house guests http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/7485/all en-US How to Host a Traveler: 13 Tips to Keep it Safe, Easy, and Cheap http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couch-surfer-photo.jpg" alt="couch surfer sleeping in photo" title="couch surfer sleeping in" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="168" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Here at Wise Bread, we know that couch-sharing services, such as <a href="http://www.couchsurfing.com/">Couch Surfing</a>, can save you money when traveling. We have also heard that hosting travelers through these services is a great way to meet new people, get in the spirit of travel, and even <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/your-couch-can-earn-cash-and-support-a-band">make some money</a>. As good as this sounds, many have reservations about hosting strangers in their home. After all, house guests can be frustrating, expensive, and even dangerous.</p> <p>But it doesn't have to be this way. Here are some tips to help make hosting travelers safer, easier, and even cheaper.</p> <h2>Keep it Safe</h2> <p>Letting strangers into your home is a frightening thing for many people. Here are six tips for <a href="http://www.couchsurfing.com/tips_for_hosts.html">making it safer</a>:</p> <p><strong>Start slow:</strong> You are not required to hand over the key to your home and welcome a wandering stranger with open arms. If the idea makes you uneasy, start slow and only accept invitations for coffee, dinner, or a short tour of your town. Once you have met several friendly people, you may decide that having them spend a night at your place is not such a big deal. If so, arrange to meet at a neutral location, like a cafe or the library, first. If you don't like the looks of things, politely decline your invitation.</p> <p><strong>Don't be a stranger:</strong> If socializing with a stranger makes you cringe, then do everything you can to make sure the person is not a complete stranger when you meet in person. Begin by creating a complete and detailed profile on the couch-sharing network of your choice. List your interests and favorite activities, and include something about your habits. If you get up early for work and like to turn-in with the sun, state this explicitly in your profile. If you don't like guests using your computer, say so up front.</p> <p><strong>Get more information:</strong> When requests come in, check the traveler's profile. If it raises questions, don't be afraid to ask for clarification. Ask questions and get to know the person electronically before you meet in person. Most sites also offer the ability to gather information from references and the traveler's previous hosts.</p> <p><strong>Set boundaries:</strong> Again, you are not required to hand over the keys to your home. If you don't want to leave a stranger there alone, explain that the house will only be open when you are there, and that your guest must find a way to occupy his or herself while you are out during the day. Be clear about times you will and will not be there and offer your cellphone number for emergencies.</p> <p><strong>Don't do it alone:</strong> Involving a friend can make you feel a lot more comfortable. When you go to meet your guest at a neutral location, bring a friend along for support. At the very least, let someone nearby know that you will be hosting a guest and that you may contact them in the event you begin to feel uncomfortable.</p> <p><strong>Don't be afraid to say no:</strong> If you do not feel right about the person or the process at any point, from the initial request to the second day of the visit, do not be afraid to say no.</p> <h2>Make it Easy</h2> <p>If you decide to host a traveler, everything, hopefully, will go smoothly. Unfortunately, having house guest can sometimes be a hassle. Try these five tips for making it as easy as possible:</p> <p><strong>Orient your guest:</strong> When your guest first arrives, take the time to give a tour of your home. This is a good way to show the person where everything is, but it is also a subtle way of explaining anything that might be off limits. Rather than handing your guest a list of rules, mention your restrictions as you pass by. &quot;This is my bedroom, you won't need to go in there...&quot;</p> <p><strong>Provide some basic supplies:</strong> Some people leave things like guest-sized shampoo, toothpaste, and other basic necessities in plain view, keeping their personal items stowed away, while sharing their bathroom with a guest. More important, is showing your guest where to find some basic cleaning supplies, like a broom, mop, sponge, and so on, in case they accidentally make a mess.