Little gestures go a long way when spending time as a guest at a friend or family’s home. From bringing a hostess gift to lending a helping hand at dinner, there are plenty of ways to leave a lasting impression and make your hosts wish you’d stayed just a little bit longer. Read on for our guide to being a good house guest.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Lay Out the Schedule
Before you arrive for your stay, be sure to have nailed down your arrival and departure time. As a host, they’ll greatly appreciate knowing when to expect you and when you plan on leaving so they can plan out the rest of their week or weekend. In addition, try and arrive on time and avoid being late.
Inform The Host of Numbers
One of the first steps in planning your visit should be to inform your host of numbers and avoid assuming you’re allowed to bring a plus one or your furry friend. Leave pets at home or have them stay with another close friend or a kennel. If you believe your host wouldn’t mind you bringing your pet (or a plus one), it’s always best to ask.
WHAT TO BRING
The Hostess Gift
Whether it’s a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers or a gift card to their favourite restaurant, it’s important to bring a gift to thank your host or hostess. If you’re visiting a cottage, it’s thoughtful to pick up a cozy throw blanket, a set of mugs or your favourite board game. Board games are a great option because you can offer to open them up during your stay but leave them behind as a token of your thanks.
Beverages and Groceries
When packing food and beverages for the weekend, be sure to pack enough beverages for you, as well as enough to share with your hosts and other guests. Along with beverages and cocktails, ask your host if you can bring a meal to relieve some of the stress and if they insist you don’t, pack snack foods, special baked goods (homemade is even better) or pre-cut fruits and veggies.
Linens and Toiletries
Don’t feel as though you need to pack up a full bedding set, but bringing your own towels and perhaps a pillow will be very helpful to your host. In addition to linens, pack your toiletries appropriately to guarantee you won’t have to borrow a spare toothbrush or bar of soap from your host.
WHILE YOU’RE THERE
Keep Areas Clean
No matter how you treat your own home, treat your hosts’ house with a great deal of respect. Pick up after yourself, leave the bathroom neat and tidy and make your bed and organize your suitcase before leaving your room each morning.
While you’re visiting, don’t bombard your host with questions or activities. If you’re planning on doing some sight seeing, don’t hesitate to ask your host if they would like to join you but don’t be disappointed if they decide to pass on the opportunity. These could be sights they see often and they may have other things to get done around the house.
Lend a Helping Hand
While you’re visiting, offer to help your host wherever you can. Whether you do the dishes, set the table, cook a meal or side dish, or help with the yard work, lending a hand will be a huge help to your host and will almost guarantee an invite back.
BEFORE YOU LEAVE
Strip the Bed
Strip the sheets off your bed and bring them to the laundry room for your host, so they have one less thing to worry about upon your departure. If you want to be an all-star guest, consider waking up earlier or make sure you can do a load of the linens you used before you leave. Leaving your room spick and span is one of the best things you can do for your host of honour.
Leave a ‘Thank You’ Note
Even though you have brought a hostess gift, it’s imperative that you say thank you to your hosts and leave behind a thank you note. This type of thank you is considered an old school sentiment but it’s one that has never gone out of style and it’s always appreciated. Whether you leave one behind or send one in the mail when you get home, it will certainly be well received.
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