“Hospitality is making your guests feel at home, even if you wish they were”
Hosting guests (even if they’re not staying with you) can be stressful. But, you don’t want the stress to take all of the fun out of the visit.
In order to have a stress-free visit, preparation is key…
Guest Preparation 101
Interview Your Soon-to-Be-Guests.
This does not mean that you need to bombard them with hundreds of questions. Just try to get a feel for what they are wanting to do. This way you’ll be better prepared and their visit will be more enjoyable. After all, it’s all about them! Here’s a few questions you may want to ask:
- How long are you planning on staying?
- Will you be staying with us OR do you need us to recommend some hotels?
- How many people will be joining you? You’ll be able to ready enough beds if need be.
- How will you get here? Do we need to arrange to pick you up from the airport OR be there when you get to the house?
- Are y’all wanting to see the sights OR are you trying to just relax and catch up?
This is a very obvious question, but when it comes to family, sometimes they really just want to hang out with you.
- Do you want to go out to eat OR do you want to eat some meals at the house? Maybe both? This will let you know if you need to stock your fridge or make dinner reservations.
Make a Plan
Once you have all the information you need, you’ll be able to make a plan of action. Here’s what to include in your plan:
- If they want to dine out, create a list of recommended restaurants that you know the guests will love! Keep in mind allergies, people’s tastes and budgets when choosing these restaurants.
- If they want to eat in, come up with a menu and a grocery list. Once again, be mindful of allergies and what people like to eat. Even if they want to go out to eat, I still keep snacks, quick breakfast items and lunch food in the pantry and fridge.
- If they want to see the sights, look up local events and put them on the calendar. Also, create a list of different things to do around the town. There may be historic landmarks or just beautiful neighborhoods your guests might find fascinating. If they have kids, try to find some kid friendly things to do. They will definitely be grateful!
- If they’ll be staying with you, figure out where everyone will be sleeping. This can be difficult if you have a small home, but there’s always a way to find some more room. Consider air mattresses, cots, couches and sleeping bags (might be fun for the kiddos).
Clean, Clean & Clean
If you’re anything like me, then you can’t stand for someone to see your house in disarray. It just really sends the wrong message. So, clean the house. You don’t have to do it right before they get there. You can create a cleaning schedule like the one here.
TIP: Think about the small touches. Maybe add some airy candles to the house (nothing too overwhelming) or some pictures of your guests — unless you’re not close because then it could be kind of creepy!
Think Like Your Guests
Sometimes you just have to think like your guests do. I know when my in-laws came to visit I wasn’t prepared enough which left me feeling pretty anxiety-ridden. I should’ve thought about what they might need. Here’s a few things to keep in mind:
- Missing toiletries. It happens to us all. We forget our toothbrush, hair brush, deodorant and more. If they’re staying at a hotel, most of the time those will be complimentary, but if they’re at your house, they may feel awkward asking you if you have a spare. Before your guests arrive, swing by the Dollar Tree to pick up a few things. You can get 5 toothbrushes for only $1! Not a bad deal at all. Have all of these things laid out in the bathroom or guest room for them or mention that you have extras. It will make them feel right at home.
- Towels, blankets and pillows – oh my! Some people get cold, some people get hot. There’s really no way of keeping the temperature to everyone’s liking. So, supply extra blankets and pillows to your guests so they won’t be freezing their butts off in the middle of the night. Also, don’t just give them one gigantic comforter. They may have a heat stroke in the middle of the night.
- Electronics & Internet. Yes, electronics are a must to think about now days. Will they need to borrow a charger? Do you have their right charger? Etc. etc. etc. I’m not saying to go out and buy a charger to fit their phones, but let them know you have extra chargers if they need to borrow them. Or let them know how to use the TV. Maybe even display your WiFi password nicely – you can find tons of cute ways of doing this on Pinterest.
Take Care of Your Own Personal Agenda
While it would be great to completely abandon all of our responsibilities to entertain, it’s just not possible. However, you don’t want to be so consumed with your life that you’re not able to really host your guests. So, you find a happy medium. If guests are coming for a short trip, try your best to block off the weekend on your calendar. If it’s just not possible, let them know ahead of time that there will be a few things that you’ll have to take care of while they are visiting. They’ll understand or they’ll choose a different date.
If your guests are going to be visiting for an extended period of time, then you’ll need to let them know how you operate:
- What time you get up and go into work
- What time you get home from work
- What time you go to bed
- What appointments you have during the week
- How you take care of your pets
- When you eat
- How often you go out
- And more!
If they’re a good guest, then they’ll understand why you can’t constantly cater to them.