A while back I did a post on what traits a good guest has when visiting someone in another city or another country. Now, let’s examine the flip side of that. What does it take to be a kick-ass host? Here are some ideas:
Your guests should come prepared to fend for themselves, but to be a super-duper host, you should make sure that you have some resources to help them along their way. A city map, bus schedule or handy brochure listing the opening times of local attractions will help them feel grounded and reflect well on your own hospitality. When I’m on an organization kick, I try to remember to put business cards of local restaurants and other notes about cool places in an envelope so that if people come to town I have a tickler file of interesting ideas I can suggest.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re going to invite guests to your home, try to make sure it’s clean. I’m always grateful to stay at someone’s home, even if it’s just a tent in the backyard, but I’m extra happy when my bedding and personal space are clean. Linens, towels and any kitchen or bathroom surfaces that the guest will have access to should be clean and free from any embarassing clutter. (By embarassing clutter, I mostly mean that the items could be embarassing, not the fact of clutter itself–a pile of clean laundry on the couch is not embarassing, but dirty laundry is.)
Now, because I like to make time for my guests (see below) it can be hard to clear both my work schedule and my home of debris. So, strike a balance. If you spend the extra 20 minutes it would take to mop the kitchen going for a beer with your guests instead, it’s likely your guest will be just as happy as if your home were sparkling clean and you’ll certainly be happier.
It’s so much fun to have people come to visit that I often underestimate the amount of time I’ll want to spend showing them around and hanging out after all the sightseeing’s done. It’s important to make time for your guests, even if you don’t plan on being their personal guide. For many people, it’s awkward to stay at someone else’s home, but the rules of good hospitality mean that you should try to put your guests at ease as much as possible. Giving them plenty of your time helps take the edge off that awkwardness.
Additionally, it will be easier on you if you have a bit of extra time at your disposal when you have guests in town–even if you don’t spend it with them! It can be stressful to have people in your home as well as dealing with work and other responsibilites, so try to acknowledge this when you’re scheduling a guest to visit. If you can, give yourself a little free time both before the guest arrives and after they leave–it may make you a more gracious host while they’re there.
You’re not on vacation, but your guests are. So keep their visit as upbeat and positively focused as you would like your own holidays to be. Especially if your visitors are old friends, you might be tempted to complain about your work or other stresses. Complaining to friends, especially after-hours with a drink in hand, is a fun way to let down your hair and clear your own mind. But it won’t help your visitors’ trip any. So, if your visitors are in town principally to sightsee and only secondarially to see you, keep your complaints to only a few comments and let them carry the fun and excitement of their trip with them as their lasting impression of their time visiting you.
Those are my recommendations. What do you do when friends are in town? Let me know in the comments!
Hi! I’m Beth. Thanks for visiting Everyday Travel Stories, a site that celebrates all of the glorious travel opportunities on our planet.