Being a Perfect Houseguest


Ah… summer is here and with the joys of traveling to visit dear friends and staying as guests in their homes. 

 As the old saying goes, “fish and house guests get old in three days.”  Yes, even with close friends. As a guest, be mindful that your welcome is on a timer.  Be sure not to wear out the timer by following these guidelines for being gracious guests.

1)   Establish clear arrival and departure dates.  Send your host your scheduled itinerary ahead of time, including when you are arriving, any commitments you have during your stay and when you plan on departing.   Stick to those.

2)   Keep your space tidy. Sure, you may have your own room and bathroom, but it isn’t fair game for a tornado zone.  Be sure to make your bed, hang up your towels and pull your door partially or completely shut when you’re gone.

3)   Most hosts genuinely mean, “mi casa e su casa”.  They want you to feel comfortable and at ease in their home, never hungry or thirsty.  Alas, if you’re staying longer than a two day weekend, be sure to pick up a few staples at the store or treat your host to a nice dinner.  Especially if you’ve snacked your way through their pantry!

4)   Common space is where everyone meets, visits and enjoys the hosts’ home.  Most likely it’s centered on the kitchen or TV area.  As a guest, it’s your responsibility to not leave a trail in the common areas. Your host is a host, not a maid. Any used dishes should go into the dishwasher, not the sink. Any blankets used should be folded and returned, not left on the couch.

When a host has to turn into a maid, your “welcome timer” speeds up!

5)   Before you depart, be sure to strip your bed and take all linens and towels to the laundry area.  Additionally, make the bed (yes, make it without the sheets so that the room looks neat until your host can get to washing your sheets), tidy the room and take out your trash.

6)   Thank you notes and gifts are of utmost importance to being invited back.  A gift must not be elaborate to be appreciated but should reflect the amount of time spent in someone’s home.  A handwritten thank you note should be sent immediately—nothing says I appreciate your hospitality more than a personal note recapping the joys and adventures of the weekend!

Happy visiting!