The key to being a good house guest goes beyond practicing common sense. Etiquette and goodwill are essential when you spend time at the homes of your friends and relatives.
In terms of socially acceptable behavior, being a host is easier than being a house guest. As a host, your generosity gives a certain social edge; as a guest, you carry the social burden of leaving a good impression and trying not to inconvenience your kind host.
As a house guest, your goal should always be geared towards getting invited again. The following tips will help you to become the perfect house guest; but keep in mind that you should adjust them according to your relationship with the host.
1. Clearly State Your Itinerary and Stick to It
Being a house guest should never be an open-ended vacation. You should carefully plan your vacation and inform your host about important details such as arrival and departure dates, the people who will accompany you, the activities you plan during your visit, and any medical issues. Once the itinerary is set and communicated, you should do everything in your power to stick to it. If there is an unexpected change of plans, you must inform your host at once. The last thing you want to do is show up unexpectedly, and the same goes for overstaying your visit.
2. Avoid Making Unreasonable Requests
The homes you are invited to are not airlines or five-star hotels with concierge services. You should kindly accept the accommodations your hosts provide, and you should also refrain from asking them to go out of their ways to accommodate you. A reasonable request would be asking to keep certain medications in the refrigerator or allowing you to occasionally prepare special meals for medical or religious purposes. An unreasonable request would be to ask your host if your dog can sleep in the same bed or guest room you would stay in.
3. Be a Helpful Guest
It goes without saying that you should help your host during mealtimes. The first rule of etiquette in this regard is not to appear as if you and your family or companions are waiting around to be fed. You should always offer help during mealtimes; the classic offer is to do the dishes, but you can also help with meal preparation. Furthermore, if you or your travel companions have skills that can be of benefit to the household, such as helping out with the kids, you should mention them.
4. Be Mindful of Your Host’s Work and Life Schedule
The ideal time to be a house guest is during the holidays or when your host is on vacation and has invited you. However, this may not always be the case. If your host and his or her family are not able to take time off work, you should ask about their schedules so that your activities do not interfere. You should also balance your itinerary so that you don’t end up having fun all day and coming in to sleep late at night when your host wants to spend time with you.
5. Be Mindful of Any Religious, Cultural and Household Differences
You should never be a disruptive force in the lifestyles of your hosts. Even if you are very close to your hosts, you should always be careful when engaging in the discussion of political or religious topics while you are a guest. Above all, you should not be critical of your host’s chosen lifestyle or compare anything in a superior way to how things are done where they live.
6. Don’t Behave as if It’s Your House
Even though you are staying at a residence, you should act as if you were staying at a hotel in terms of doing your own laundry and bringing your own toiletries. You should not have to resort to using any of your host’s belongings, and you should also refrain from inviting others without prior approval by your host.
7. Don’t Expect Your Host to Entertain You
While staying with a friend or family member, you might naturally expect them to spend much of their time entertaining you. Although there is always a chance that your host will offer to show you around or take you sightseeing, you should plan ahead and arrange your own entertainment.
8. Always Clean Up After Yourself
As a house guest, you should minimize the extra work and inconvenience you cause your host. In addition to helping around the kitchen, you should also make your bed and tidy the guest room every morning. You do not have go to extremes and clean your host’s house from top to bottom, but make sure to clean up any mess you make. When you depart, strip your bed and collect any dirty linen and towels.
9. Make Financial Contributions to the Household
Think about all the money you save by staying with your hosts instead of at a hotel. You should pass on some of those savings to your host with a couple of grocery runs and by replacing items consumed during your stay.
10. Show Your Appreciation
One of the classiest things you can do for your host is to show up with a tasteful gift they can appreciate. Gourmet food and wine are often safe bets. Parting gifts are also nice; these can include dinner at a nice restaurant or an ornament for the house. To complete the cycle of niceties, send your host a thank you note by means of old-fashioned mail.
Staying with friends or family members can reduce the expenses associated with holidays or vacations. Be determined to become the perfect house guest by treating your hosts with respect and courtesy. Do everything possible to minimize the expenses your hosts must pay to accommodate you and always express your appreciation. Handle yourself properly when staying with other people and everyone involved will have a good time. In the end, you should always strive to be the type of guest you would like to have if you were the host.
by, Emily Preston
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