When having guests for only one night, a week or even a few months, it’s always good to make them feel at home and give them the best possible experience when staying in your humble abode. The first few days are always the most impressionable, especially when someone is becoming acclimated to your home and routine.
Sometimes certain factors prevent us from being able to do all we would like for our guests, but if we have frequent guests or would like to make things extra special for someone below are some ways to make things as perfect as possible.
As a Host:
Treat it like a hotel – this is especially important for bathing and showering. Provide those mini shampoos, conditioners or soaps from a past trip you’ve taken or you can purchase sample size products from any grocery store or pharmacy, place these out for them with a clean folded towel and washcloth. If you don’t have time or can’t afford this option, let them know everything is free reign, your home is their home.
For their bedroom or sleep quarters, set up a comfortable and private space for your guests to sleep, change and go about their business. Have a nice space heater or electric fireplace for them or a high powered fan depending on the weather. If you don’t have a guest room, purchase an air mattress, futon or set up a nice place for them to sleep on one of your couches with fresh sheets and pillow cases.
Show them around the house and how to use everything when they first arrive. Give them a mini tour so they know where all the accoutrements and amenities are for their use. This means, show them where the laundry room is and how to use it, the dishware and cookware in the kitchen, how to work the shower, provide them with wifi access and anything else they may need to know or would like to use during their stay.
Cook them a nice meal or cook with them – it is always nice to have a home cooked meal at the place you are staying when you first arrive.
Make sure everything is clean and tidy – this is sort of a give in, but sometimes guests arrive unexpectedly or you have had a lot on your plate that week, you don’t have to go crazy but make sure all the toilets are flushed and the garbage pails aren’t overflowing – it doesn’t have to be pristine but no one wants to stay in another person’s mess – also, remember, often times guests will treat your home the way you treat it – if everything is a mess when they get there they are more likely to “adapt” to the environment they are living in for that time.
Spend time with your guests, connecting with your guests is key in making them feel welcomed, show them what you like but allow them to show you what they like – the time you spend together is a blending of each others worlds even if they stepped into yours for the time being.
Show them the area while they are there – for example, if you are in a woodsy area, let them know if any hiking trails nearby, if you are in a city, take them to a place you really enjoy going to, if you are by a lake or ocean, take them to the beach for the day, even if the weather isn’t great it’s always nice to walk along the water and see the surrounding environment.
There are many ways to make your guests feel at home while staying with you. I would say the absolute most important is welcoming them into your home as if everything in it was theirs while allowing them to be themselves. If giving them complete freedom makes you uncomfortable, then make sure you provide them with everything they want and need, within your means to do so. Living with another temporarily doesn’t require rules and regulations – only vocalize them if your guest asks.
As a guest:
It seems self explanatory but be respectful of other peoples belongings and space. I wouldn’t say treat it like your own if you treat your things poorly, but treat things in a way that doesn’t break, destroy, ruin or create unnecessary hardship or messes for other people to clean up. Clutter is one thing but creating a lot of extra work for your host is not only rude it shows a lack of appreciation. Additionally, if you are unsure of something, ask! Most hosts want you to feel good and welcomed in their home and will most likely offer to help in any way they can.
As someone who has been both a guest and who has entertained guests (while living on a tight budget in a small studio apartment), these are some of the things I would have liked provided to me and that I would have loved to be able to provide for my company.