Being a happy hostess involves a little more effort than just pulling out the foldout couch. To help make visits more pleasant for everyone involved (including you!), these tips will help make your houseguests feel at home.
Set a specific start and end date for the visit.
Whether your husband has a big work project coming up or you’re planning an out-of-town trip, let your guests know when you’ll be ready for them and when you’ll need them to leave. “A good host can become a bad host very quickly when guests overstay their welcome”.
Be a prepared hostess.
Call to confirm the dates of their trip a week before. Inquire about any food allergies or restricted diets.
3. Ensure everyone is comfortable.
An empty pantry is fine, if that’s what your family is used to, but don’t let your visitors go hungry. Make a point to offer your guests snacks and drinks often, or encourage them to help themselves. On a similar note, don’t commit to activities without consulting with your guests. If someone isn’t use to walking around all day, a visit to a major museum may not be enjoyable.
Don’t make friends feel like intruders.
If you have a spare bedroom, leave out thoughtful extras, like slippers and bottles of water. Empty the trash and clear your personal belongings from the dresser. If your guests are staying in a home office or den, don’t just stack blankets on the couch. Set up the room like a bedroom and avoid using the space while they are there—unless you’re in especially tight quarters.
Make your home visitor-friendly.
Ensure you have plenty of clean towels on hand. If your TV has five remotes (plus another for the sound system) explain how to get everything up and running, or write out instructions. Take extra precautions when you have children over: Putting away knickknacks and breakables is easier than playing bad cop—or losing something priceless.
Show your guests the essentials.
If you’re OK with your guests grabbing snacks or hopping on the computer, point them in the right direction. Also let them know where they can find more toilet paper and extra linens. To that end, if you’d rather they stay away from certain things, tuck them away before your guests arrive.
Help everyone get around.
Leave copies of local maps plus numbers for a car service. If they’d like to ride around town, take them early in their visit to a bike rental shop so they have transportation. Also give them an extra set of house keys or show them where you stow the spare.
Share your family’s schedule.
Don’t just let them know if you’re early risers (or night owls), also write down the days and hours you’ll be at work as well as at other activities, like when you’re planning on going to the gym.
Build in some alone time.
A few unscheduled hours a day will allow you to take a well-deserved breather and give your visitors time to take a nap or catch up on e-mail. Tell them where you’ll be (“I’m going to tend to the garden for a couple of hours. Yell if you need me.”) and when you expect to see them again (“I’ll start pouring predinner cocktails on the deck at 6.”).
Be clear about the house rules.
If you have a shoes-off policy or your cats aren’t allowed outside, let them know at the beginning of their visit. Make accommodations for smokers while hinting that you don’t want them to light up in your house. “If you’d like to take a cigarette break, I left an ashtray and matches on the front steps” gets your point across without making you seem too overbearing.
Source: Woman’s Day