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The How-To Lounge: Being a Good House Guest

When you travel to visit friends or family, some people opt to skip out on the pricey hotel room and shack up with their loved ones. While some people enjoy being the hostess with the mostess, others cringe at the idea of having house guests so here are some good pointers on how to be a respectable house guest.

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  • It's always a nice gesture to bring a small gift when you're a house guest. A candle, flowers, a nice bottle of wine, a cookbook, home baked bread, etc.
  • The most important rule to keep in mind is don't over stay your welcome. As a rule of thumb, aim for a three day visit or less and arrive when you say you will arrive, and leave when you plan to leave. Even if you are adamant about your host pretending you aren't there, they will still feel obligated to entertain you
  • Try to just go with the flow. You might have your own routine at home, but while you're a guest, try to adapt with your host's routine for the sake of being flexible. If they like to have coffee at 9 instead of 8, deal with it!
  • Stay as neat as possible and always make your bed. You don't want your host to feel like they need to be your maid -- their home isn't a hotel after all!
  • If you are dining in, offer to help with the cooking, set the table, help with the dishes, etc. If you are doing a lot of eating out, offer to treat your host to at least one of the meals
  • Make sure to bring something to keep you occupied in case you have unexpected down time. A book, some work, your own computer, etc.
  • Always bring your own toiletries. It's normal to forget things, but don't rely on your host having lotion and shampoo for you to use, try to remember your own products
  • Before you leave, strip your bed and even throw in a load of laundry if you have the time. Remember to leave your area as neat and clean as it was when you arrived

Being a house guest can be really fun, a time for old friends to catch up and act like teenagers again, but if you are on vacation and your host has to work, be respectful of their downtime and bed time. Happy and safe travels!


Join The Conversation
SugarCat SugarCat 9 years
I think this is a great article. And, I am proud to say I adhered to most all of the rules when I stayed with my friend a couple of weekends ago, and will improve on it this weekend when I stay with her again!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
good tips - i love the 3 day limit. any longer and it gets to be annoying and i miss my alone time!
c0rkie c0rkie 9 years
my friend needs to read this lol
Lill-McGill Lill-McGill 9 years
Great tips! :D Know what you mean nicachica, some people can really drain you!
Marci Marci 9 years
All excellent tips, and most of our guests have been good about all of those things. But we've had people stay with us for a week and not so much as buy us a cup of coffee. They just never go into their wallets. They don't get invited back.
Curious-Alice Curious-Alice 9 years
Excellent advice, I always make it a point to bring a gift for the people we are staying with, just to let them know how much we appreciate their kindness and hospitality.
Tamma1387 Tamma1387 9 years
I should print this off and tape it on my front door!
i-am-elle i-am-elle 9 years
These a great tips! This will make your stay more enjoyable for you and your host.
baconrainbow baconrainbow 9 years
Those tips are quite useful for houseguests who may be unsure of the proper etiquette. It is of extreme importance that you treat the host's home with respect. No loud sex, no mess in the kitchen and always offer to help. You wil get more invitations that way, and they will return the favor when they stay with you!!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
I'd also add that this is only an option if you've been INVITED to stay in their home. People come to town and simply expect to stay at our house, and we simply do not have the room. At all.
bigestivediscuit bigestivediscuit 9 years
I usually like to leave a card or a gift when I leave as a "thank you" but if it's someone I've never stayed with before, I'll also include a little "gesture" gift upon meeting them. That being said, I got a little too comfortable last time when I was at my boyfriend's mum's house and I felt REALLY bad because I was so tired after a day of shopping with them, that I left my bags lying around her living room and she was picking up after me!!! I also had like, a half-drunken cup of tea on the side ... was definitely embarrassed and did the rest of the dishes that night. I think the most annoying thing is when people aren't AWARE of their over-staying or rude behavior ... I was totally embarrassed, but as soon as I realised what I was doing, I jumped up, apologised (though she really didn't care, as she misses picking up after people in her now empty house) and tried to make up for it as best as I could. :(
cubadog cubadog 9 years
When I lived in NYC I had so many people invite themselves not giving any thought to how big apartments are in NYC. I actually had someone get mad at me when my building did not have an elevator and I lived in the 5th floor. I had even warned them ahead of time so they wouldn't bring their entire closet with them.
misslarue misslarue 9 years
Our house is on a lake so we have TONS of guests in the summer-which we love. Most do all of these things, but we do have a few who really need to see this list! :-(
randomname12345 randomname12345 9 years
nicachica, I feel you!! I had a bad houseguest about a month ago...she OVERstayed for three weeks. Thanks DearSugar for posting this! Hopefully some of the "bad" houseguests out there will learn a thing or two for their next visit with friends and family.
nicachica nicachica 9 years
ugh, i wish these tips could have been translated into Spanish and given to our two house guests a week ago when they arrived from Mexico! thankfully they just left this morning but they were supposed to stay until Monday (they arrived last Wednesday) and instead they left today...urgh!!! well they were my mother's house guests but they ran her ragged and i helped out too but man, i couldn't stand being around these two old bitties. it was like being in the middle of those annoying church ladies who always gossiped about everyone and then watched their novelas at night. i am so happy they are GONE!!! okay so they weren't that terrible, but 7 days without paying anything is too long. my mom only did it because one of them is a good friend of my mom's sister and helped her out big time a couple of years ago. sigh...still, i'm just glad i don't have to see them again!
millarci millarci 9 years
This is good advice! I should show this list to a couple of people I know! LOL! j/k ;)
Stacey-Cakes Stacey-Cakes 9 years
Thanks for the advice. I'm staying with my boyfriend's family this weekend so these tips are super useful.
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