visit en-US 11 Simple Rules of Excellent Houseguest Etiquette <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/11-simple-rules-of-excellent-houseguest-etiquette" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Friends at home" title="Friends at home" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Last week I provided tips on <a href=" ">how to be the best host</a> to overnight guests that you can be. Of course, every great host needs a great houseguest.</p> <p>Think you have what it takes to get invited back again and again? Perhaps you do &mdash; but only if you&rsquo;re following these nonnegotiable rules of houseguest etiquette.</p> <h3>1. Arrive With a Gift</h3> <p>Your hosts have gone out of their way to prepare for your arrival &mdash; cleaning the house, making the beds, hiding their naughtiness &mdash; so the least you can do is arrive with a gift to show your gratitude. A bottle of wine is perfectly fine (and probably preferred), but you should know your audience before gifting booze. It&rsquo;s embarrassing to give a bottle of alcohol to a recovering alcoholic. If you&rsquo;re unsure of the hosts&rsquo; imbibing status, opt for something non-offensive like a basket of pastas and sauces or a sampler of jams. (See also: <a href="">5 Classy&nbsp;Gift Ideas for Any Time of Year</a>)</p> <h3>2. Buy Your Own Groceries</h3> <p>When I&rsquo;m staying with friends or family, I buy my own groceries for two reasons: 1) I&rsquo;m a picky eater, so it&rsquo;s unlikely that they&rsquo;ll have much that I like, and 2) It&rsquo;s rude to eat your guests out of house and home. Once you&rsquo;re settled, ask where the nearest market is. Schedule some time to stop by and pick up your favorite foods and fridge essentials, like bacon, eggs, bread, lunchmeat, etc. Not only will you save money because you won&rsquo;t have to eat out every meal, but your hosts will appreciate the gesture &mdash; especially when you&rsquo;re gone and the leftovers are all theirs.</p> <h3>3. Conserve Linens and Towels</h3> <p>At home, I use only one towel a week. When I&rsquo;m done drying off after a shower, I hang it on the back of the bathroom door so it can dry properly. When I&rsquo;m traveling, I do the same. A good host will provide you with a towel or two, which is plenty, so don&rsquo;t abuse it. If you think you&rsquo;ll need more towels, plan ahead; pack a towel of your own so you can have what you need. As beach towels go, I always pack one from home. I can&rsquo;t be sure that my hosts will have the kind of beach towel I like, so it&rsquo;s best to come prepared.</p> <h3>4. Ask About House Rules</h3> <p>When guests come to my home I have three rules: 1) Don&rsquo;t get locked up, 2) Don&rsquo;t get locked out, and 3) Don&rsquo;t burn the place down. Otherwise, my guests are free to come and go as they please and make themselves at home. However, not every host is as lax as I am. Some don&rsquo;t want you making a frozen pizza at 3 a.m. on a Sunday night when you&rsquo;ve just come home from the bar. To avoid offending your hosts, ask about general policies and rules. Should the door be locked when you leave? Is it OK to put silverware in the dishwasher? Would you like me to let the dog out if you&rsquo;re not home? Most people have certain ways they like and do things, so it&rsquo;s best to ask before you step on any toes.</p> <h3>5. Give the Host Personal Space</h3> <p>While your hosts are happy to see you (hopefully), they don&rsquo;t want to spend every minute of every day with you. Respect that. Ask them all about their lovely city, but plan to do most things by yourself or with whom you&rsquo;re traveling. It&rsquo;s certainly OK to invite your hosts to join you on your excursions, but don&rsquo;t expect it. Chances are they have to work and other obligations to tend to during all or part of your stay &mdash; you&rsquo;re on vacation; they&rsquo;re not &mdash; so don&rsquo;t be bummed out if they&rsquo;re not available. Personally, I enjoy the time alone to explore a new place &mdash; nobody nagging about how much walking they have to do, nobody complaining about how hot it is, and nobody interrupting your afternoon because they MUST find a gym to fit in a midday run. I won&rsquo;t name the person who&rsquo;s guilty of that last one, but I might be married to him.</p> <h3>6. Lend a Hand Where Necessary</h3> <p>Is your host slaving away in the kitchen preparing a delicious feast? Ask if he or she needs a hand. Does the dog need a walk? Volunteer to take the pooch for a stroll. Does somebody need to go on a beer run? Offer your excellent (and sober) driving skills to accomplish the task. Whatever the case, let your guests know that you&rsquo;re happy to help out where you can. They might say no the first or second time out of politeness, but eventually they&rsquo;ll want to pawn off some of their chores on you. And you should be happy about it &mdash; because you could be spending an arm and a leg for a hotel, but you&rsquo;re not.