</p> <p><strong>Give them space:</strong> Most travelers participating in home-sharing programs look forward to getting to know their hosts, so expressing in interest in spending time with your guest shouldn't be a problem. Giving them space for their things, especially if you live in an apartment, might be. Still, it is important to clear a space for their luggage and even offer a basket or some shelf space to use. This helps prevent a backpack full of dirty clothes from being emptied across your living room floor.</p> <p><strong>Encourage activity outside the house:</strong> Be ready to suggest things to do in your town. Having a map ready and a list of your favorite places to eat and hangout shows your guest that they should be out exploring, not in your house, sitting around.</p> <p><strong>Ask for a hand:</strong> Finally, don't be afraid to ask for some help around the house. Most guests are very appreciative of the effort hosts go to house them and will be happy to lend a hand.</p> <h2>Save Some Money</h2> <p>Both <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-money-while-hosting-guests">Wise Bread</a> and <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/08/09/seven-ways-to-save-money-preparing-for-houseguests/">The Simple Dollar</a> have great tips for saving money when guests are visiting. Still, hosting travelers is unique and there some special tips that can help save you money.</p> <p><strong>Buy toiletries in bulk:</strong> Specifically, toilet paper. It's the one item you can count on guests using. If you like to offer smaller items like shampoo, consider buying a large bottle at the bulk store and filling a smaller bottle before guests arrive.</p> <p><strong>Ask your guest to cook dinner:</strong> Most guests will be happy to make something from their home country. Offer your services as a &quot;prep chef&quot; to ensure they can find the things they need in your kitchen.</p> <p>Hosting a traveler is often a wonderful and enlightening experience. It allows you to learn about a new part of your country or the world and even make a new friend. Let us know how it works out in the comments.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/david-defranza">David DeFranza</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-travel-full-time-for-17000-a-year-or-less">How to Travel Full-Time for $17,000 a Year (or Less!)</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-get-free-accommodations-and-paid-jobs-on-boats">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-easy-recipes-perfect-for-the-traveling-chef">5 Easy Recipes Perfect for the Traveling Chef</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-money-lessons-from-the-third-world">5 Money Lessons From the Third World</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-you-should-donate-a-blood-sucking-timeshare">Why You Should Donate a Blood Sucking Timeshare</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Lifestyle Travel budget travel couch surfing guests house guests safety Thu, 12 Feb 2009 13:22:03 +0000 David DeFranza 2831 at http://www.wisebread.com Saving money while hosting guests http://www.wisebread.com/saving-money-while-hosting-guests <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/saving-money-while-hosting-guests" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/towels.jpg" alt="guest towels" title="guest towels" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="170" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Having just spent the last 48 hours desperately scrubbing my home from top-to-bottom in anticipation of the arrival of some house guests, I appreciated <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/2007/08/09/seven-ways-to-save-money-preparing-for-houseguests/">The Simple Dollar&#39;s</a> post this morning about how to prepare (and save money) when you are expecting overnight visitors. </p> <p>Hosting is fun, but it can be pricey. Here are some ideas for making guests feel welcome without breaking the bank.</p> <p>Some of Trent&#39;s tips:</p> <p><strong>Dine in more often</strong> - Wow, this is a big one for me. People who visit me tend to hark from small towns with lousy Chinese food, so it&#39;s tempting to take my guests out for every single meal. I mean, Seattle has a wide range of good eats, so I can easily spend a fortune showing off the culinary variety of the city. But hot damn, is that expensive. What I&#39;ve settled on is one meal out for every three meals eaten at home. I still get to show off my city&#39;s cuisine, but I don&#39;t have to hand over my first-born to the credit card companies when the visit is over. Because I don&#39;t like cooking in the summer, I just go to Trader Joe&#39;s and buy some nice cheeses, cracker, fruit, salad and wine. For $30, I can feed four people a nice, light meal.