Summer has arrived in all of its glory, and with it much-anticipated travel plans. Some travel involves a stay at a cute boutique hotel and other times we are guests of family or friends. On those trips when we are guests at someone’s home, how do we ensure that we are invited for a return visit. In other words, what makes a gracious house guest?
Friends and family don’t really mean it when they say, “Feel free to drop in anytime.” Don’t drop in on anyone. In other words, communicate and coordinate your plans with your hosts well in advance. Let them know when you will be arriving and when you will be departing. It’s good practice to book your travel arrangements after you have confirmed these details with your hosts. Equally important, let your hosts know how many people will be traveling with you, especially if little ones are involved.
Inform your hosts of your schedule while you will be staying with them. This is a courtesy, especially if your plans do not involve spending all of your time with your hosts. You don’t want to inconvenience (or surprise) your hosts with an unexpected knock on the door from you late at night or early in the morning.
Observe and respect the house rules. Most hosts will offer a tour of their home to make you feel comfortable when you arrive. Ask questions. “Is this the powder room that I should use?” “Is this the closet in which I should hang my coat?” Don’t be too familiar just because you have a long-term relationship.
If you notice that your hosts take off their shoes when they come in the door, you should do the same. Similarly, if you notice that a certain room in the house is not used by your hosts, don’t “camp out” there during your visit. If your hosts turn in early, and you are on the nocturnal side, be respectful … speak in low tones if you are on your cell, don’t turn a bright light on directly outside of their sleeping area, don’t have the volume on the TV turned all of the way up, and for goodness sake, don’t order PPV movies “on their dime.”
Clean up after yourself. Your hosts are not your housekeepers. Make your bed, load your own dishes in the dishwasher (or offer to clear the table one night), turn the light out when you leave the room, keep the powder room you are using neat and tidy. Keep your things in one place.
Ask to lend a hand when you see your hosts’ straightening. There is nothing worse than following guests around the house, picking up after them. Remember, you want to be invited back, not talked about after you leave.
Your Hosts are Not You Babysitters. If your children will be traveling with you, and you will need sitting services, make the appropriate arrangements before arriving at your hosts’ home. Don’t expect them, or their children, to watch and entertain your kids. Set expectations with your children, before you travel, about minding their manners and being neat.
And finally, these two go without saying ~ bring a gift when you arrive and a send thank you note after your departure.
Here are some gift ideas to bring to your hosts.
Personalized Wine Bottles. Nothing says thank you like taking the time to personalize a gift for your hosts. Source: Swanson Vineyards.
Candles make great gifts. They are practical, yet you can selected from thousands of aromas to compliment the tastes of your hosts. Source: Votivo.
Cocktail Glass Set. For your friends that imbibe from time to time, these Mr. and Mrs. Cocktail glasses make for a super stylish gift. Source: Furbish.
Personalized Guest Towels. A hostess can never have enough guest towels when entertaining. Why not personalize them to match his/her home decor. Source: Horchow.
And here are two cute choices for thank you cards to say “Merci!” I just purchased these Bella Pilar Fuschia Fashion Girl Note Cards from Papyrus and have just about used the entire box. And, I can’t wait to purchase and use these Leopard Print Foldover Notecards from Effie’s Paper.
So there you have it ~ Gracious Guest 101. Following these simple rules, and you’ll surely receive an invitation to visit again. Final thought, make sure you reciprocate. Don’t forget to invite your hosts to spend time at your home.
~ The Pretty Domestic