How to be the Perfect Host
I recently visited family in Washington DC. My husband and I had planned on staying in a hotel, but my cousin graciously offered for us to stay with him. Since we wanted to experience the nation’s capital as locals, we accepted his offer and were fully prepared to sleep on an air mattress since he and his girlfriend had just moved into their new condo a few weeks prior to our arrival.
When we arrived at their home, we were overwhelmed by how well-prepared they were for our visit. In fact, their above-and-beyond hospitality is what inspired me to write this piece. With summer quickly approaching, people are getting ready to travel to visit friends and family. If you will be hosting visitors, here are some tips to ensure your guests are just as comfortable in your home as you are.
1. Give Your Guests a Designated Space
Even if you don’t have a guest bedroom, try to create a space specifically for your guests to put their belongings. Most people already feel like they are imposing when they stay in someone else’s home, so giving them their own space makes them feel less burdensome. Clear out some room in a closet, empty a drawer or create a space for their suitcases. It will allow your guests to spread out a bit, making them feel more comfortable and less in the way.
2. Provide Towels and Toiletries
Most guests will bring their own toiletries, but unlike a hotel stay, they won’t have an on-demand concierge service. Some guests may feel obnoxious asking to use or borrow everyday items such as toothpaste, makeup remover wipes, or ibuprofen. Try to stock up on travel-sized items whenever you can and store them in the guest’s area for easy access. Keep bottled water next to their bed. They may not need any of the items, but it is a thoughtful touch that not everyone thinks of. Also make sure to provide clean towels, as those are not usually something your friends or family will travel with.
3. Keep Allergies in Mind
I love cats and dogs. In fact, I own a big slobbery boxer of my own. Unfortunately, I am extremely allergic to cats and some dog breeds. There have been times when I’ve arrived at a friend’s house and have been unable to stay the night because they had a cat that I didn’t know about. If you have a pet and are uncertain about your guests’ allergies, make a point to disclose it to them so that they have time to make alternate arrangements if necessary. It will help avoid a potentially awkward situation!
4. Give Your Guests the Opportunity for some Private Time
Unless your guests have a designated guest bedroom with its own bathroom, make a point to get out of their way for 20-30 minutes each day so they can use the shower, make a phone call, take their medication, or do whatever it is they may prefer to do in private. Whether you and your husband take a quick trip to the grocery store or bring the kids outside for some lawn games, your guests will appreciate it.
5. Provide Extra Blankets and Pillows
This one is simple, and you likely already have extra blankets and pillows on hand. Some people run hot, and some run cool. Some prefer to sleep propped up with lots of pillows and some prefer to lie flat. Taking the extra five minutes to fold some throw blankets on the bed and fluff up some spare pillows could make a big difference for your visitor. A well-rested visitor is a happy one.
6. Ask Ahead (Food & Drink Preferences)
Unless you know your guests extremely well, try to ask ahead when it comes to food and drink preferences. If your brother’s new girlfriend happens to be a vegetarian, she’s probably going to be embarrassed if she has to turn down the roast you spent all afternoon making. My husband has a severe allergy to coconut, and we felt very awkward when we attended a cookout where our hosts were making coconut shrimp. This is a very simple thing to do, but something we often forget.
7. Make Them Comfortable
Lastly, make them feel welcome. Everyone will assume they are a burden if they are staying in your home. I know it may seem obvious but making sure to welcome your guests with a cold drink and giving them a tour of where they will be staying will help them feel at ease. Make sure they know they can help themselves to whatever is in the kitchen, share anything they need to know about how to work the TV or adjust the bedroom thermostat. I always feel more at ease when a host tells me to make myself feel at home.
Now that we’ve got those tips out of the way, enjoy spending time with your guests!