Because you rely on family and friends to host you when you come to town, you don’t need a handful of tips for being a good houseguest. You need the ultimate guide to being the perfect houseguest. Unless, of course, you’d rather have your family and friends refer you to a local hotel. Then do your own thing. But if you want to ensure the welcome mat is always out for you, following these pointers.
- Make a plan with your host regarding the details of your stay including when you’ll arrive and when you’ll leave. Follow it. Don’t show up a day late or leave your departure open-ended. Try to keep in mind that guests, like fish, begin to stink after three days. (Thanks for that, Ben Franklin.)
- Don’t surprise your host by showing up with an extra guest or pet. That’s very bad form.
- Bring a gift for your host. They’ve spent time and energy preparing for your visit and you should acknowledge their effort. A bath bomb gift set, Bonsai tree, gourmet’s salt & pepper cellar, and pour-over coffee station are some suggestions. If you can’t bring a gift because of air travel constraints, have it shipped directly to them.
- Inquire about household rules. Every house has them. Find out if they go to bed at 9 pm, need everyone to take their shoes off, or never bring food in their livingroom.
- Share any serious allergies you have with your host. They don’t want to kill you cooking with peanut oil.
During Your Stay
- Have and use your own toiletries and necessary items. Don’t assume your host wouldn’t be wigged out by you using up their pricey salon shampoo or borrowing their shaving razor.
- Plan to entertain yourself some time. Don’t monopolize all your host’s time. They have a life without you there. Give them space.
- Be helpful and considerate. Clean up after yourself. Don’t leave hair in the shower. Contribute to meal preparation and clean up. If you get up early in the morning, don’t be noisy. Don’t track dirt in the house. Flush the toilet and turn off the lights. Don’t use up all the hot shower water or towels. Don’t keep your host up late if they have to work.
- Be neat. Don’t leave your stuff lying around common areas of the house and keep your own room neat. It communicates respect for them and their home.
- Do not snoop in their stuff. No.
- Do not walk around in your skivvies. Pack a bathrobe.
- Don’t be gross. No farting, belching, or sweating on their furniture. Don’t kill your host with your bad breath or body odor.
- Do not complain about anything. If they keep their house like a meat locker it’s because they want it that way. Don’t stay there next time if it bothers you that much.
- Take your host out to dinner. You’re eating their food.
When You Leave
- Strip your sheets off your bed to spare your host that chore.
- Triple check to make sure you’re leaving with all your belongings. Never make your host have to ship you something you forgot.
- Arrange your own transportation for early morning airport departures. Don’t make your host get up at 4 am.
- Send a thank you note after you arrive home. Let them know how much you appreciated their hospitality and kindness.