Before you dive into a getaway with extended family, make sure you talk about who will pay for what. (Photo by Michael S. Williamson/The Washington Post)

This summer, I vacationed with relatives and it was great.

We had lots of fun in the sun in Aruba. My husband and I paid for the villas, but it was clear to all our family members that everything else was on their dime – vacation excursions, drinks and food at the pool bar, etc. And if we were cooking joint meals, they were to pitch in for cost of the groceries.

We’ve had vacations before with extended family members and will do it again. It is for us — and can be for you — a great way to bond. But if  you don’t want to end up paying more than your fair share on a shared vacation, talk and spell out expectations before any hotel room or flight is booked.

And what if you have a vacation home?

Same thing. Be up front about your expectations. Set rules for who can visit, when and if you want them to pick up some costs, at least to partially offset maintenance of your property. It’s one thing to be generous by sharing your vacation or vacation home, but don’t let people take advantage of your generosity. While you may be okay with helping save friends and family money, you also don’t want to end up being resentful.
Here are some articles that I found that may help you deal with the issue or at least let you know you’re not alone:
Heavy Meddle: Attack Of The Vacation Invaders!

When Your Vacation Home Becomes Everybody’s Vacation Home

Readers Lay Down the Law on Vacation Homes: Tips on handling visits from friends and family

Miss Manners: Free use of beach house merits more than perfunctory thanks

I’ll also throw this in from Remar Sutton of FoolProof if you’ll be needing transportation during your vacation: Renting a Car on Vacation? What Insurance Do You Need?

Color of Money Question of the Week
Have you had family or friends want to tag along on your vacation or use your vacation home and if so, how did you handle the situation? Send your comments to Please include you name, city and state. In the subject line put “Vacation Moochers” in the subject line.

Live Chat Cancelled Today
So sorry, I’m away today. Please join me next week for my regularly scheduled online discussion.

And, if you missed last week’s chat, check out the transcript.

My Color of Money Columns This Week
Don’t let the bling of the ring blind you to the important stuff

How to catch the lowest refinancing rates

Retirement news you can use
Retirement columnist Rodney Brooks’ Monday newsletter this week: A quarter of Americans worry about running out of money in retirement

Brooks writes: “What is our biggest fear when it comes to retirement? Well, according to a new survey from the Indexed Annuity Leadership Council, our biggest fear is running out of money.”

Brooks’ most recent retirement column: Thinking of buying your dream home for retirement? Do your homework first.

Crippled By Credit
A report from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation found that many consumers are making bad credit choices.

Eleven percent of consumers said they used their cards to get cash advances in 2015. Advances typically incur high interest charges. Thirty-two percent of the 27,500 Americans who were polled by the foundation said in the last year they had only paid the minimum balance due on their cards. So last week I asked: What’s your biggest credit card mistake?

One reader wrote: “One of my biggest mistakes was using all the credit extended to me. $500 limit? I’d carry a balance of $485. Increased to $1,000? New balance would be $990. I’ve learned to never use up all my available credit.”

If you live right up to your credit limit read this: Max Out Your Credit Knowledge

Or this: How Much of Your Credit Should You Be Using?

Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1301 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to