Top 5: How to be a Great Host or a Great Guest

Being summer, and packing in all the travel and weekend trips to see friends and family, I thought I’d post a short tidbit on being a guest in other’s homes and on the other hand, having guests into your home.

Things I wish the hostess would provide:

1. A hook or two:

  • for a towel in the room, or for clothes to be hung from a hanger

2. Towels AND a washcloth

  • Before I have to ask, please provide the towels that you want me to use, not the ones I will stumble across in a shared bathroom!

3. A new soap for the shower, and if you have it shampoo & conditioner.

  • I forget mine all the time, so a new one (gross, please don’t make me share your soap!) please.

4. Ask me to help

  • If there is a meal to make or a table to set, or any errand, please ask! I don’t want to burden my host, so please put my mind at ease and let me feel involved.

5. A timeline if you have it on any plans for meals or activities, so I can make sure I plan accordingly and am not late for something I didn’t know was happening.

Things to keep in mind if you are a guest:

1. Hang up your towels, or clothes.

  • Don’t leave the room dishelved. Gather your items in one area, so if the room is a combined space, aka. Living room or play room, life can go on without the host sidestepping your stuff.

2. Bring a contribution to breakfast or dinner or both.

  • I always like to bring coffee or coffee cake for the morning, or if dinner will be served, some wine or a great loaf of bread from a nearby bakery. If you can’t find a direct contribution to a meal, find a token gift, like a pretty handtowel, or cool new gadget from Bed, Bath & Beyond.

3. Make your bed

  • Kind of part of the gathering your stuff in one place, it just puts the room back together for the host.

4. Say “Thank you.”

  • I know you think you’ve said it enough. You didn’t. Say it again!

5. Be on time.

  • If you are arriving at a certain time, stick to schedule, as plans may have been made for a meal or an activity. Let your host know if your timing has changed. Along with this is letting your host know when you will leave. Let them plan for your stay, but also for your leaving! Life will go on without your visiting, so letting them know, makes sure there are no hurt feeling or unwelcome conflict of timing.

It’s also situational. If I bring my kids, it’s a whole new ball of beans….As a guest with kids in tow, I bring way more (food or drink) to contribute to the stay, and am constantly picking up after the kid messes. If I visit my family, it is a little more relaxed, but bedtimes are key for a nice visit…letting the adults have some quiet at night is always a nice break for the older hosts, and makes the morning much friendlier! Even with this said, if a guest of mine has a bundle of kids, the best thing for me as a host that relaxes me, is if the guests are happy and relaxed. I really don’t mind the mess, as I am used to it, and I would rather see my guests enjoying themselves.

What are some of the wish-list items you want hosts to know when you are a guest? Any wish-list items as a host? I think a great rule of thumb is to relax as a host, to make your guest feel comfortable. I always feel terrible if I get the sense that my visit is an inconvenience in any way. I would rather stay elsewhere for sure.

And if you are a guest, do as the natives do. Eat when they eat, sleep when they sleep, etc.  Whatever you do, enjoy yourself and it will catch on to everyone around you!