12 Secrets to Making Houseguests Feel Right at Home

‘Tis the season for holiday gatherings and houseguests! We know that opening your doors to overnight houseguests can be stressful as you aim to make their stay as comfortable as possible.

As you prepare to welcome family members or friends into your home this holiday season, use these tips to help prep your home and keep your season for hosting as stress-free as possible.

Make Room — Consider the places in your home that houseguests can call their own while visiting. Clear out some space in your entry way, guestroom closet and bathroom cabinet so your guests will have room to neatly stow their stuff out of the way during their stay.

Prepare the Guest Room — Your guest room may not be outfitted like a four-star hotel, but there are some essentials you can add to ensure a comfort  stay. These include: curtains or window coverings, fresh sheets, working lamp or reading light, some magazines or favorite books, wastebasket, alarm clock, bath towels and a cleared shelf or drawer.

Get Ready for Kids — If your guests have small children (and you don’t), take some time to go through your home and put away any potentially dangerous substances, objects and décor. This includes cleaning supplies, breakables and any small knickknacks that could easily slip into a baby or toddler’s mouth. If you don’t have children of your own, ask friends with kids for any baby or kid gear you can borrow, such as a crib or pack and play, toys and car seats.

Plan for Pets — Will your houseguests be bringing along any four-legged friends? Think ahead to what they may need while staying in your home, and ask your guests if there are any necessities or food you can provide for their pet.

Leave a Personal Touch — Leave an assortment of personal items in your guest room, such as toiletries, toothbrushes, tissues, lotion, fresh soap, and any other items guests may have forgotten at home. Take it a step further with a soft pair of slippers and cozy robe.

Freshen Up — Plan to provide guests with fresh towels at least every other day during their stay. If they will be staying more than a few days, have an extra set of sheets on hand so you can freshen up their bed as well.

Stock Up on Snacks — Help your guests feel at home by stocking up on a variety of snacks and other easy to grab items for when hunger strikes. Also, check your supply of milk, cream, sugar and/or sweetener – for many people a great morning always starts with a perfect cup of coffee.

Some things to consider: fresh cut fruit and veggies, protein bars, popcorn and pretzels, and kid-friendly snacks like juice boxes and crackers. It’s wise to check guests’ preferences and dietary restrictions before you do your shopping. Be sure to show guests where the snacks are kept when they arrive.

Provide Helpful Information — Provide guests with a notebook of important information, including Wi-Fi passwords, home alarm codes and any other essential information they may need during their stay. If your guests aren’t familiar with the area, offer some tourist information on local cafes, restaurants, shopping and attractions so they feel welcome to do a little exploring on their own. Don’t forget to give them a house key so they can come and go as they please!

Keep them Comfortable — A good night’s sleep is important to a great visit, so have a variety of pillows and blankets on hand for guests to choose from. Offer guests a choice of both firm and soft pillows, plus blankets of varying weights. Be sure to check with guests about your home’s temperature and make adjustments as needed. You may even want to offer small floor or table fan in case guests get warm during the night.

Save the Best Parking Spot — Parking in many neighborhoods is limited. If your guests will be driving to your home, offer them your best parking spot nearest the front door, so they won’t need to spend time driving around searching for a place to park overnight.

Thoughtfully Plan Your Schedule — Be sure to communicate any activities you have planned for you and your guests during their stay, while leaving room in the schedule for some downtime so everyone has a chance to relax. Spending a morning at home isn’t a bad thing, and can even be a welcome breather for guests who may have traveled through the night.

Offer a Warm Welcome — No matter their time of arrival, offering guests a warm welcome is absolutely essential to kicking off their stay on a good note. Be sure your home is well-lit and cozy, with lamps and candles on and a comfy space guests can plop down and relax upon their arrival. Traveling makes anyone hungry, so offer a snack and beverage right away, no matter the time of day or night.

When you have guests coming to stay in your home, take some time to think ahead and plan the same courtesies you would enjoy while staying away from home. Doing so can go a long way in helping your guests feel right at home, without creating extra stress for you.

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