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How to Be a Great House Guest


We spend a lot of time visiting friends and family in their homes for weekend getaways.  The gesture of being invited to someone's home is really special.  If you want an invitation back, follow a few tips to make the visit wonderful for everyone.

House Guest Etiquette Tips

Before you go

  • Stick to the Dates of Visit.  Nail down the dates of the visit before you go—and stick to them. Understand that your hosts also have lives and that they need to know exactly when you are departing and even the time.
  • Be clear about who’ll be joining you. Is this just you or the entire family and pets.  Make sure that everyone is welcome.
  • Always bring a gift.  A house warming gift is always nice.  I like to bring freshly made apple crisp, a bottle of wine, or locally purchased box of chocolates.  A bouquet of flowers is always a personal and caring gift!
  • Pack Well. Be sure to not over-pack.  Bring just a few things that will get your thru the stay and plan ahead.  If the kids need their favorite items bring them, but not all of them.

During Your Stay

  • Include your hosts in plans.  Remember that your hosts have lives.  If they have activities or plans during your stay don't get hung up on that and let them go about their day.  But it works the opposite if you are a guest.  Always extend an invitation to the host for the activities you do.  Always tell them your plans and keep them in the loop.  They can decline your offer, but always tell them.  Remember that your hostess is not a tour guide. Or babysitter.
  • Offer a Meal.  You are no doubt saving money by staying with a friend or family member. Offer to take them out or make them a meal.  This is a really nice gesture!
  • Keep tabs on your stuff. Try and not spread out all over the home.  Keep your things in your area.  Hang up your towel, make your bed each morning and leave no 'wake' of stuff behind you.  Bring toiletries back to your room after use, if needed.
  • Follow the house rules.  Always keep the peace.  Make sure your keep an eye on your children and pets.  And follow the 'rhythm' of the home and don't disturb that as much as possible.  Be a kind and gracious guest.
  • Don’t expect your hostess to do all the work.  Offer to help out and participate in cleaning dinner plates, picking up and tidying up.

Departure Tips

  • Clean your Space. Pull all linens into the laundry room.  Empty out trash and leave your guest space as you found it.
  • Send a thank you card. Always thank your host for a visit with a handwritten note or card. Please no e-mail.  This is a sure way to get an invitation back!
Sra R.
Keep your hostess informed of your plans. My husband's family invaded my home and the women took over the kitchen for 3 days. Sure, it was great not to cook for the clan, but I felt a little insulted that my meal plans and schedule were not even considered.
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