As we march towards the holiday season, you may be strategically (and possibly frantically) planning for out-of-town friends and family to invade your home. While their anticipated visit may be a very welcomed event, many of us aren’t fortunate enough to own a guesthouse on the property. This is where you insert this guide to make the visit as comfortable and inviting as possible for your guests and for you- as the host- to feel like you aren’t tirelessly worried about the details. You can sit back and enjoy the company!
Pre-planning is key
Ask your guests what essentials they may need to make them feel at home. Will they need bedding accommodations such as an air mattress or pack-and-play for young children? What are their favorite breakfast and snack foods? Are there any allergies such as pets or dust? This will help you to elaborate a plan to set up the room. If you don’t have a requested item on hand, ask local friends or family to borrow items. If your visitors need extra bedding for little ones, make sure that they are set up and ready to crash in the moment they arrive. Often times, traveling makes for cranky kids so it will be less hassle than setting it up upon arrival. A thorough cleaning and dusting with clean sheets and towels is always helpful especially if there are allergies. Don’t forget that great guests are always appreciative of a well-stocked pantry, too. A little pre-planning goes a long way and will eliminate the unnecessary runaround after they walk through the door.
Make it travel-sized
As they always say, attention is in the details. We’ve all traveled somewhere and realized we’ve forgotten something at home. Fill a basket in the bathroom with travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, and shower essentials as well as razors, a toothbrush (unused, of course), toothpaste, and bottled water. Provide reading material and mints on the nightstand. These are all welcoming cues for your guests.
But what about the kids?
For those hosts who may not have children, let’s face it. You have to think like one who does! Kids have accidents and you have to prepare your home for the unknown. Assess your home to make sure that sharp items such as scissors and knives are unreachable to tiny hands. Just in case, make sure to re-stock your first aid kit with band-aids and other essentials. Put away breakable or valuable items that might accidentally meet the fate of a flying toy. Set out a spare set of linens to be placed on-call for those unexpected middle-of-the-night mishaps.
If you don’t have a TV/DVR in the guest room, relocate one that you can live without (or borrow one!) during the stay. This will be a lifesaver for those times when the adults want to talk and the kids need their own space and activity. Don’t forget to check out Redbox for the latest kid-friendly movie!
Fun for all
The best part of visits is making it fun for everybody! Don’t feel required to make every meal- suggest trying out the newest restaurant in town or ordering take-out. Set aside a game night that includes everybody. Tie in holiday-themed activities such as baking cookies, strolling down neighborhood streets lit up in holiday lights, or even decorating your own house. After all, time and laughs together are what you’ll remember long after they pull out of your driveway.
And a little space is always good, too
Depending on the length of the visit, it’s always nice to have a little separation. Be sure to research local events or shopping venues with information and brochures that you can provide your guests (especially with kids!) if they need to get out of the house. This will give you a breather on prepping meals, do some spot cleaning, or just recharging your batteries until their return.
Speaking of spot cleaning……
As with most hospitable hosts, you were probably raised better than to ask your guests to lift a finger. But dirty laundry does tend to pile up and clutter seems to get pushed aside. Keep a laundry basket or bin in a specified place such as a closet or laundry room to collect used towels or linens. This is a better method than doing a scavenger hunt throughout the house before starting a load. Let them know there are disinfectant wipes under the bathroom sink and disposable cups, plates, and utensils in the cupboard. These little hints will hopefully keep bathrooms and kitchens (somewhat) tidy throughout the visit.