Visiting family and friends is fantastic. Having visitors as a military family can be so much fun!

But how to make it fantastic for everyone involved?

When staying with friends or family, there are tiers of guests and places you stay. Obviously, it’s different staying at your parents house versus staying at your in-laws versus staying with your best friends versus crashing with your old roommate or friend from work. Regardless of where you’re staying, everyone would prefer to have and be a good houseguest.

Follow these tips, and it may keep your host from hating you (you may even get to visit again)!

  • When you arrive at your accommodations, you are so excited to see everyone! Your mom is incredibly happy to see you, but she also wants you to put your crap away in your room. Be a pal and lug that grungy, germ-carrying suitcase out of the kitchen and into your childhood bedroom. Tip yourself, and enjoy the chance to be your own bellhop. Try to keep your things in your room and not spread them all through the house or apartment where you’re staying. 
  • Everyone falls on hard times. If you’ve come to stay with someone unexpectedly and are asking “for a place to crash,” ASK (not tell) how long you can stay. Update your host regularly. Don’t assume you get to stay forever. Have a back-up plan and be ready to use it in case things are not working out well. 
  • Empty your own trash. You know where those garbage cans are, right? Nobody likes taking out the trash, so this gets you extra bonus points.  
  • Take your shoes off. Just do it. 
  • Express appreciation by being proactively helpful or leaving a small gift. This doesn’t have to be an envelope of cash, although who would turn that down? It could be doing the dishes, offering to babysit, a handwritten note, giving a bottle of wine, leaving a lotion, or buying dinner one night. If you’re traveling from somewhere far away, bring something fun from your location. This can endear you to your host and shows good manners.Artisan made soaps wrapped with string in a dish
  • We are all a little bit fussy. Go with the flow as much as you can. 
  • Give your host some space. You are an amazing person, I’m sure, but we all need an occasional break from greatness. Make plans to be gone for a day or and evening to let your hosts miss you or simply putter around their house and not feel bad for wasting time playing Candy Crush. 
  • Coordinate plans with your host. You don’t have to sync your phone calendars, but it’s nice to arrange the times you’ll be hanging out with them and when you have other plans. 
  • You have a job! That’s so great! But unless previously discussed with your host, stay out of the communal living space while you’re teaching your online class, making that big deal via phone, or pacing the living room on a group call. Additionally, even if it’s not work business, most of us don’t need to hear you having a heated discussion with your lawyer or shouting at your ex while we make breakfast. 
  • If you happened to bring your pet, vacuuming your living space would be extra cool. Not required, but definitely nice. 
  • Try not to park in the absolute worst way (sorry, Dad). Park in the designated space in the driveway or road. Communicate who’s coming or going so people don’t get blocked in. 

When I had young children, I felt like it was difficult to be a good houseguest.

I was busy trying to make sure my kids didn’t break the glass tabletop, cleaning up soggy, mashed peas from the high chair, or keeping them from other mayhem.

Two young boys mopping a wood floor in a house
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

In the last few year, as they have grown, our ability to help and be contributors to where we stay has grown. I don’t have to monitor them so they get to do helpful things like sweep the floor, take the recyclables out  fold dish towels for Grandma. We are supremely grateful for getting to stay with family or close friends and want them to know it. And get invited back!

Whether you can make all these efforts or just a few, I’m sure your host will appreciate the effort and care you put into being a good houseguest. After all, wouldn’t you want the same treatment from your own guests?