Five rules for being a good house guest

Today I’m honored to be guest posting over at Greta’s blog today as part of her Great Expectations series; I would love it if you’d go over, give a read, and let Greta know that I sent you.


Inspired by being a guest blogger, I thought I’d take this opportunity to share what I’ve learned over the years about being a good house guest. I know, I know, it’s virtually the end of summer – don’t tell our San Diego weather that, though, it’s been nearly 100F for what feels like forever! – and you might not be doing a lot more traveling right away, but Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and New Year’s Eve are all coming up and it’s good to be prepared! With that, I bring you Denise’s “Five Rules for Being a Good House Guest”:

  • Call or write your hostess at least six weeks before your arrival to ask if it’s convenient for you to stay. I don’t know about you guys but our schedule is seriously crazy around here and anything less than six weeks notice raises my stress level in a truly unpleasant way. Besides, you want her to have plenty of time to tidy and make things pretty in the guest room, don’t you?
  • Arrange for your own transportation to and from the airport. Unless your friend lives next to the airport, why subject her to the experience of visiting most airports in this day and age? Gone with the wind are the days when you could arrive casually early to sit in the arrivals lounge and indulge in some quality people watching while waiting for your friend’s flight to arrive. Last time I went to San Diego’s airport, one parking lot was under construction, the other one was full, and the cell phone lot was extra full, so I had to circle the arrivals area for 30 minutes waiting for a delayed flight. Not fun. Get a shuttle, a rental car, or – my personal favorite! – a car service.
  • Bring a small thank you gift for your hostess. This should be something small enough to pack in your suitcase – unwrapped if you’re putting it in carry on luggage – and something that you know your hostess will love. Depending on the person, any of these would be appropriate: scented soaps, scented candles, a small flowering plant (if you’re driving in ), a bottle of local wine from your home town (if she drinks), or a great new book (if you’re certain she hasn’t already read it). The idea is to show your gratitude for her hospitality without going overboard, so give it some thought.

hostess gift

  • Offer to make a meal for the family while you’re staying. If your friend isn’t comfortable having another cook in her kitchen – like me! – offer to do the washing up after meals or take everyone out for a nice meal (if that works with your budget). Having guests staying at your house can be really stressful and not having to worry about dinner or washing up for a meal or two is a real blessing.
  • Finally, keep the area that you’re sleeping in picked up and presentable. Again, it can be stressful having overnight guests and knowing that everything is tidy is another great way to show your hostess how much you appreciate her hospitality.

Hopefully none of these were new to you but perhaps they’ll help as you plan your next vacation. I myself am anxiously awaiting a vacation next month that will find me seeing several wonderful friends that I’ve met through blogging. (Don’t worry, there will be pictures and entertaining – I hope! – stories from the road!)

Do you have any upcoming vacation plans? What sort of hostess gifts have you given in the past?