Experience matters to almost everyone and leaves a lasting impression. This involves the atmosphere in someone’s house whether as a guest or a host.
Being invited to stay in someone’s home, and likewise offering such an invitation, can be nerve-wracking for all parties involved. With the minefield of etiquette to navigate, in this guide, here are tips on how to be both a great host and be able to reciprocate kindness as a house guest.
This stage is leading up to the actual stay. It begins when the host invites the guest to stay at their home temporarily. In the event your invitation wasn’t accepted, don’t take it personally because not everyone feels comfortable staying in another person’s home, maybe due to factors such as pet allergies or dietary issues.
Should your invitation be accepted, here are some steps worth taking to make the stay comfortable for both you and your guest.
When you’re the Host:
Start by calling or sending an email to the guest to let them know how happy you are that they’ve decided to stay with you. In the message, request information from them such as any scheduled meetings or places they need to go as it can help to ensure your plans don’t disrupt their stay and you can help to work around their schedule.
Pre-Arrival DOs and DON’Ts:
- DO ask if they have any allergies, you should be aware of.
- DO request a list of some of their favourite foods or beverages.
- DO ask for their arrival information and coordinate travel from the arrival point to your home.
- DO share your schedule and availability, so that guests can be prepared to occupy themselves if needed.
- DO share the plan for meals, such as timing, cooking and eating out.
- DON’T overwhelm them with information; keep details high level.
- DON’T provide a long list of rules or expectations; if you are unable to be flexible with guests about many things in your home, if you do, then hosting might not be for you.
- Plan meals and go grocery shopping and ensure you pick up any food or beverages they mentioned they enjoy.
- Clean and sanitize the room they will be staying in.
- Clean the entire house too!
When you’re the Guest:
As the guest, your role is to be polite and always remember that you have been graciously invited to stay at someone else’s home. Therefore, even if you have your scheduled agenda, it becomes your duty not to interfere with your host’s lifestyle and schedule. It is a good idea to provide your host with a copy of your itinerary so they can plan to accommodate your schedule. Another good idea is to purchase a host gift for your host before you leave home. This way you can make the gift more meaningful by getting them something they may not be able to find in their region, or something that is personal and representative of you or the place you live.
Offer guests something to snack on and a drink, and provide them with a tour of your home if they haven’t been there before. Show them the room they will stay in, where the bathroom is, and any information they need such as the fridge with an offer to help themselves, how to operate the alarm keypad and where the keys are if you will be lending them a car during their stay.
If they have travelled from another time zone, it is likely they may be jet-lagged. If this is the case, invite them to go to bed at their leisure or take a nap if it’s too early to retire for the night.
During the stay:
When you arrive and meet your host, put your bags away immediately and neatly in the room you’ll be staying in. If they are preparing a meal, offer assistance, but don’t push if they say no. You can always help later in such ways as clearing dishes off the table or contributing by loading the dishwasher. Before bed, ask them about any routines and what time they usually wake up so you can set an alarm. By the end of the first evening, present them with a host gift.
As the host, it is important to make your guest feel welcomed. Continually remind them to treat your home as their own and help themselves to anything they like such as snacks or beverages. A good house guest will still avoid opening your cupboards or the fridge, so it’s a good plan to continually offer them food or a drink if you think they might be famished or parched.
- Avoid going into the room they will be residing in. For the time being, that is their room. Knock if you need something.
- Prepare meals according to their liking. Ask before cooking if they enjoy the dish you plan to make and be sure to let them rest, even if they offer to help.
- When leaving home either for work or to go to a store, ask if they need anything and offer to pick it up.
- While in the presence of your guest, minimize your screen time.
- Be sure never to post anything unflattering about your guest on social media.
- Don’t expect your host to cater to you, entertain you, or change their lifestyle for you. Adapt to their routine as much as possible,
- Be respectful of their property.
- Be sure to keep your room neat and tidy.
- If you are sleeping on a makeshift bed such as a futon or hide-a-bed, be sure to fold it up every morning into a sitting position if it’s in the way.
- Be sure to clean the washroom after each use.
- Whenever meals are being prepared, dishes are being cleaned, or the house is being given a once-over, ask if you can help.
- Remember that your host has a life of their own, so if they appear to be busy, pick up a magazine or take a walk.
Etiquette is not old-school or overrated. It helps both the host and the guest to enjoy the home experience.
Do you have any question or comment? Do share with us in the comment section.