Last week, we shared with you our best advice for being a warm and welcoming host. This week, we’ll put the shoe on the other foot and talk about the importance of being a gracious guest, especially on those overnight or extended trips.
For an Agreeable Arrival…
- Plan Ahead. Give your hosts plenty of notice. When do you plan to arrive and when will you leave? If your host says that they have a big event or travels plans of their own on a certain date, make sure to plan your visit so that you can give them a few days on their own to prepare or recuperate.
- Don’t Arrive Unannounced. Never just ‘pop by’ for a visit. Even if you have agreed to stay at a friend’s place, call before you arrive on their doorstep, and never bring along a pet or extra guest unless you’ve gotten the ok first.
- Bring a Gift. You should always bring a little something to thank your host for their hospitality, but what if you pick out something your host won’t like—like a brightly colored vase or wine glasses they just don’t have room for? Instead of your host feeling obliged to haul out your gift every time you visit, stick to something useful or tasty, like a bottle of wine or a local delicacy from your hometown.
For a Smooth Stay…
- Abide by house rules and routines. Some routines you may have to inquire about— “What time do you guys go to bed and wake up. I’d hate to oversleep!”—On others you may have to follow your hosts’ lead. Do they wear shoes in the house? Is the dog allowed on the furniture? Try to pay attention to how your friends like to keep their home and act accordingly. You’ll fit right in!
- Be Appropriate. Keep your hosts and their surroundings in mind. Make sure your PJs aren’t too revealing, your language is clean (especially around the kiddos!), and you drink only in moderation at dinner.
- Help Out! Do the dishes, set the table, empty the trash. It’s only polite to help clean up when you’ve helped to make the mess.
- Bring your own toiletries. Most hosts don’t mind lending you toiletries and many even supply their own. Still, you should be prepared to provide your own shampoo, conditioner, etc., especially if you prefer a particular brand.
- Provide your own transportation. Renting a car or familiarizing yourself with public transport will save your hosts a lot of headaches if you plan on venturing off on your own during your visit.
For a Smooth Departure…
- Leave the house just as you found it. You should have been keeping your bedroom, bathroom, and any common areas clean during your stay, but after you pack your bags, give everything a wipe down. Strip the bed and collect the towels. If your hosts don’t mind you using their washer and dryer, it’s a nice touch to replace the linens. If not, you can always place them neatly in the laundry room.
- Let the hosts know you’re leaving. Don’t sneak out early in the morning without letting your hosts you’re doing so. Give everyone a chance to say their goodbyes and, if you’ve been a good guest, plan another visit!
- Leave a parting Gift. Yes, we know. You brought a hostess gift when you arrived, but a gift card to a local shop or restaurant may be especially thoughtful after your hosts have gone out of their way to open their home.
- Send a Thank You Note. Mom was right about this one. It’s just good manners.