6 Tips For Travel Guests & Airbnb Hosts
Words by: Jennifer Ritchie
There was a time when having a sleepover at a friend’s house entailed movies followed by hot cocoa made by Mum, ghost stories and endless fits of giggles followed by Dad yelling up the stairs to ‘Be Quiet and Go To Sleep!’.
In the time since, happily both my friends and I have matured, with a slight tendency for enduring giggles as the main recurring theme.
Now it is us hosting and not our Mum’s, but the fairytale of having our own glamorous B & B style accommodation to show off, crammed with Molton Brown goodies and downy bedding complete with a battle through the carefully unmatched Colefax and Fowler-esque throw pillows, still holds strong. As a seeker of holiday accommodation, friends that have guest rooms such as these are clearly sought after.
I have just returned to my Antiguan home after a bed-hopping (in the cleanest sense) 3 weeks in Europe. It was very well planned in advance, after all I was landing on various doorsteps with a husband, 2 children and enough luggage to cater for 3 weeks of varying climates.
As a guest it is hugely important to make a great impression so that you are still friends with your friends afterwards. As for the host, it would be rude not to make an effort yet positively delightful to spoil your guests rotten.
I was brought up to stand on ceremony but this is not at all the way forward in these situations anymore. You need to jump right in from the start and make yourself an indispensable member of the household so that you all cohabit as seamlessly as possible in a possibly awkward situation.
Good Guest Graces:
1. Be über-careful not to damage the walls with your luggage during the excitement of your arrival.
2. Make up your bed every morning as soon as you get up and keep your room immaculately tidy.
3. Don’t clutter up your hosts house – keep your toiletries in your washbag, in your room.
4. Have a couple of personal tried-and-tested recipes with you so that you can offer to shop and cook and serve a main course and dessert to your host family at least once (if you are only staying for one night perhaps you could have a genius pancake recipe for breakfast).
5. Find your way around their kitchen and unload the dishwasher and clean up. If they offer to do some laundry for you, be one step ahead and have everything dried and folded before they notice.
6. Bring gifts when you arrive and post a handwritten thank you card after you have left.
If being the guest is like a Tom Collins – cool and refreshing, then the host(ess) should be the Espresso Martini – charming and surprising while allowing a brief glimpse into the ingredients of your home and life.
After all, it is your home and you are not the one trying to find a colander while the rice bubbles over or looking for a nearby supermarket that might supply you with an unusual chocolate torte that you can pawn off as your own creation.
1. Your home should be clean and tidy with a bed made up for your weary travelling friends. Offer them a drink as soon as they arrive!
2. It is nice to allocate them an empty peg to put their coat on by the door, and an empty drawer or closet space in their room.
3. Towels – make sure you lay out fresh towels.
4. Have dinner planned and prepared for the first night at least. You know that you will be gossiping and catching up on old times, so you don’t want to end up with a Pollock-style smorgasbord instead of a nice homely dinner with a few glasses of wine.
5. Fresh flowers, a couple of nice toiletries, an alarm clock, box of tissues, waste paper basket, reading material and a bottle of water all add an OTT touch while making you and them feel good.
6. Have a thoughtful gift prepared in their room, especially if they have travelled from afar.
Eleanor Roosevelt said ‘The only advantage of not being too good a housekeeper is that your guests are so pleased to feel how very much better they are.’
At the end of the day, before everyone slips into bed, maybe a Baileys or a wee dram and some shared stories and chuckles are what we all need – less about being perfect and more about sharing some time, after all nobody has to drive home.