Everything You Need to Know about Being a Houseguest


Hi dear readers! We recently traveled to California to visit our family, and words can’t describe how wonderful it was to be reunited after seven months. We built sandcastles at the beach, enjoyed late afternoon lunches overlooking the ocean, and even had an early birthday celebration (complete with confetti and the ultimate vegan chocolate cake) for my husband, son and stepdad. It was a magical week!

My brother graciously hosted us in California, and so as we packed our bags to leave for our trip, I started thinking about what it means to be a good houseguest, and what tips I could share with you. We’ve stayed with him before of course as well as with other friends and family, and yet I think it’s always a good idea to have an etiquette refresher on being a houseguest. You want to strike that ideal balance of being comfortable and relaxed during your stay, yet still on your best behavior. Staying in someone’s home or their vacation home is such an honor, and so it’s important to follow a few tips to shine as your best and most gracious self, and ensure the visit runs smoothly. Also, if you have ever hosted house guests, you have a host’s perspective, which is so helpful as well!

And so, here is everything you need to know about being a gracious houseguest:

Never show up empty handed: Bring a host gift to show your appreciation for the visit. It can be a basket of gourmet breads and jams (check for food allergies before bringing this!), personalized cups and their favorite cocktail makings, monogramed hand towels, chic beach tote, coffee table book, or a gorgeous pitcher filled with fresh flowers. Remember, it doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Instead, aim for thoughtful.

Make your bed everyday: Just as you would at home, strive to make the bed every day so your room is neat and tidy. Keep your bathroom clean as well.

Clean up after yourself: Whether you take folding chairs and towels down to the beach or decide to curl up in the den with a blanket and book or puzzle, be sure to clean up after yourself and put everything back in its place.

Help prepare meals, do dishes (unless the host objects): Pitch in with cooking, setting the table and washing dishes. It’s respectful, helpful and gracious – all qualities of an outstanding houseguest :).

Contribute to meals out and/or groceries (unless the host objects): If your host arranges for you to eat out during your visit (brunch, lunch, dinner, etc.), offer to pay for the meal. The same goes for groceries if you are staying for more than a long weekend and cooking meals at home. Your host will be touched and it’s yet another fabulous way to let the host know how much you appreciate their hospitality.

Show that you are having a great time: Be cheerful, engaging, helpful and fun to be around! And be open to whatever the host has planned, be it a low key morning or action packed afternoon.

Write a thank you note or send thank you flowers: After your visit, send a hand written thank you note sharing some of your favorite memories from the visit, and thanking your host for having you. You could also send a gorgeous arrangement and thank you enclosure card as another option.

Quick Tips

Houseguest Quick Tips


Confirm how long you will stay prior to your visit and make it short and sweet (unless the host has invited you for an extended visit)

Follow house rules

Bring your own toiletries

Be present – phones and devices away!

At the end of your visit, ask the host if they would like you to strip the bed (remove the sheets and pillow cases). If so, be sure to spread out the duvet or blanket and place the pillows on the bed so it still looks “made.”

On the last day, leave your room tidy, just as it was the day you arrived.



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