How to Be a Good House Guest: 13 Steps (with Pictures) - wikiHow

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26-10-2022, 04:10
When visiting someone's home, whether they're a close family member, a friend, or a colleague, it is important to be a gracious guest. Your manners could make all the difference between a pleasant stay or a disastrous one. Be polite in order to ensure that your stay is enjoyable both for yourself and your hosts.

Part 1 of 4:Communicating with Your Host

  1. Be specific with the dates of arrival and departure. Don't keep your visit open-ended. Also, don't book an airline reservation before you first discuss it with your host. If your host has agreed to certain dates, don't try to add on to those dates without discussing it, and respect that your host may have to discuss your stay with their spouse or housemate.
    • Avoid overstaying your visit. Even though you have been graciously invited into their home, your hosts may have rearranged their normal routines on your behalf. Their hospitality also requires their investment of time, energy, and money.
    • If you are staying for a period longer than three days, consider putting the arrangement on a business footing, or finding ways to leave and stay elsewhere for a few days to give your hosts some private time.
  2. Be respectful of the host's time. Don't show up earlier than the time you had agreed upon. Your host may not be ready for you and an early arrival could inconvenience them considerably. If, for some unforeseen reason, you caught an earlier connection or you had an extra day's vacation and want to arrive earlier, call them first.
    • Avoid showing up later that you promised. This may upset many hosts who worry about what might have happened to you. If you are delayed for any reason, call them and explain.
  3. Communicate clearly about comings and goings. If you will not be with your hosts all the time, discuss your plans beforehand to make sure that you will not inadvertently inconvenience them. Don't leave their home, even for a short outing, without telling them. Your host should not have to guess whether you went out or not.
    • Be quiet when arriving back late, and, if given a key, use it. Turn out the lights and check to make sure that the door is locked behind you.

Part 2 of 4:Showing Your Host Respect

  1. Be flexible with your time. The living space designed to accommodate you on a short-term, temporary basis is the full-time home of your host. Make a conscious effort to adapt to their preferences and patterns. To be clear, ask about their expectations of you during your stay.
    • Ask if you are expected to share meals with them or at which time they would prefer you to turn out the lights. It is especially important to accept that others have to live in the house, too.
  2. Share the household bathroom respectfully. If the house only has one bathroom, ask when it is convenient for you to use it. Consideration is also expected if you are sleeping in a living area near the only bathroom; remember, others may need to use it after you go to bed.
    • Remember to flush the toilet and put the lid down. Don't leave a dripping faucet, and turn off the light when you're finished.
    • Don't rummage around in their cupboards looking for a toothbrush or other essentials; instead, ask your host if they have any spares.
  3. Ask before helping yourself to food. Avoid taking the last of anything, especially the last of leftovers that are not easily reproduced, or expensive items. If you must eat your host's food while they are unavailable, a good idea is to pick up some more to replace what you ate.
  4. Respect cultural and familial differences. For example, you may be an omnivore staying with a vegan family, but it is polite to at least try what they serve you. Do not criticize your hosts' preferences. If eating a certain kind of food is a violation of your cultural or religious beliefs, let your hosts know before you arrive.
    • Adapt to your host's lifestyle. There may be children, pets, elderly parents, or others in the home with whom you may be unaccustomed to living with. Go with the flow and try to learn something from the experience.

Part 3 of 4:Staying Self-Reliant

  1. Offer to make contributions. Even if you're not eating at your host's home, offer to purchase the groceries. Remember that your hosts have probably already been shopping for extra groceries and spent a considerable amount of time and money to get ready for your visit. You could either bankroll their next supermarket trip, or offer to go out and buy things for both yourself and for them (ask them for a list).
  2. Do your own laundry. Don't be embarrassed about asking whether or not it is okay to do your laundry at your host's place. They understand that after a few days you'll have dirty underwear.
    • Ask your host when the most convenient time for you to do your laundry would be, emphasizing that you don't want to cut into the household's normal routine.
  3. Offer to help at mealtimes. This doesn't mean crowding the host out of the kitchen, but instead it means collecting plates, carrying out dishes, offering to wash up or stack the dishwasher, cleaning off the counters, and taking the garbage out. You could even offer to cook a meal or two yourself.

Part 4 of 4:Showing Gratitude

  1. Bring a gift to show gratitude. Offering something as a way of thanking your hosts in advance is a thoughtful and caring gesture. It demonstrates your appreciation of their important efforts to make your stay a good one. Considerate, inexpensive gifts include a bottle of wine, a box of chocolates, a basket of fruit, or a bouquet of flowers.
  2. Be appreciative. Express that you are pleased with the local food, sightseeing, and other attractions. If your hosts have provided you with a home-cooked meal, show your appreciation through compliments and by offering to take care of the next meal.
  3. Thank your hosts for the stay. Help them clean up anything that you may have moved during your visit. Also don't rush out of the house when you are leaving, since the hosts might assume that you did not appreciate your stay.
    • Leave a thank-you note on your departure. It is polite to leave a small token to show that you are grateful for their hospitality. A handwritten card makes a thoughtful token of appreciation.


  • With certain differences between your lifestyle and your hosts', you may feel like you're treading on tiptoes, but remember to compromise and be open, honest, and considerate.
  • Pay attention to the security instructions in your host's home; be sure that you lock up properly. Take good care of any keys that they loan you. Offer to replace what you have used.
  • If you have special dietary needs, bring your own food. Offer to take care of your own dietary needs and be clear about what this means by way of food preparation.
Show More Tips


  • Do not bring a pet, even an outside pet, without asking. If your host seems hesitant when you ask about bringing your pet, don't bring it. If you are permitted to bring your pet, clean up after it regularly.
  • Replace anything that you damage. Even if it was an accident, you are responsible, and should make it right for your host by fixing the item, replacing the item or leaving a monetary settlement. Doing so shows that you respect another's possessions. Not addressing it can leave long memories of the issue, and it will certainly get around in family or friendship circles.
  • If don't know your way around the town, ask for your host to accompany you on your outings, so that you don't get lost.
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