The care-free days of summer are here. Entertaining is less formal but more frequent. Friends and family travel to visit one another and stay for a few days. This should be fun and stress free for everyone. Like you, I want to be remembered as both a gracious guest and a gracious host.
The goal of overnight guests should be quite simply to be invited back. Thoughtfulness and a little planning will ensure your host enjoys your stay with them and looks forward to your next visit. A few pointers to being a welcomed guest:
* Before you leave home discuss with your host exactly how long you will be staying. They shouldn’t have to guess or ask when you’re leaving.
* Arrive with a useful gift for your host. Specialty food or wines from your area are all lovely gifts. If you know the taste of your host then CDs or books are usually appreciated. If you’re visiting a cottage take something practical like beach towels. A gift for the children, especially if they are vacating their bedroom for you, is always appropriate.
* Bring your own sunscreen and basic supplies. It’s OK to ask if you’ve forgotten something but your host shouldn’t have to supply your toiletries.
* If you’re travelling with children bring a few of their favourite toys and books. If they are going through a will- only-eat-KD-and-grape-juice stage then bring those along too. Your host shouldn’t have to cater to picky eaters. If you have dietary restrictions then your host should be aware before your arrival.
* Pitch in with household chores. You’re not staying at a hotel. That also means no wet towels on the bathroom floor or items strewn around their home.
* Be independent. Your host may want to show you the local sights but don’t automatically expect them to be chauffeurs or tour guides.
* Once you’ve returned home send your host a hand-written thank you note. Is an email thank you OK? Yes, it’s OK, but a gracious guest is more than OK. The hand-written note emphasizes your thoughtfulness and is a remembered gesture. This is also a great opportunity to teach children how to express their appreciation.
Next time: Host Strategies