How to Attend an Out-of-Town Funeral
Attending a funeral in your own city can be stressful enough. Not only are you dealing with your grief, but you might also have to take time off work, find childcare for your kids, and choose appropriate funeral clothes to wear. When a funeral is held in a different location, your stress typically increases. That is because in addition to all those other issues, you will also need to book travel and hotels—often at the last minute.
If you will be attending a funeral that is out of town from where you live, your best approach is to be flexible. Chances are you will have to sacrifice a few creature comforts, but the end result—mourning a loss with people you care about—will make it worthwhile.
Travel and Accommodations for a Funeral
Some families (particularly those who live in out-of-the-way places) will reserve a block of rooms at a local hotel so that anyone flying or driving in for the funeral can take one of the rooms. Others will ask local friends and relatives to open their homes so guests can stay a night or two without the added expense of a hotel.
Neither of these is guaranteed, however. Many families are so overwhelmed with the funeral plans and their own grief that they leave the details up to anyone who wants to attend. If this is the case, you may be expected to find your own lodging. Some hotels will offer discounted bereavement rates, but you typically have to ask and set up the rate in advance.
If money is an factor, it is often ideal to find other people who will be traveling to the funeral so you can split costs. You might also want to look into Airbnb and other home-sharing options, since these can help you save money and also ensure that you are not alone during what might be a difficult time.
Dining and Entertainment for a Funeral
It might seem strange to come up with interesting activities and restaurants to visit during a funeral, but chances are you will not be busy the entire time you are there. In fact, spending all your free time at the family’s home or expecting them to provide a place for you to hang out is often one of the worst things you could do. Yes, they may want your company and support, but wait for them to ask you over before you stop by. Otherwise, they may feel burdened to entertain you.
If this is the first time you will be traveling to the city, do not shy away from doing some sightseeing. If it is the town you grew up in or a place you haven’t been in years, consider meeting up with old friends who can be supportive. You could even create a kind of “tour” where you visit the favorite places of the deceased. By making an emotional connection in this way, you can help the grieving process and also ensure that you stay busy during your trip.
You might also want to ask ahead to find out if you will need to pack special clothes (in addition to your funeral attire), keep a block of time open for events or gatherings, rent a car, or possibly even help other out-of-town guests find their way around town. By helping the family in this way, you can attend the funeral and provide a much needed service.
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By Amy Johnson