Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Happy Houseguests

Watercolor by Inslee Haynes
Hosting houseguests can be fun, but there are some simple guidelines that can make the experience more enjoyable for everyone involved.  I've received a few questions from friends recently, so whether you're the host or the guest, read on...

Q: Do I need to give up my bed for a houseguest?
A: Absolutely not. When a guest comes to stay, it's appropriate to offer them another room in the house. If you have a guest bedroom, that's will meet your needs, but in small apartments that won't necessarily be an option. If you're an urban dweller, offer your guest a cozy air mattress. Some plush blankets will make it feel just as nice as your master suite, and you can tuck the bed out of the way during the day. If this seems intrusive, hotels are also a great option. I have, in the past, booked a room for friends who came to visit, simply because my living space didn't allow for multiple sleepers. I picked up the tab for the room and I think everyone enjoyed some luxurious alone time at the end of a long day running around the city.

Q: What should I have on hand for when guests come to stay?
A: It's expected that a guest will bring their own toiletries, but think about how you might recreate a luxurious hotel experience in your home. I love the idea of keeping sample-size shampoos, soaps, and toothpaste in the guest bathroom for your friends to share. Also, make sure that you have some sleeping space and freshly-laundered sheets and blankets. Even if you're hosting a couch-surfer, nobody wants to cuddle up with used linens!

Q: What's the appropriate protocol for visiting friends? Is there a time limit to how long I can crash with them?
A: I absolutely love hosting friends, but everyone needs a little bit of alone time. Be conscious that if you book a multiple-day trip, your friend may have other commitments like work, previously booked appointments, etc. It's polite to first ask how long you can stay, but also to ensure that you're not disrupting your host's routine. Pick up after yourself and seek a little separation- Take a long morning walk to a local coffee shop or explore a museum on your own. A little bit of independence will alleviate some of the outstaying-your-welcome stress.

Q: What's the most appropriate way to thank a host for letting me stay?
A: If you've read my blog before, this will come as no surprise to you- write a heart-felt hand-written thank you note! If I've stayed with someone for multiple days, I like to leave behind a nice bottle of wine with a note, or perhaps a small trinket that I picked up on an outing during my visit. Your host will appreciate the gesture and it's an easy way to get invited back!

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