granted.

Being a good house guest is important, no matter whom you visit. Sometimes, though, it’s easy to forget our manners when we stay with the same people we grew up with. Make sure you don’t leave your manners at home while visiting family.