How to be a great houseguest

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The holiday season is right around the corner and for many of us we will be houseguests. Visiting family and friends is what the season is all about. There are tips to make sure you are the perfect, polite and neat houseguest; one who will be invited back again. If you have been the host to a great houseguest you can shout with glee – but, if houseguests have left you wondering “what happened?” you’ll appreciate these tips on how to be a great houseguest.

Before we hit the road this holiday season, let’s review how to be a great houseguest!

1. Plan ahead and be specific about the date and time of your arrival. Keep your host/hostess in the loop with these details. No showing up early – that’s not a good surprise! And, let your host know if you are running late.


How to be a great houseguest? The number one tip: Plan ahead and coordinate dates and times with your host.

2. Let your host know if there are any allergies and meal concerns. This avoids surprises, upset and hungry family and friends, and most importantly no allergic reactions requiring medical attention. 


Sharing any food allergies is how to be a great houseguest.

3. If you are planning to bring a holiday dish, let your host know you would like to contribute and what you are bringing.  She/he will need to prepare and plan for your dish.


If you have wondered how to be a great houseguest – bring your star dish. But, let your host know it’s coming along with you.

4.  Be prepared to help with the costs of groceries. It may be helpful to send money ahead for groceries. The holiday season is all about food and that extends beyond dinner. That can get expensive! There is breakfast, lunch and snacks – if everyone is sharing in the bounty of great dishes, it’s only considerate to also contribute to the costs. Offer to help out by purchasing groceries or taking your host out to dinner one evening. 


Show me the money! Help with the cost of groceries, or take your host out to dinner. Follow this tip and you’ll be a great houseguest for sure!

5.  Pack light – no need to bring everything you own or that you are thinking about wearing or eating. Plan your packing and be conservative.  This also allows for space to bring home goodies from shopping trips and gifts too! Also, keep in mind your suitcases will be in the area where you are staying and you will want the extra space.


Be a great houseguest and pack light.

6.  Keep in mind the amount of space you’ll have as your own – in most cases a bedroom. No spreading out around the house. Keep your belongings in your designated space. This definitely includes the bathroom – keep it neat, clean and free of scattered clothing, towels, make-up and hair-styling tools.

7.  Clean up and keep your area neat. This how to be a great houseguest tip is worth repeating!


How to be a great houseguest 101 will start with being neat and clean – do not leave a mess.

8.  Only use the closet after asking (if it is not offered). Most host will offer a place for you to hang clothing. Asking about washing or ironing before heading to the laundry room.


As a great houseguest the number one chore would be to keep your room neat and clean

9. Offer to help with chores.  It’s just the right thing to do. Staying in someone’s home is not like staying in a hotel where housekeeping service is just a phone call away. 


Jump in and help. Your host will appreciate it and in the case of dinner – it is ready sooner!

10.  If you have a pet – plan to board them, unless your host has offered for you to bring them along. Does your host have a pet? Ask about giving treats and pet routines.


How to be a great houseguest with a pet? Unless your pet is the family friend of the people you are visiting, it is best to board them at their favorite place. And, don’t assume you know how they want you to interact with their pet. It is a great idea to ask first.

11.  If you’re staying more than 3 days, plans to spend sometime on your own. Do not expect your host to have something planned every day and night of your stay.

12. Be your own tour guide. Plan for excursions without the host, and if they can join, that’s an added bonus


Head out on your own excursions. Do you have other family or friends who live in the same city or nearby? Give them a call and have a great day with them. This is a super tip and you’ll have people asking you – How to be a great houseguest.

13.  Flexibility is golden! Adjust to the routine of your host. If you are an early morning person and they are not, starting your day rumbling around the kitchen for coffee is not ideal. If  it is necessary for your schedule to differ from your host, share this information before arriving and discuss your plans and remember to be consider of their routine.


Your host will have a routine and it is best to fit in while you’re there. And, maybe you’ll enjoy what they find fun. Maybe it’s a morning hike – and that’s good for your health.

14. Ask to use internet and wifi – and if you have children traveling with you, instruct them on proper etiquette with wifi and internet.
(Do not download music, movies or other items not allowed at home. Limit the amount of time on your host computer. Do not open mail, documents, etc. when using their computer)


Everyone loves to stay connected – that includes your host. Ask before using their wifi and respect their privacy when using their computer. No quick looks at emails or opening tabs.

14.  Bring a Thank you /hostess gift. And, send a thank you note once you are home.


Choose a gift that is personal and special to your host. Now that’s how to be a great houseguest!

 2 Bonus how to be a great houseguest tips!

Another great tip is to extend an invitation for them visit during the Spring or Summer. Now it’s your turn to be a great host!


Plan a visit to reciprocate the gracious hospitality of your host. Summer or Spring Break for the kids!

And, the most considerate  tip of all is – when planning a trip around holidays, leave with enough time for your host to have some down time before heading back to work.  No need to stay right up to the last minute of the holiday vacation.


Goodbyes are always sad! But plan your departure so your host has a little time before the holiday break is over. He/she will appreciate a couple of days to straighten-up, get back on routine and relax before returning to work.

Enjoy the holidays with family and friends and always think about how to be a great houseguest.

Add your tips and experiences.
Great and scary stories of houseguests are welcomed!



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