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Social Etiquette and Good Manners/Renting Vacation Home with multiple families


We are looking to rent a large vacation home with multiple families for a week over the summer.  What is the best way to divide the cost of the home?  Per family, per room?  Per person?  Each family obviously has different number of family members from 1 to 5 and I believe each family has agreed the adults will have their own rooms and the kids can share.

Dear Laura:

Thank you for your inquiry and your concern about creating a rental arrangement that is fair and equitable.

I recommend that you divide the rental cost by the number of bedrooms, using the example below.  For sake of discussion, I have created for you a group of 7 adults (3 couples and one adult singleton) and 6 children.

  $5000 weekly rental
  6 bedrooms = $833 per room.

Use that figure for the 4 bedrooms that the 7 adults will use (3 couples and the singleton).

Then divide the $833 for each of the 2 kids' rooms by the number of kids who will share the room.  Let's assume that there will be 3 children in each of these 2 additional rooms.

  $833 per room divided by 3 children = $277 per child

Assign this per-child price to each respective family. End result, the families will be paying more than the adult singleton. When the singleton realizes that he/she has a lower overall room cost than the other families, there shouldn't be an objection.

When it comes time to determine how to share the cost of food and supplies for the house, go with a simple per-person calculation each time you make purchases. The only exception to this formula will be alcohol, and those costs will be factored over the number of adult drinkers.

Enjoy your vacation!

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Nancy Mitchell


Social etiquette; Business etiquette; Entertaining etiquette; Wedding etiquette; Protocol, domestic (US) and international; Flag etiquette; Dining etiquette; Restaurant etiquette; Spa etiquette; Travel etiquette


Nancy R. Mitchell is a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol consultant and trainer with more than 30 years of experience in the field. She owns the firm The Etiquette Advocate and is an owner and founding partner of the firm Protocol Partners-Washington Center for Protocol. Currently, she is an adjunct faculty member at The George Washington University, where she developed and teaches protocol courses in the School of Business and the Career Center, and at Stratford University, Falls Church, VA. She serves also as protocol and special events consultant to the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library and cultural center. For 23 years, Mitchell was director of special events and protocol at the Library of Congress where she and her staff were responsible for planning and managing over 400 events each year. She coordinated the institution’s major special events, visits of heads of state and other distinguished visitors, galas, conferences and meetings. As the Library’s chief protocol advisor, Mitchell served as liaison to the White House, U.S Department of State, the Congress, the Supreme Court and other government agencies, embassies, academia and corporations.

Protocol and Diplomacy - International Protocol Association

Mitchell is quoted on matters of etiquette and protocol by CNN, ABC Nightline, Martha Stewart Living Radio, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Washington Business Journal, the Associated Press and Washingtonian magazine, has been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News and National Public Radio, and is an etiquette columnist for, etiquette consultant to Alexandria Woman and to Engaged! magazine, and technical editor of Wedding Etiquette for Dummies (Wiley, 2010).

B.S., University of Utah, 1969

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