Planning to visit a friend or relative this summer? Whether you’re crashing at their adorable beach cottage or using their centrally located apartment as a base to explore a new city, there are certain rules of etiquette that every guest should follow (if you want to be invited back, that is). Here are our top ten tips for being the perfect houseguest.
1. Bring a gift
Thank your host for their hospitality with a gift. Wine, flowers, specialty foods and small items for the house are always appreciated.
2. Don't surprise them
Never assume that unannounced extras are welcome—that includes kids, pets and your pal whose plans fell through at the last minute. Make sure to clear the guest list in advance, and unless your host is a close friend or relative, it’s generally better to make other arrangements for your furry friends.
3. Keep them posted
Make sure your travel dates are convenient for your host before you book anything. And while it’s not necessary to give your host a play-by-play of your every move, it’s common courtesy to give them a general sense of your comings and goings.
4. Live by house rules
Finding out how your host likes to live—what time they wake up and go to bed, if shoes are allowed indoors, if it’s okay to let the dog out—and abiding by their rules will go a long way toward making your stay pleasant for everyone involved.
5. Respect their schedule
There’s nothing worse than a guest enjoying a long, leisurely shower right when you’re trying to get ready for work or waking up the kids at 2am after a night of partying. Remember, just because you’re on vacation, it doesn’t mean your host is, too.
6. Be helpful
Offering to help out around the house, whether it’s doing the dishes, taking out the trash or setting the table is always a good idea. Even if your offer is declined, your thoughtfulness will mean a lot to your host.
7. Clean up after yourself
If you’re sleeping in a guest room, make the bed, and if you’re in a common area, put the pillows and sheets away. Always keep the bathroom clean and tidy, and when you leave, ask your host how they’d like you to handle the linens (some people prefer to strip the bed themselves, so don’t assume).
8. Offer to contribute
You’re saving money on the hotel, so the least you can do is pitch in (unless your host objects). Stocking up on groceries, filling up the gas tank, or even offering to watch the kids so your host can relax or have a night out are all great ways to contribute.
9. Make time
You don’t want your host to feel like they’re running a hotel, so even if you’re there to sightsee, carving out quality time together is important. Offer to take them out for a nice meal or flex your cooking skills in the kitchen (just be sure to clean up after!).
10. Say thanks
Nothing says thank you like a handwritten note. While you should also verbally express your gratitude at the start and end of your visit, a note that reiterates how much you enjoyed your time together is the perfect parting touch.