Many of us traveling this time of year have the good fortune to be an overnight guest in someone’s home. Here are some things to consider to ensure you get invited back.
First Things First
Wait to be invited. If you're traveling to an area where you have family or friends, don’t assume they are able or willing to host you as an overnight guest in their home. Also, if someone has a beach, lake or mountain home, don’t presume you can schedule a time slot that coincides with your vacation days. They are not running a hotel. Let them know you will be in the area and wait for them to offer. The exception would be if they have offered to host you when you are in town. In that case, go ahead and ask if it would be a good time to take them up on their offer.
Please do not ask to bring your pet. You want to avoid putting a gracious host in the uncomfortable position of having to tell you “No.” If you absolutely can’t travel without your furry friend, ask if they know a good pet boarding facility in the area. This will give them the opportunity to include your pet in the invitation to stay in their home. Keep in mind that asking may be appropriate depending on your relationship. It would be okay to ask about bringing your pet with a close family member or friend.
If they have pets, do not ask them to keep them in another room because you are allergic. Remember, this is their home and you're a guest. If you are highly allergic to their pet, you may want to consider staying elsewhere.
Communicate These Things Early
Discuss the length of your stay and make sure it fits into the host’s schedule. Don’t impose your vacation time on them. Agree on a definite start and end date and time for your stay so everyone is on the same page.
If you have food allergies or restrictions, let the host know in advance and offer to bring any special foods you will need. Please don’t expect the host to be able to accommodate your food restrictions at every meal. Instead, offer to prepare food that you can eat. A nice touch would be to make enough to share with others.
Follow These House Rules
If your host will be working during your stay, ask about their schedule. Avoid any activities that will keep them from that schedule. Be considerate of their morning and bedtime routines.
Keep your room or space tidy and pick up after yourself. The host won't want to walk by your room and see a disaster zone. Keeping a clean space shows respect for their home.
Keep the bathroom clean; especially if you are sharing it with them or other family members.
Clean up after yourself if you are preparing food in the kitchen.
Other Ways To Make A Good Impression
Bring a small hosting gift with you to give when you arrive or at the end of your stay. Another option is to send a gift after your visit. *See the list of ideas for hosting gifts at the end of this article.
Offer to buy groceries or chip in for them. You can also arrive with groceries to help defer the cost of any food you will be eating.
Offer to prepare or take them out for a meal. This is a nice gesture and would be a treat for any host. If you do prepare a meal, do all the clean-up so the host won't have to lift a finger.
At The End Of Your Stay
Ask if they would like you to change the sheets or strip the bed at the end of your stay. It’s always best to ask since every host has their own preference. If asked to strip the bed, leave the sheets folded at the foot of the bed and put the comforter or bedspread back in place, unless given different instructions.
Also, ask what to do with the used bathroom towels.
Lastly, send a handwritten thank you note when you get home, along with a small gift, if you did not give them one during your stay.
Keep these tips in mind and you should always be a welcomed overnight guest!
*Hosting gift ideas:
Suzy Lins is a certified etiquette trainer located in Southern California. Educating on manners and etiquette to help people gain confidence to master business and social situations is the core of her teaching.