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hat on a guest room bed

Being a good houseguest takes effort, like hosting guests in your own home. Here are 10 ways to be a respectful guest in someone’s home when away from your own.

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Many articles have been written about being a good host and how to make your home welcoming to guests but I’m here to give you bit of a different perspective: how to be a good guest in someone else’s home. We’ve all heard those stories about horrible houseguests – make sure the next story isn’t about YOU!

1. Stay less than a week

There’s a saying that goes ‘Like fish, houseguests start to smell after 3 days’. No matter how close of a family member or friend you are it’s important to limit your stay to a few quality days. Let your hosts know of your arrival and departure dates beforehand.

2. Observe the rules of the house

This is their home and therefore they make the rules – take off your shoes, no smoking in the house, no swearing, etc. This is extra important if they have kids because you need to be an example. And ALWAYS ask before eating anything from the fridge or using their phone!

3. Follow your host’s lead

When staying in someone’s home it’s best to go to sleep and rise around the same times as they do. They don’t want to be waiting around for hours for you to wake, or to hear you still awake as they’re trying to fall asleep. If you must sleep on a different schedule make sure you are quiet while they are sleeping.

4. Don’t impose your lifestyle on your hosts

If you have different dietary needs from your hosts bring and make your own meals and snacks. Planning on attending an event or religious service during your stay? Find your own transportation and while you may extend an invitation for them to join you, certainly don’t push them to accept.

honey intolerant houseguest illustration

5. Bring your own toiletries

You are not staying in a hotel. Toiletries will generally not be available for you to use. Bring soap, shampoo, razors, and whatever else you will need during your stay. If you do happen to forget something and can’t get to a drugstore make sure you ask before borrowing and replace their product as soon as possible.

6. Be helpful

Even if your hosts insist otherwise help out around the house, clean up after meals, make a meal or at least buy some groceries. Pick up your own messes and do your own dishes and laundry. That is non-negotiable!

7. Don’t assume your portion of your hosts’ time

While most hosts are more than happy to show you their town and spend a lot of time with their guests, they need some time to themselves too. Plan to do some exploring on your own. Do keep your hosts posted of your comings and goings however so they aren’t wondering where you are.

8. Respect your hosts’ privacy

It should go without saying that while in someone’s home you do not snoop through their belongings, no matter how tempted you may be! Unless specifically allocated to you by your hosts all closets, cupboards, and medicine cabinets are off limits.

9. Find ways to say thank you

Upon your arrival bring a bottle of wine, a bouquet of flowers, or something homemade to get you off on the right foot. Say a heartfelt thank you when you leave and send a personalized note of thanks after you return home.

10. Reciprocate your host’s generosity when the time comes

It’s only fair to host them if they have hosted you. If you are unable to offer them a place to stay due to space restrictions or some other barrier help them find acceptable accommodations in your town and host them for a few meals.

Respectful relations

Staying with friends and family is a great way to catch up with them – and save some money while travelling. Just make sure to keep it respectful so you are invited back!

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Erika Palmer

Erika Palmer is a Mom and freelance writer located in Beautiful British Columbia. She is currently working hard to create a home for her new family and is stumbling hilariously down the road to becoming a domestic goddess. In addition to her love of family, and reading and writing, she enjoys exploring new interests with friends, shopping for just about anything, and cuddling up with a great cup of tea and some sort of chocolate treat.