It's that time of year when people love to travel...not so much to far away lands, but to simply visit friends and relatives, or to check out a new city within the country they live in. If you live in a major city in the United States, you are liable to have requests to host a friend or two. Hey, if you live in another country, you're not exempt from having international visitors pop-up, either. With travel becoming widely popular to those who at one point, didn't care to travel, budgeting and cutting corners is a big deal to many. That's right! You're friends...or acquaintances (queue someone messaging you, "Hey big head.") may be hitting you up to crash on your couch...or your bed (no judgement).
Here are some ways you can avoid being a douchebag host:
1. Understand the type of guest you are going to have.
Open the lines of communication with your guest. Are they self-sufficient? Do they need you to show them around? This will help you avoid either over-planning and packing their itinerary. I, for one, am a person who pretty much sets my own itinerary when visiting a city. I just need somewhere to comfortably lay my head. If the host would like to come along, or provide some suggestions for improving my itinerary, that'd be great. Otherwise, there's no need to plan for me. I'm a low-maintenance kind of guest.
2. Don't be the "That's a tourist spot..." guy.
News Flash: Your guest is a tourist! I'm sure they know what the tourist spots are. That's why they'd like to see them. These places, though annoying to locals, are fascinating to visitors. For instance, Times Square is no doubt a portal to hell for those who live in New York City. However, it'd be a lie for any of the transplants to say they weren't eager to see Times Square at one point in time. Let your guests be great! And if you can, suck it up and take them.
When I come to your city to visit, and you tell me, "Oh no, that's a tourist spot," that is my queue to escape from your company and see what I want to see on my own terms. In most cases, it's just a matter of being a good sport, guys.
3. Don't be selfish
Having visitors in town is not a time to monopolize their stay with a whole bunch of activities you have been meaning to do yourself. Have the dialogue with your guests and let them know that you have a couple activities you've been wanting to do, and ask if they'd like to tag along. More than likely, they'll be interested. If not, just wait until another friend or guest is interested. If I come to Los Angeles to visit for the first time, I want to see the Hollywood sign! I'd rather not be sitting in a cafe with you listening to super woke spoken word and eating finger foods.
On the flip side, this would be a perfect opportunity to introduce them to some of your favorite hangout spots. If they see you on social media having a good time at certain places, they probably will be more than willing to attend with you. When friends come to NYC, and their stay includes a Monday night, I most likely take them to my favorite open mic. Or, it may be as simple as offering to take them to your favorite restaurants. It's all about compromise and accommodation.
This should go without saying. Clean your damn place! If your guest feels like they need to wear shower shoes in your two-toned bathtub, because the floor of it looks like a skid mark, there's a damn problem. You shouldn't feel inconvenienced...you should feel ashamed!
If you are generally a clean person, but your home just gets a little messy because it's been a busy week, that's understandable. But dirt and nastiness...come on!
5. Give them the Wi-Fi information
You know the question is coming, so just go ahead and beat them to it...
6. Provide disclaimers upfront.
Things you should probably let your guests know before they come visit:
- "Hey, my boyfriend/girlfriend is staying with me, as well."
- "Hey, I don't have a couch or extra bed, so are you okay sleeping on the floor?"
- "I don't have air conditioning."