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How to be the best house guest

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Know how to be the best house guest if you ever want to be invited back

A situation has arisen requiring you to be a guest in a friend's home for a week. Being a house guest, and having one, can be a tricky situation. You do not want to ruin your relationship, which can happen if you are a lousy visitor. How to be the best house guest? There are do's and don't's.

You are a visitor in this person's home. This does not mean you are entitled to room service. it is a home, not a hotel. If you ever want invited back, mind your Ps and Qs and carry your weight.


Get a gift for the homeowner. If he is a non-drinker or you're not sure, it is best to avoid a gift of alcohol. A lot of work goes into preparing one's home for guests and your gift upon arrival shows you appreciate the efforts made on your behalf by the host. A gift of gourmet food can please everyone's tastes and is always appreciated. You don't have to travel bearing gifts; order online and time your gift to arrive right before you do, or while you are there. Sending a gift after your visit is also thoughtful.


Bring food or go shopping shortly after arrival. Do not depend on the host to provide you with (and prepare for you) every meal. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Again, this is not a hotel. However, if the host is territorial about his kitchen, respect this. Play by the host's rules. If he doesn't want you in the kitchen messing around with 'his stuff,' stay out but you can still provide food, and pay for it.  

The Rules

Ask the homeowner, first thing, what the rules are. Do you need to remove your shoes upon entering the house? No smoking? You do not want to offend by inadvertently breaking the house rules.

Do Your Part

Clean up after yourself. This should go without saying. Wash your dirty dishes, clean out the shower/tub, the sink and toilet after use. Do not leave clumps of your hair in the bathroom drains. That is gross. If the trash can needs emptying, empty it.


Do not use 50 towels. A towel can be re-used. Offer to do laundry.

Treat the Host

Take the host out to eat. Pay the tab. This is a nice way to show your gratitude for him putting you up and putting up with you.

Pitch In

At least once a day, inquire if there is something you can do regarding running the household. However, don't repeatedly ask. That's annoying. But do let the host know you're more than willing to pitch in.

Please Don't ... ... bring strangers into the home. This is not good judgment.

Watch Your Behavior

Do not get intoxicated or otherwise act like an idiot. Throwing up on the living carpet is ill advised. Don't embarrass your host or yourself.


Do not bring your pet unless you have cleared it with the host.

Be Thoughtful

Wear a robe. Do not run around the house in your skivvies. Stay out of the hosts' private spaces. Use the guest bathroom, not the master bath, and don't go through cupboards without being invited to do so.


Tell the host what your schedule is so he knows when you will be home or elsewhere. It cuts down on confusion and is the courteous thing to do. If you are not going to be present for a meal, let the host know. If he cooks for you and you're a no-show this is rude.

Everyone Needs Space

If your host wants to take you on a tour of the town or engage in some activity with you, all the better, but do not expect him to be your 24/7 tour guide. He may have more pressing obligations and cannot be at your beck and call.

Give the host his space. Go to your room, shut the door, be quiet, read a magazine and lay low for a while.

Before You Leave

When preparing to leave, ask the host if you should strip your bed. He may or may not want you to. If so, neatly pile the blankets, sheets and pillow cases on top of the mattress.

Leave a gift or some kind of token of appreciation showing how much you appreciated the hospitality.

Say Thanks

When you get home, send the host a thank-you card or flowers.

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