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If you have ever had a bad experience as a weekend guest, you know just how awful it can be. Dog hair in the sheets, bare windows, nothing for dinner, missed rides at the airport. When you have friends or relatives coming to stay from out of town, make their visit a pleasure by thinking ahead and offering the same courtesies you would like to be shown. Elaborate fruit baskets and floral arrangements are not necessary, just a bit of common sense and good planning. The following 13 steps will walk you through what you need to know to make your next hosting experience a great one for everyone.
STEP 1: Check off guest room essentials
You don’t need to be outfitted like a four-star hotel, but certain basics should be in place to make your visitor comfortable. It’s amazing how easy it is to forget something fundamental (like curtains!), so peruse the lists below before your guests arrive.
The essentials: fresh sheets and blankets on the bed, coverings on the windows, a working light, bath towels, a wastebasket, an extra blanket and a cleared shelf or drawer.
Bonus items: A fan, clock, snacks, mini-toiletries and a surge protector for charging devices.
STEP 2: Double check dates
Again, so simple, but … just do it. Miscommunication about when your guests are arriving or leaving can start their visit off on the wrong foot. If you are picking them up at the airport or train station, make sure you have all of their travel info, and agree on a place to meet.
STEP 3: Ask ahead of time about key issues
If your guests have food allergies or follow a specific diet, knowing in advance will give you time to prepare. If you are not sure what to get, ask them to list a few favourite foods that you can pick up before they arrive. That said, don’t drive yourself nuts tracking down esoteric ingredients you would never normally buy. The important thing is to make an effort and have something in the fridge your guests can eat.
If your guests have kids, it is kind to see if they would like you to track down any baby gear to borrow for their stay, and ask about any favourite foods to have on hand for the little ones.
STEP 4: Let your guests know what you have planned
If you have activities in mind, be sure to tell your guests in advance so they can pack appropriately. This would also be a good time to check in and see if there is anything they would like to do or see while they are in town.
STEP 5: Save your best parking spot
If parking in your neighbourhood is limited, be sure to reserve your off-street spot for your guests, if they are driving. Go out ahead of time and track down an elusive street spot if you need to – just don’t make your guests spend their first hour at your place looking for a spot.