The season for getaways is upon us and whether you’re readying your home to play host or packing a weekend bag as a guest, we’re here to bring you a little primer on the best ways to prepare to ensure maximum relaxation and comfort for all parties. Myka Meier, founder of Beaumont Etiquette, will be sharing practical, often straight-shooting advice in a series of posts addressing common summertime scenarios. Today's focus? All the ways to be a great guest. We hope these points will serve as helpful guidelines rather than rigid rules, meant to complement your existing customs and routines.
Ever wonder how a veritable etiquette expert would weigh in on a social conundrum? Be sure to leave a comment below—we’d love to hear from you!
Etiquette is all about being kind, thoughtful, and respectful to those around us. If your friends or family are wonderful enough to invite you for a weekend to stay with them, try following these tips to show how grateful you are during your stay.
1. Try not to arrive too early
If you told your host you’ll be arriving at someone’s home at 3 P.M. on a Saturday, you want to make sure you get there as close to possible to that time. Arriving too early might catch your host off guard and they might be working on finishing touches for your arrival (or even out shopping!).
2. Bring a host(ess) gift
The idea behind bringing a gift for your host is to show gratitude for staying at their home. A host gift is different from a thank you note and should be given to the host upon your arrival, not at the end of the stay. So how much do you have to spend on a host gift? There is no exact amount… and often the most amazing host gifts are the most thoughtful, not the most expensive: It could be a home-baked good, fresh citrus picked from your backyard in a basket, or a beautiful photo frame.
3. Bring your own toiletries
You don't want to show up and have to ask for toothpaste, shampoo, etc. Come with everything you may need, as you don't want to assume they will have a second bottle of everything to share.
4. Follow the lead of the host
When you arrive, the host may have spent a considerable amount of time planning activities or making reservations. If you make separate plans outside of the host's, make sure to always include the person you're staying with.
5. Offer to help
After meals, make sure to always offer to help clean the kitchen or clear the dishes from the table. Even if your host does not let you, it’s a very kind gesture to offer.
6. Mind the linens
At the end of the weekend, ask your host where they would like you to put the linens and towels. If they say to just leave them, make sure you leave the bed made and the towels neatly hanging. Never leave linens or towels on the floor.
7. Send a note
After your stay, don’t forget to write a thank you note. Try to send it out within three to five business days upon your return where possible. When should you send an email versus a handwritten thank you note? I always advise to match the formality of the occasion: If it was a casual Saturday barbecue, then an email may be fine. A nice, long weekend full of fun? A handwritten thank you note is a great choice. When in doubt, send a handwritten note.
What other etiquette questions do you have around hosting or being a guest? I'll be on hand this week to answer any tricky conundrums you may have!