Tuesday, June 9, 2009

House Guest Etiquette

Many years ago, several of my family members decided to take a road trip to visit relatives in Odessa, Texas. These Texans always roll out the red carpet for us and this trip was no exception. With the struggles many have had with the economy, I have heard of several families visiting relatives and making it their summer vacation just as we did several years ago.  For those of you who will be house guests this summer, here are a few things to think about when staying at someone else's home. 

  1. Keep in mind that this is not a hotel.  Bring your own toiletries. 
  2. Not everyone loves your pet like you do.  Don't even ask if you can bring Spot.  Find a nice kennel for him. 
  3. Don't show up unannounced. If you are going to be earlier or later than your scheduled arrival time,  phone ahead.  Your hosts could be out shopping or cleaning.  
  4. This is not the time to take a long hot shower.  Be considerate and keep showers short, turn off lights when you leave the room, turn off television and other electronics.
  5. Depending on how long you are staying, bring a gift.  The longer the stay, the more personal the present.  You could always send something after you return home.
  6. Treat your hosts to dinner.  Either take them out or offer to purchase the groceries and cook the meal in the home.  When my family went to visit our relatives in Texas, I cooked a “Derby” meal for my cousins.  Another night they treated us to their version of Tortilla Soup.  To this day, I am asked for the soup recipe every time I serve it at a dinner party.
  7. Pick up after yourself.  It would be nice for you to help sweep floors, wash dishes, make your bed every morning, etc.
  8. Be “financially sensitive.”  Don’t expect the host to pay for all dinners, movies, or any expenses on an outing. 
  9. Pack everything you will need, don’t borrow things. 
  10. Keep the hosts informed of your daily plans.  If you won’t be back for dinner, tell them in advance.
  11. When getting ready to head back home, ask the hosts if you should strip the bed or leave it unmade.  If you strip the bed, fold the sheets and blankets and place them at the foot of the bed.
  12. Don’t forget to invite your hosts to stay at your home in the future.  

My family has not only stayed with the Texans, but with my aunt and uncle in California, a friend in Walnut Creek, friends in Maryland, Mississippi, and New York.  Vacationing with family and friends is a wonderful way to reconnect, see the sights with the locals, save on hotel expenses, and share your vacation with others.  

Safe Travels,