Etiquette Lesson: Be Your Host’s Favorite Houseguest

The summer season is all about traveling, vacations, and, of course, staying with friends. Whether they have a beach house in the Hamptons or a tiny cottage in the mountains, here’s all the need-to-know etiquette for ensuring a breezy stay (and an invite to come back).

Bring a gift.
This is a must for any visit – and if you don’t believe me, Emily Post says so. A nice bottle of wine is suitable, or a piece of home décor you know your host will love. Staying more than one night? Aim for something a little more elaborate to say a proper, “thanks for letting me crash here.”

Have your own toiletries on hand.
While I love scooping up all the mini shampoos and soaps in hotel bathrooms, don’t assume your host will provide the same. Tote along your own shower products, and don’t  rely on your host for toothpaste.

Offer to help with cleaning or cooking.
Since your host is kind enough to put you up for the night (or more, if you’re lucky), be kind in return by offering to help with the chores. Whether it’s carrying in the groceries, pitching in with the dishes, or tidying up the living spaces, your generosity won’t go unnoticed – and will give your host more time for hanging out.

Clean up after yourself.
It’s not your bathroom (unfortunately), so don’t treat it as such. Pick up makeup and toiletries after you’re done using them, keep clothes off the floor, and make the bed each morning. And for everyone’s benefit – keep hair out of the sink and shower.

Strip the bed at the end of your visit.
Remove the sheets, fold them loosely, and place them at the end of the bed. Then pull up the blanket and bedspread so the bed looks made. If it’s a good friend, ask if there’s a clean set of sheets so you can make the bed yourself. It’s a nice gesture that will save your host from doing extra chores.

Send a thank you note.
Don’t let this one wait more than a few days after you return. Send a handwritten thank-you note (even if your penmanship is less than desirable) that says you enjoyed your stay, and how much you appreciated your host’s hospitality. The time, thought, and details will really go a long way.

Keep these tips in your back pocket, and let the “come back again soon!” invitations roll in.

Stock up on host and hostess gifts in our Gracious Houseguest: Gifts to Say Thanks Boutique, launching Thursday, July 26 at 11AM ET.

By Melissa Mann, Staff Writer 

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July 25, 2012