</p> <h3>7. Keep Common Areas Clean</h3> <p>My biggest pet peeve when hosting guests is crumbs on the counter. It drives me bonkers. Mind your Ps and Qs when staying with friends and family. Whatever you would do in your own home, don&rsquo;t do it at your hosts&rsquo; home. Put the toilet seat down. Wash your dishes by hand or put them in the dishwasher. Make the bed. Turn out the lights when you leave a room. There&rsquo;s nothing worse than following guests around the house, picking up after them. Your hosts probably won&rsquo;t say anything to you regarding your messiness or lack of consideration, but you can be sure that you won&rsquo;t be invited back because of it.</p> <h3>8. Treat the Hosts to a Nice Meal</h3> <p>If you&rsquo;re a whiz in the kitchen, prepare your signature dish (and wash the dishes afterward). If you&rsquo;re not so hot at culinary art, ask your hosts what their favorite restaurant is and treat them to a nice meal. This is a time when you can all be at the same place at the same time to catch up. Conflicting schedules considered, this might be the only chance you have.</p> <h3>9. Strip Your Bed Upon Departure</h3> <p>Do your hosts a favor and strip the linens and place everything &mdash; including your dirty towels &mdash; in a pile. It&rsquo;ll save them a few minutes of work when they have to spend an hour or so washing, drying, and remaking the bed. However, I would ask the hosts if they&rsquo;d like you to do this first. Some hosts don&rsquo;t want you removing the linens because they don&rsquo;t want you to see the completely normal and acceptable stains (sweat, urine, etc.) on the mattress and pillows. Because, even though these stains and normal and acceptable (are you going to buy a new mattress every time your dog pees on it? I don&rsquo;t think so.), it may cause the host unnecessary embarrassment &mdash; and you definitely don&rsquo;t want to do that.</p> <h3>10. Leave a Parting Gift</h3> <p>During your stay you should&rsquo;ve gotten a good sense of what your hosts want, like, or need. Use this information to purchase a small parting gift that shows your gratitude and decency as a human being. The last time I stayed with friends, I left a half-dozen freshly baked cookies from a great restaurant in the area. Whether they liked them or not, I don&rsquo;t know &mdash; but it&rsquo;s the thought that counts in this case.</p> <h3>11. Send a Thank-You Note</h3> <p>Once you&rsquo;ve returned home, make it a point to reach out one more time to let your hosts know how much you appreciate their hospitality. They didn&rsquo;t have to host you. They could have made up a million and one excuses why they didn&rsquo;t have room for you. That they opened their home to you says something &mdash; they wanted to host you, and you should make one lasting impression to ensure that they view you the way they should, as a <a href="">thankful</a> and appreciative guest. A quick note that expresses your gratitude will suffice &mdash; if only so you have someplace to call home next time you&rsquo;re in town.</p> <p><em>Have tips on how to be a great houseguest? Let me know in the comments below.</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">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="">Volunteer to Travel: 11 Opportunities for Free or Very Cheap Travel</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="">Dissecting &quot;Gift Guilt&quot; - When Does Receiving a Gift Make You Feel Bad?</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="">24 Tips for Having a Baby Without Going Broke</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="">How to Get Free Accommodations (and Paid Jobs) on Boats</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Lifestyle Travel etiquette family friends houseguests visit Fri, 27 May 2011 10:55:07 +0000 Mikey Rox 551132 at 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="" 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="">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="">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="">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="">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="">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="">8 Friendsgiving Hacks That&#039;ll Make Everyone Feel at Home</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="">3 Cheap and Easy Formulas for Homemade Windshield De-Icer (Plus Bonus Tips)</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="">4 Common Household Leaks You Can Fix Without a Plumber</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="">51 Uses for Coca-Cola – the Ultimate List</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