Easy ways to be a better house guest
Many of us will be travelling for the holidays, and staying with friends and family. Seeing loved ones is always exciting, but it also can be quite a stressful season for guests and hosts. Be a courteous guest this holiday season by following these simple guidelines, and you will always be welcome back.
A good guest comes prepared.
Sometimes your host will have a spare toothbrush or set of socks, but it’s not endearing to consistently show up without necessities. This goes beyond just making sure you’re well-stocked with pajamas and floss. Check the weather forecast and make sure you have the appropriate clothes for the weather, so that you have your own heavy coat or umbrella if you need it. Also remember to pack some travel sized medications, so that you have your own anti-acids or pain relievers if you need some at midnight.
A good guest is tidy.
Whether you have a guest room to yourself or an air mattress in the living room, keep your belongings orderly. You aren’t staying at a hotel, and there isn’t a maid to come and clean your space. Make the bed in the morning, and keep your belongings out of the main living areas as much as possible. Dirty laundry goes neatly in a hamper, and your toiletries should be stowed in your bag, not strewn over the bathroom counter. Don’t leave dirty dishes in the sink, and after shared meals help with the clean up.
A good guest respects the routine of the house.
Chances are the house schedule is a little different than yours, especially if you’re staying with people who have small children. Ask about the normal household routine. Unless there’s something you absolutely must do, try to accommodate their schedule. If it’s lights out at ten, don’t be the person who wakes the sleeping baby. Even if you aren’t ready for bed, spend a quiet evening in your room with snacks and Netflix. If you’re likely to get up first, ask about a few breakfast options you can get on your own. Learn how to use the coffee machine, and treat your hosts to a hot pot when they wake up. A good guest makes an effort to engage with everyone.
Maybe you don’t really think of yourself as a ‘kid person,’ or you’ve never particularly warmed to your cousin’s girlfriend. However, you are a guest in someone’s home. Make an effort to be courteous and sincerely interested in the people around you. Play a round of monopoly with the kids and ask a few thoughtful questions about people’s lives. It shows that you care about the people who care enough about you to share their home.
A good guest brings a gift.
Hosting people, especially large groups of people, is expensive. The costs of extra food, special activities, and entertainment can quickly add up. Meanwhile, as a guest you are probably saving quite a bit of money that you’d otherwise have to spend on accommodations. A gift of wine or food is a nice way to contribute, either by bringing something or taking your hosts out to dinner. While your hosts may not necessarily expect it, you will stand out as an especially considerate house guest.
A good guest helps clean before they leave.
The morning of your departure you should strip your bed and gather any towels that you used for your hosts. If you know your host well you might even ask to use the laundry room so you can clean your own linens and remake the bed with fresh sheets. After staying for a week or longer it’s also nice to surprise your guests with a small bag of groceries replacing what you’ve consumed.
If you traveled with pets or small children it also is particularly helpful to offer pay to have the carpets cleaned. Muddy footprints, stains from spilled soda, dander and pet accidents can leave your guests with an unpleasant reminder of your stay. End the visit on good note by refreshing your host’s carpets. You can book an appointment as you drive to the airport using your smartphone.
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