How to be the Best Houseguest Ever

Tips for being a great houseguest

by Tracey Doull, Kitchen Moxie Founder

It was Benjamin Franklin who once said, “Fish, like guests, begin to smell after three days.” Hopefully this is not how most of us would describe our houseguests, but cohabitation even for only a few days can be stressful for both guests and hosts alike. We all have our own rituals and routines, and being flexible and trying to fit in with others’ day-to-day can be somewhat challenging.

Being a good overnight guest definitely takes a little extra effort and some forethought, but by following a few simple guidelines, you’ll be well on your way to being a great overnight guest – and hopefully invited back for another stay.

  • Be creative when it comes to a hostess gift. Go with something that reflects not only your personality but also that of your hostess. If you are staying at a home with young children, bring a little something for each of them – or better yet, pull together a family movie night basket with kid friendly DVDs, popcorn and candy.
  • Offer to help with household chores like setting the table, preparing meals and clearing up afterward. This will go a long way to ingratiate you with your hosts.
  • Always make your way to bed first. Bedtime can be awkward as both the guest and host are waiting for the other to signal it’s time to turn in for the night. Give your hosts a chance to close up shop and prepare for tomorrow by being the first to say good night.
  • Make sure to leave the bathroom used during your stay just as you found it. No toothpaste splatters in the sink, rings on the counter or wet towels left on the floor.
  • At the end of your stay, if time permits, remove the sheets from the bed and take them to the laundry area. At the very least make the bed, leaving your host with the option to change the sheets or to do so at a later time.
  • If your hosts have pets, please make sure to go along with their guidelines, such as no pets on furniture, no table food, etc.
  • Your host may tell you to make yourself at home and to help yourself to any food or drink you like during your stay. Don’t take the offer too literally; do help yourself, but be polite and thoughtful when doing so.
  • Always remember to send a handwritten thank you note – and depending on how long you stay, send a bouquet of flowers or something special to show your appreciation for the wonderful hospitality you received.

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Tracey Doull worked in both broadcast news and broadcast public relations prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom in 2000. After her daughter was born, Tracey’s passion for cooking and entertaining exploded. With more time on her hands to devote to “figuring it out,” she honed her organizational skills from her former life and began hosting dinner parties most weekends. Two more children and a puppy later, Tracey is still passionate about food and entertaining. Over the past 12 years she has hosted hundreds of dinner parties, themed parties and black-tie dinners for her friends and family. Learn more at

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