If we had a dollar for every time we entertained a last-minute houseguest, we'd have enough money to run our own hotel. Sure, you love having people stay with you, but there's a fine line between an extended sleepover and a weekend-long burden. Still, there's really no need for stressing out and straining your relationship.
Whether you have a whole guest bedroom to spare or just an air mattress, it's not very difficult to show your temporary roommate loads of hospitality without unraveling. Ahead, we've broken down eight steps to hosting guests the right way — and who knows, maybe they'll pick up a tip themselves for when they return the favor.
The Basic Setup
Whether it's a couch, an air mattress, or a guest bedroom — lucky you! — make sure that linens and pillows are set up and ready before they even arrive so there's no confusion about where they're sleeping. Besides the "bed," make sure your guest has access to nearby outlets, a small side table to place their things, and an optional bin or drawer to keep their stuff if they want to unpack a little.
And after they get settled, keep your hands off. Your guests should feel at home in their little space, even if it is in your home. No tidying up after them when they're taking a shower or demanding they keep everything out of sight!
Stock Up On The Toiletries
Providing your guests with their own toiletries is an awesome gesture that's always appreciated, and doesn't have to cost a lot of money. You can't go wrong with color-protecting shampoo and conditioners, liquid body wash, unscented body lotion, and toothpaste. These items work for a large range of hair and skin types (not to mention sensitive noses), and are items people don't generally travel with. If you don't want to go mini, take this as an excuse to splurge on a full-size bottle of something nice that you can use after they leave. Got stuff you don't want to share? Stash it in your room out of sight.
Linens & Things
When it comes to towels, provide one full-size option and one smaller washcloth and leave it on the bed so they know it's theirs for keeps. Most travelers like to freshen up immediately upon arrival, so it's a good idea to prepare those in advance of their arrival.
Don't Be A Slave To Schedule
Most likely, your friend is staying with you because they want to spend time with you (in addition to saving a little money). Don't make plans for the second she/he arrives…everyone needs some time to unwind. If you have hard and fast reservations and appointments, make sure they know ahead of time to avoid any miscommunication in case they had other ideas about how they wanted to budget their time. Also, leave lots of opportunity for just chilling. No one ever complained about a little personal time.
Don't Think You Have To Do All The Entertaining
It's always a smart idea to lay out a few books, magazines, and other reading material in case they forgot to bring their own (and make sure to tell your guest that those are for their pleasure!). These days, your guest will most likely be traveling with a smartphone, a tablet, and/or computer. Make sure your Wi-Fi password is accessible. Write down all the info and stick it somewhere noticeable so they'll always have access.
Provide Ammo For Their Own Adventure-Having
Especially if you're living somewhere vacation-y (in the city, by a beach, in a lakeside cabin), make sure your guests feel free to do some exploring on their own. If you're able, leave out picnic blankets and a basket, show them where you keep your frisbee, and offer to share your favorite restaurants in case they want to go out for lunch while you're at work (just remember to give them a spare key so they don't get locked out!).
Don't Freak About The Fridge
If your friend loves to snack (and seriously, who doesn't?), it's one of our favorite moves to hit a local farmers' market or grocery store together to stock up for the weekend. Under the pretense of shopping for a meal you'll prepare together, you can also pick up beverages and nibbles that he/she will feel comfortable helping themselves to during his/her stay. That way, your expensive container of almond milk doesn't disappear, and your friend doesn't have to feel like he/she needs to pull off an act of espionage in order to curb midnight cravings.
Plan An At-Home Shindig
It's always a good idea to host something casual in your apartment. It's a fun opportunity for you and your guest to relax and hang out without pressure. An at-home shindig will set the scene for the rest of the weekend, or wrap up what was an epic weekend, whether it's just snacks and wine, a small dinner party, or an intimate party. Though, try to avoid having a rager in your living room…considering that area is where your guest is probably sleeping, it's probably not a good idea!
Source: Wang, Connie. "8 Tips To Entertaining Over A Whole Weekend." Refinery29. 24 May 2013. https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/house-guests