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Golden Rules for Houseguests

PostedDecember 12, 2017

The arrival of December marks the beginning of houseguest season and staying with family or friends can be a great way to save money, right? However, no matter how closely you’re related; whether you’re being hosted by your brother, a distant relative, or the friend of a friend; your role in playing the perfect guest should be to ensure the host would invite you to return again and again.

Thing is, a good houseguest can be a pleasant addition to the family for a few days, while a bad one can cause unwelcome tension at an already busy time of year. Your goal should be to cause as little disruption as possible. So, if you want to shine as an exceptional and always welcome guest when staying with people not in the business of running a bed and breakfast, you may want to add a trick or two to your travelling bag.

We have a few tips on how to be a top-notch guest this holiday:

  • Lock down your visiting dates in advance with your hosts… at their invitation. Make sure to provide dates for arrival and departure. (Trust me, she doesn’t really want you to stay as long as you like!) Be respectful. If you would like to visit for a week but suspect that your host could only handle a three-day visit, stay with someone else for the second half of your trip. A wise woman once said, “A houseguest is like fish, after three days they start to smell!”
  • Arrive with a gift. Your hosts have gone out of their way to prepare for your arrival – cleaning the house, making the beds, hiding their naughtiness – so the least you can do is to arrive with a gift to show your gratitude.
  • House rules rule. Is it okay to put the silverware in the dishwasher? Best to ask before you step on any toes.
  • Buy groceries. It’s rude to eat your hosts out of house and home. Once you’re settled, schedule time to pick up some favourite foods and fridge essentials.
  • Be appropriate. Always bring a robe. No walking down the hall with just a towel after a shower or having breakfast in your nightie – be on the side of modesty, always.
  • Be as tidy as possible. Always be on the side of caution, you don’t want to be known as the messy houseguest!
  • Always offer to help. Set the table, help with the dishes or take the pooch for a walk. Even if your host refuses the gesture to be polite, it’s the thought that counts. Tasks you should do automatically: Clearing your dishes after you’ve finished eating and filling up the tank after you’ve borrowed the car.
  • Conserve linens and towels. A good host will provide a towel or two, if you need more bring your own.
  • Stay off electronic devices. Talking while glancing at a screen looks adolescent and ill-mannered.
  • Give the host some personal space. Although your host will be happy to see you (hopefully!) they don’t necessarily want to spend every minute of every day with you. Explore the town or go for a walk.
  • Strip the bed when you leave and place the folded bedding on the bed.
  • Thank your host for the stay by leaving a small gift and a handwritten thank-you note on your departure.

Being the perfect houseguest calls for a little extra sensitivity and awareness; never get so comfortable that you treat someone else’s house like your own. Happy holidays!



DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is for educational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing symptoms or need health advice, please consult a healthcare professional.