Etiquette Questions, Answered: Tricky Conversations
Must All Travelling Companions Split Expenses Evenly?
Q. Our friend, a hedge-fund manager, invited my family to join his at a resort time-share. We are not paying for the residence,
fortunately, since we are nowhere near their income bracket. But they mentioned some plans for our family and theirs that
sound extravagant. Are we expected to contribute half of those expenses? How do we broach this gently?
Name withheld by request
A. No subject is more socially delicate (or interesting) than that of how much money other people have and how they spend it. What you consider extravagant—a daily massage, the full-time services of a resort’s concierge—another traveler might consider essential.
On this trip, your family will travel as guests of your friends. As such, you shouldn’t be expected to split all expenses down the middle. Address the topic delicately by saying, “Thank you so much for including us in your exciting plans. It’s a real treat for us. We appreciate your hospitality.” Be considerate of your hosts, be good company, and be sure to make a small financial contribution when you can, by picking up the tab at a restaurant or on a group excursion, such as a museum visit.
Once you get home, send your hosts a thank-you note and a small gift. The object itself doesn’t matter; just make sure it’s something that will remind them, pleasantly, of the time you shared. If you choose to go further by, say, splitting the cost of the concierge even if you barely used his services, you are very classy. And if I ever get rich, I am so taking you on vacation.
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