Holiday Houseguest Etiquette Tips for Hosting and Staying Over

Woman knocks on a door with flowers to illustrate houseguest etiquette

The arrival of the holidays also means it is houseguest season! Whether you are hosting friends from out of town, staying with family for Christmas, or anything in between, these helpful houseguest etiquette tips will help to ensure it goes off without a hitch!

 

Etiquette Tips for Hosting Houseguests 

As a host, your role is to make your guest feel as welcome and comfortable as possible. This starts with preparation prior to their arrival. Make sure to clean your home thoroughly and get a grocery shop under your belt beforehand. 

Before Guests Arrive, Ask These Important Questions: 
  • Do you have any allergies? If your guest is allergic to cats and you have three, this might be an important thing to disclose to each other. Perhaps you can confine the cats to a section of the house your guest will not be entering and spend some serious time with your vacuum in preparation for their arrival. 
  • What are your favorite foods or beverages? If your guest only drinks white wine but you stocked up on red, this might merit a trip to the store. 
  • What time do you plan to arrive and do you need help with transportation? If they are flying, ask for their flight details so you can track if their flight is delayed or early. 

Furthermore, if you have certain events or occasions during their visit you simply cannot shift, communicate your schedule in advance so your guests can make plans if they would like to. 

Prepare your Guest’s Space

Whether you have a dedicated guestroom or guest house, or you are shuffling some things around to accommodate them, take time to prepare their space. 

  • Add fresh flowers
  • Place a carafe of water and a glass by the bed
  • Provide a stack of fresh towels. 
  • Write or print your wifi information on a card for your guest’s convenience. 

And one quick tip from the brilliant Flightess that must be shared: place a pop-up laundry basket in the guest room. If your guests are staying for more than a day or two, they are bound to have some dirty laundry. This way they have a place to put it without having to mix it in with their clean clothes in their suitcase.

As we are still in Covid-times, take extra care to sanitize door handles, tv remotes, and other high-traffic spots.

 

Etiquette Tips for Being a Good Houseguest 

As a guest in a person’s home, you are entering a very intimate and sacred space. Whether you are staying with friends or family members, practicing good guest manners is a must. 

Keep Your Hosts Informed 

If your flight is delayed or you have hit serious traffic on the way, take care to let your hosts know. They are likely preparing for your arrival so it is best not to keep them guessing. Conversely, if you are running ahead of schedule, you may want to find something to occupy your time. Your hosts may not be ready for you and you could cause unnecessary stress by arriving two hours early! 

Be a Tidy and Considerate Guest 

For both communal spaces and your guest room, you should be as tidy as possible. Make the bed each morning, unpack your suitcase or keep everything neatly contained, and clean up after yourself wherever you go.  

Offer to help out with daily tasks or at mealtimes. Set the table, clear dishes, and offer assistance where you can. However, if your hosts refuse your help, respect their wishes but be sure to continue offering where appropriate.

Limit noise during “quiet hours.” These would be the hours between bedtime and waking, roughly 9pm to 7am. This means no loud phone calls to people in other time zones, no streaming without headphones, and certainly no showers. Keep noisy activities to normal waking hours out of respect to your hosts. The only exception to this would be if you are in a guest house or in a space that is quite far from your hosts and their family. 

Respect the Privacy of Your Hosts 

As a guest in someone’s home, you have been invited into a private space. Be respectful and avoid snooping, prying, or eavesdropping. And, it should go without saying, do not gossip afterward about anything you have seen or experienced. 

Clean Before You Leave 

Take a moment to do some mild cleaning before you leave. Wipe the sink basin, rinse the shower, make the bed, and pick up anything that may have fallen on the floor.

Show Gratitude Before and After 

Bring a gift with you when you arrive and send a thank-you note after you leave to show gratitude to your hosts for their generosity.