How to Get Invited Back: 6 Ways to be a Stellar Houseguest

The holiday season is such a special time of year! Family and friends gather to enjoy good cheer, good food and quality time together. Though as we also know, it can be an overwhelming stretch, and hosting visitors can amplify the chaos. Following my tips to being a conscientious houseguest will to help smooth any bumps on your road to a merry holiday season — and get you invited back!

1. Arrange Your Own Transportation

Hosting guests is hard work in and of itself. But on top of that, your host has their normal responsibilities to attend to. Most likely they’ll want to have their vehicles at their disposal. Don’t assume that you will be able to borrow their car, or that they want to shuttle you around. Make transportation arrangements prior to arriving- including renting a car, understanding public transport options, planning to use shuttle/Uber/Lyft, walking or biking. 

2. Don’t Assume You Can Bring Your Pet

This applies even if your host is a pet person. It may be no big deal to your host but ask! (In fact, this rule applies to EVERYTHING. Be open, honest and respectful of your host’s wishes, and fail on the side of over-communicating.) Don’t assume everyone loves your dog as much as you do and recognize that your host has no obligation to board you and your pet. If Spot is not invited, be understanding – you’ll need to find other arrangements for your pooch during your visit. Or if it is okay to bring your furry friend, make sure to be extra attentive and clean up after your pet.

3. Clean Up After Yourself 

Leaving dishes in the sink or coffee mugs on the counter is just NOT okay. Ever. Not only should you tidy up after yourself everywhere you go, you should be asking what you can do to help. Take out the trash? Empty the dishwasher? Offer to cook a meal. You are part of the household during your stay- you’re not staying in a hotel and your hosts shouldn’t feel that you expect service. That goes for keeping your stuff organized and your room/bathroom tidy as well. Make the bed, hang up your towels, keep your clothes off the floor, toiletries in check, and your electronics, cords and personal effects in the guest room. As a guest, ensure that you treat your host’s home and belongings with utmost care, and before you leave check that everything is organized how you found it.

Guest bedroom with pale pink accents and modern bedside light fixture

4. Ask Before You Use the Laundry Machine

Likely you won’t be visiting long enough to need to do laundry, but occasionally it can be necessary or helpful. Be sure to ask if/when it’s a good time to throw in your load, and if there are any special tricks to operating the machine. It’s not fair to your host to have their laundry room hijacked only to realize there won’t be time to get their kid’s soccer uniform washed before the game.

5. Treat Them to a Dinner Out or Bring a Hostess Gift

Thank your host profusely, and let them know you care. This includes sending a thank you note (not an email or text). Additionally, on top of generally being courteous during your stay, treating your hosts to lunch or dinner, or bringing a thoughtful gift is a great way to show your appreciation.

6. Ask About Sheets and Towels

On the day of your departure, understand from your host how to make their life easier once you leave. Should you strip the bed? Throw your towels in the laundry? Or just leave the room as-is? Everyone will have different preferences. Often, I ask my houseguests to just leave everything alone. I usually don’t have anyone coming right after, and find it nicer not to have to do the laundry and put everything back together immediately. I like to take my time to tidy up and fit it in when I can, but many others find it helpful when the sheets are taken off the bed and put in the laundry. Just ask!

Sending good wishes to you for a happy holiday season!

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