</p> <p><strong>Make a list of inexpensive local activities</strong> - This is tough in Seattle, where all the cool stuff is pricey (especially for kids). This is when taking advantage of local parks is key. Visitors who bring their dogs might be happy to see some of your local pet-friendly areas. While our museums and zoo/aquarium are ridiculously pricey, we have lots of art galleries, and of course, the local gem that is Pike Place Market. That&#39;s where I drag my guests, and no one has every complained.</p> <p><strong>Get your car ready</strong> - Gas up and inflate your tires. This kind of maintenance is key to keeping your car happy, but doing it before guests arrive also saves the hassle of trying to do it once they are actually there.</p> <p>Check out more of Trent&#39;s tips at <a href="http://www.thesimpledollar.com/">The Simple Dollar</a>.</p> <p>Some other tips for gracious-but-not-spendy hosting:</p> <ul> <li>OK, so this one is pricey, but worth it! If you, like me, don&#39;t have a lot of extra furniture for guests, inflatable air mattresses are a godsend. I shelled out over $200 for mine (it&#39;s the taller kind), but it&#39;s been a lifesaver. I don&#39;t have a couch, and no one likes sleeping on a pull-out bed anyway. It&#39;s easy to store, and most people find it really comfortable. I make a point of using a mattress protector, my best sheets, and a nice comforter on it, so it feels more luxurious than it really is.</li> <p> <li>Coffee! A lot of people drink coffee in the morning. I don&#39;t anymore, but when I used to, I remember the feeling of horror when I would wake up and realize that my guests didn&#39;t have a coffeemaker, and the nearest Starbucks was 10 miles away. Now, even though I don&#39;t drink coffee, I keep a coffeemaker in a storage closet and some good, ground beans in the freezer, where they will keep for months. It saves my guests the withdrawal headaches, and saves me the hassle of running down to Starbucks for four lattes every morning. Tea will suffice for British house guests, in my experience. Make sure to have cream on hand!</li> <p> <li>Collect some tourist maps and brochures from travel agencies, or your local chamber of commerce. These should be free, and guests often appreciate having some idea of what to do, especially if you aren&#39;t free to entertain them every day of their visit.</li> <p> <li>I like to give my guests access to my computer. I just set up a guest account so they can get online and check out whatever they need.</li> <p> <li>For guests who haven&#39;t brought their own car, a handful of bus schedules and some extra quarters can be a lifesaver. This one doesn&#39;t save you much money, but it&#39;ll make your Euro-guests happy.</li> <p> <li>I don&#39;t have a TV, but I leave interesting books (both fiction and non-fiction, often about local interest) in the guest room, just in case my visitors are bored or have trouble sleeping.</li> <p> <li>I rarely have much in my fridge, but I try to stock up on the basics when guests arrive. Milk, eggs, cheese, bread, and whatever produce is in season. If you trust your guests in your kitchen, letting them cook can help THEM save money. Plus, they might end up cooking for you. </li> <p> <li>I ALWAYS wash the guests towels before they arrive, even if they are clean. Something about summertime humidity can leave linens smelling musty, so I just throw everything through a quick cold wash and tumble dry before everyone gets there. Nice-smelling sheets and towels make people feel more at home, and it barely costs anything.</li> </ul> <p>One thing that I used to do, but don&#39;t anymore, is buy fresh flowers for each room in the house. Most of my guests prefer to buy me flowers as a thank-you fo the visit, so I just sit back and let the blooms arrive. Unless you have your own garden, cut flowers can get really pricey.</p> <p>What do Wise Bread readers do to make people feel at home when visiting?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/saving-money-while-hosting-guests">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-host-a-traveler-13-tips-to-keep-it-safe-easy-and-cheap">How to Host a Traveler: 13 Tips to Keep it Safe, Easy, and Cheap</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-good-deals-smart-steals">Book Review and Giveaway: Good Deals &amp; Smart Steals</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-summer-party-ideas-that-wont-break-the-bank">6 Summer Party Ideas That Won&#039;t Break the Bank</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/51-uses-for-coca-cola-the-ultimate-list">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pesky-pests-easy-homemade-mosquito-and-insect-traps-and-repellent">Pesky Pests: Easy Homemade Mosquito and Insect Traps and Repellent</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living dining in house guests relatives visit Thu, 09 Aug 2007 19:29:04 +0000 Andrea Karim 973 at http://www.wisebread.com