DEAR ABBY: My sister and her family recently moved out of state after having lived near our family all her life. Mom and I want to visit her this year, but she likely won't have enough room for us in the house because she has three kids and only three bedrooms. She does have a sofa bed and an air mattress, but neither my mother nor I want to sleep on them. Both of us suffer from back and knee problems and don't want to be uncomfortable.
Would it be rude if we stayed at a hotel? We have never stayed with her family before, so we're not sure if they would be upset. What is the proper etiquette here? -- PUZZLED GUEST
DEAR PUZZLED: Call your sister around the time you're planning to visit, and tell her how much you both are looking forward to seeing her. Then ask if there are any hotels or motels nearby, making sure to explain that you and your mother plan to stay in one because your physical problems prevent either of you from sleeping comfortably on a sofa bed or an air mattress. To do that is not insulting, and it may take the pressure of "entertaining" off your sister's shoulders, because with three children, I'm sure she's plenty busy.