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Guest Etiquette…How to get invited back!

August 17, 2010
Sunrise in Paradise
Image by shashchatter via Flickr

August is one of the most popular vacation months of the year. For many people, vacation includes spending treasured time visiting friends and relatives around the country and around the world. It’s important to apply protocol and etiquette rules to being an outstanding house guest.  It will ensure that both you and your hosts will enjoy your visit.

I’d like to thank our fabulous MV hosts who live their lives abundantly. Dennis and I appreciated being invited to the beautiful new house.  We loved adding more memorable moments to our list of good times with them. We had a blast playing Sequence. We met some really cool people on the MV beaches and we thank the Spelman crew for their hospitality during the DC Housewives launch.  What a great time and what great material for this week’s blog.  When you are invited to someone’s temporary home in the Vineyard, the Hamptons, Hilton Head, Outterback, Jersey Shore, etc., it’s not like going to a hotel.  Here are some guest etiquette tips you should consider and please add any that we may have left out or that are unique to your home.

  1. Confirm and then re-confirm. Get directions (both the text and the subtext).
  2. Discuss the itinerary and any plans you or your host or that you may have in mind.
  3. Give the “hostess” a gift. Even when staying just one night, always present your host with a gift. Good gift ideas include attractively wrapped kitchen tools, a book, candles, a relevant collectible your host will treasure, and specialty food and wine they will enjoy. The main criteria should be that it be something your host will appreciate.
  4. Make yourself useful. Offer to help with meal preparation, dishes, and other chores as though you were a member of the household. Do not expect your hosts to wait on you hand and foot throughout your stay. A nice gesture during an extended stay is to treat your hosts to dinner at a nice restaurant or cook them dinner at home one evening.
  5. Bring your own stuff. Shower gel, sheets, lotion, towels including beach towels. Ask permission to use any item in the house. Leave money for any charges you may have incurred or anything you exhausted during your stay. Be sensitive to whatever guidelines your hosts may have for the use of all items and space in their home.
  6. Be grateful and flexible about foods and eating times. Except for medical and religious restrictions, avoid dictating meal times and what your hosts serve. If you do have food restrictions, let your hosts know with a simple note prior to your arrival and bring these items with you.
  7. Go with the flow of the group. If everybody in the house agrees to go clubbing, even if you can’t dance, you should go too.  Also—be prompt!  Do not always be the one to keep everyone waiting for you to get ready.
  8. Keep your room tidy and cleanup behind yourself. Whether your host is renting or using their Aunt’s shiny new home, be cognizant and conscientious. Exercise your best home training. Make your bed each day, keep your belongings put away, and leave the room or sleeping area in neat order at all times. Because guest spaces are often used by the family for other purposes, leave your door slightly ajar when not in the room, so that your hosts can access the room as necessary.
  9. Be especially meticulous in the bathroom. Never leave the bathroom in a mess. Remember other guests have to use the facilities behind you. Take care to wipe the sink/shower and hang up your towels. Guys, remember to put the seat down!
  10. Leave everything the way it was when you arrived. Clean the trash basket, strip the bed, and leave the space ready for the next guest. The day you leave… strip the bed, place all soiled linens and towels neatly in pillow cases, and set the cases near the laundry facilities. Re-cover the bed with the bedspread so it will look fresh until the next guest arrives. Finally, check the space to be sure you haven’t left any personal items behind

The most important tip of all, Be grateful, and let your hosts know. Send a thank you note to your hosts upon your return home. Reciprocate in-kind whenever possible, by inviting your hosts for a visit. When you make yourself an outstanding guest, you may get an invite again next year.  Shout out to the Riverton crew and all  “Black Dog” lovers everywhere!

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 4, 2013 1:17 AM

    Having read this I thought it was very informative.
    I appreciate you spending some time and effort to put this informative article together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and commenting.
    But so what, it was still worth it!

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