Hotel/Accommodation, Travel

How to Be A Good House Guest

August 18, 2015

House GuestAt some point in all our travels, we are lucky enough to receive an invitation to stay with friends or family on our travels. We all appreciate being invited, but how do we show that to our hosts? I am sure most of my readers already practice good habits of being a good house guest, but maybe you know someone you can share these with. Here are five tips to showing your appreciation to your hosts.

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1. Bring a Gift – I was taught this from an early age. You never go to a party or visit someone without bringing a gift. If you are staying at someone’s house, bring a gift that is thoughtful and practical, if possible. Last summer I stayed with a friend and his family, which included 4 of his children and an exchange student, so I brought scones for breakfast and a bottle of wine for his wife! The gift doesn’t have to be expensive, just a sign of appreciation.

2. Clean Up After Yourself – I hope this is a given! You are not staying at a hotel, and your hosts should not have to pick up after you. Make your bed, hang up your towels and wipe down the sink every day.

3. Offer to Help – This is beyond cleaning up after yourself. Offer to help cook, take out the trash or watch kids or pets. They may not take you up on it, but not offering is rude. You host is probably still having to go to work or carry on with their daily lives while you visit. You are staying for free after all!

4. Give Them Space – Your host is not a hotel operator and probably would appreciate some alone time. Go to your room and read or go for a walk. Do not invade their personal time the entire time you visit.

5. Send a Thank You Note – This seems to be a fading art. The thank you note can be an email or snail mail but send something. We all like getting mail, and it helps tell them how much you appreciate them taking the time to share their home and time with you.

Do you have any tips for being a good house guest? Please share in the comments!

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  • Reply Sasha August 19, 2015 at 6:06 am

    As someone who has friends and family everywhere, and someone who hosts and is hosted, I can agree with everything you said!!

    A few things I would add:
    1. Please inform your host of (reasonable) requests for your comfort! Most hosts are happy to accommodate you if you tell them in advance what you need, and as long as your needs aren’t too picky, are happy to oblige. For example, I LOVE when my guests just tell me what they want stocked for breakfast. Or if they get cold easily, I’ll make sure there’s an extra blanket. Simple requests that I can plan ahead for. Just don’t get too crazy 😉 On the flip side, if you have a ton of special needs (specific items, specific food, etc) just bring them yourself!
    2. Don’t help yourself to drawers/cabinets/food unless your host has told you it’s okay. When in doubt, ask!

    staying with friends/family is a great way to travel, so just be considerate and communicate. That’s my best advice!

    • Reply Tiffany August 19, 2015 at 10:54 am

      Great additions Sasha! Thanks. Number one is especially true if you have a good allergy.

  • Reply Jackie Garbarino August 19, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Very good suggestions, Tiffany. We have only had one guest from hell and he managed to NOT do anything you suggested, and added a few extra ways to irritate us. You were the perfect guest, Tiffany and we hope to host you again. My only addition would be to invite your hosts, unless it includes a large family, out to dinner or cook a meal for them. Not necessary for short stays. BTW Tiffany treated us to dinner even though her stay was short!

    • Reply Tiffany August 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm

      Thank you Jackie! You guys were great hosts. Sorry you have had a bad guest

  • Reply Mitzie Mee August 20, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    That’s some really good advice. Right after we moved to Dubai we had so many visitors our flat felt like a B&B, and we had to come up with some rules for guests visiting. I think all your points are included 🙂 Something which really annoys me, but which a lot of visitors probably don’t think about is that 1) my husband and I live in Dubai, we’re not on vacation and therefore 2) we don’t want to go and see Burj Khalifa/ride on a camel/go skiing. We also don’t want to dine out at expensive restaurants with our guests every night, but prefer saving our money for when we’re going on vacation ourselves:)

    • Reply Tiffany August 20, 2015 at 11:18 pm

      Excellent points! After all, they did come to see you as well and not just for a free place to stay, right? Or you would hope!

  • Reply Suz March 24, 2018 at 12:18 am

    Wonderful and thoughtful list, Tiffany!. Treat others how you would like to be treated. Then go that little bit further. I believe a thank you note and why you enjoyed your stay is the biggest gift to give.

    • Reply Tiffany April 27, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Exactly! Thank you notes are not written enough nowadays.

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