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House Guest Etiquette Tips - how to be a good guest

Updated on October 9, 2012
Being a guest can be a pleasant experience for both you and your host.
Being a guest can be a pleasant experience for both you and your host. | Source

How to Be a House Guest and stay on good terms with your hosts

In my hub, How I Saved Money on My Trip to London England, I suggested staying with friends or family when traveling as a way to save money. Although this is a money savings idea, it does carry some risks. Sometimes being in close quarters for a long period of time causes conflict, and you want to remain on speaking terms with your friend or family member so that you can visit the area again.

Follow these ways you can be a good guest and remain friends with your host and hostess.

How to Be a Good House Guest

There are many ways you can be a good guest. Here are just a few guest etiquette steps you can take to make your stay enjoyable for you and your host.


Once you have been invited to stay as a guest, it is important to communicate with your host before you stay with them. They need to know when you are going to be at their house, how long you are planning to stay, and who you are bringing with you. They will need to know your schedule or plans, so they can prepare accordingly. The more they know about your trip, the more comfortable they will feel with your staying with them.

Be Nice

Follow the normal rules of etiquette with any other human being on the earth. Even though the person you are staying with may be a friend or a relative, you cannot treat them unkindly. Do not be dismissive, derogatory, impatient, irritating or rude. Don't ask personal questions your host does not want to answer. While you can be yourself with them, you should try to minimize your annoying habits. If the host offers suggestions or has a reasonable request, honor it. You will make your stay much more pleasant.

Remember It is Not Your Home

When you are staying at a host's house, you must follow the rules of the house. No matter how crazy they sound to you, you must follow them unless they will infringe on your rights or safety. Do not eat all of the snacks. Save some for the hosts, and buy some for yourself. Also, since it is your host's house, the rules of your own house do not apply. You cannot insist that the host do things your way.

Advice and Criticism

Be careful how you give advice, since it can easily feel like criticism. While you may think you are being helpful when you suggest an easier way to do something, the host may have already thought of it, or may feel stupid for not having thought of it. Either skip the advice, or think through the proper way of wording any advice.

Don't Be a Cheapskate

By giving you a place to sleep, your host is saving you money you would otherwise give to a hotel. This does not mean, however, that you should expect your host to pay for everything. Offer to buy groceries, help fill up the gas tank, give a cash gift, or find other ways to help out financially. Bring a nice gift for your host from where you live.

Neat and Tidy

You should keep your belongings in one place, so you can easily find them when it is time to pack up and leave. Clean up after yourself. Try to leave things as clean as you found it; better yet, leave it cleaner.

Don't be a Burden

Having a guest can take a lot of the host's time. It is not his vacation, and he is not your servant. Be sure to help wash the dishes, sweep the floor, and do any other chores that need doing. Do not wait to be asked. Try to follow the house rules by not wasting water, and be gentle with your host's property, so you do not break anything. If you do break something, be sure to replace it.

Peace and Quiet

The hosts have a schedule, and will likely be working. Do not keep them up late by insisting on conversing with them, or by being noisy when they are trying to sleep. Go to bed when they do, or do quiet activities like reading. Keep the television and radio off while the hosts are sleeping. If you have children, be sure they are on their best behavior. No running around breaking things, and no yelling or screaming. Take care of your own children and do not expect the host to be a babysitter.

Spend Time with your Hosts

You should talk to and spend time with your hosts. You are there to see them, not just use them for a free place to sleep, right? You should also spend some time away from them, so they have a breather to do the things they want to do.

Be Appreciative

Your host has likely taken the time to clean the house and make space for you. They are taking time out of their busy lives to spend with you, to transport you, feed you, and / or entertain you. Be sure to tell them frequently how much you appreciate their efforts and generosity.

Don't Overstay your Welcome

Spending a short amount of time with a host is a wonderful way to get to know them better, and save money while visiting an area. Staying too long, however, is annoying and rude.

House Guest Tips

Staying with a friend or family member is a great way to save some money while vacationing. It gives you a chance to spend time with your loved one and provides a comfortable place to stay. By following some common sense etiquette and the steps in this hub, you will ensure that your stay is pleasant for both you and your host.


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