Weekends spent visiting with friends and family can be a wonderful time to reconnect. To be an ideal houseguest, follow these tips from Jacqueline Whitmore, an internationally recognized etiquette expert, and the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach.
The essentials: Plan ahead. Talk to your host ahead of time and ask what activities you’ll be doing and what clothing you will need. Remember not to overpack, and bring only what you need, including your toiletries. It’s always wise to be prepared.
Details, details: If you’re running late or if your plans get derailed, let your host know as soon as possible. Be clear about your arrival and departure dates. Be prepared to pay for your transportation if the host has other obligations or is unable to pick you up.
Keep the rhythm: When you arrive at your host’s home, keep the lines of communication open. If you’re interested in seeing specific sights and attractions or doing certain activities, let your host know. Be open-minded if your host already has an itinerary planned. Adjust to your host’s schedule and follow his or her rhythm. Be prepared to entertain yourself whenever your host has other plans or has to go to work.
Dieting diva: If you have food allergies or follow a special diet, let your host know ahead of time. It’s also a good idea to bring your own snacks. Always ask permission before helping yourself to food or drinks in the kitchen.
Gracious guest: As a token of appreciation, it is a nice gesture to bring a hostess gift. An orchid, a fruit basket, fine chocolates or bottle of your host’s favorite wine, liquor or champagne are popular choices.
Helping hands: Always offer to help out with the household duties. Make your bed, tidy up your bathroom, pitch in and clean up after yourself. It’s also a nice gesture to offer to take the host out to dinner during your visit.
Wearing out a welcome: Never bring your pets or children unless they are invited, and don’t stay any longer than you promised.
The write move: After leaving your host’s home, write a thank-you note within 24 hours. This will help ensure that you are invited back again.