welcome-signHospitality is something we rarely think about until we’re preparing to welcome someone new into our home; but did you know that hospitality is an ancient and sacred practice? From Christianity to Islam, Hinduism, and Judaism, most major religions treat hospitality as a way to worship God and honor our relationships with others. So, how do we practice hospitality today? One important way is to make your guests feel comfortable, particularly those who are staying overnight. Here are some tips for being an excellent host.

Share information

  • Where things are. Give them the tour and let them know where they can find essentials like the kitchen garbage can, extra rolls of toilet tissue, etc.
  • How stuff works. Make sure guests can operate the TV, security system, and any other household gadgets they might need.
  • The Wi-Fi password. In our digital age, it would be rude to make your guests use up all welcome wifitheir data! Think about posting your Wi-Fi network name and password in your guest room or family room so that your friends can check their email during their stay.
  • Your schedule. If you have to work or have other commitments while visitors are in town, make sure they know about it so you can make the most out of your time together.
  • Local hot spots. Depending on your schedules, your guests may have some time to explore your area on their own. Telling them your favorite restaurants, shop and hangouts will ensure they have a great trip.

Stock Up

  • Toiletries. Some guests prefer their own shampoo and conditioner while others don’t want to weigh down their luggage with toiletries. Either way, make sure you’re stocked with enough basic toiletries to offer guests their own set. Keep a few new, still-in-package toothbrushes around for those forgetful friends!
  • Linens. If you can, keep your guest room ready with clean sheets and towels. If they start to feel stale, you can refresh them by trying this old vinegar and baking soda trick.
  • Local delicacies and products. The best part of travelling can be trying new things. Let your guests enjoy the best of what your city has to offer! Here in Salem, that means Heggy’s candy to satisfy a sweet tooth and Udder Cream to sooth dry skin.

Create a Space

  • Privacy and Comfort. No matter if you have a guest room or not, try to create a space with a modicum of privacy and all the essentials your guests will need, including pillows and blankets, a glass or bottle of water, and an outlet where they can charge their gadgets. If you’re sharing a small bathroom, consider providing your guests with a shower tote (remember those from camp?) to maximize space.
  • A place to unpack. Living out of a suitcase is tough. Consider providing a luggage rack or cleaning out some space in a closet or a dresser that remains empty and designated for guests.

Communicate

  • Set Boundaries: People like to know the ground rules going into any situation—that includes staying at someone else’s house. Should they avoid the shower between 7:00 and 8:00 so you can get ready for work? Are they allowed to help themselves to the contents of the fridge? Can they adjust the thermostat? Talking about these things early in a visit can prevent a lot of awkwardness later on.
  • Talk about dates. Guests who overstay their welcome can turn a gracious host into a grumpy and grudging one. Make sure you know ahead of time when your guests plan to arrive and depart, and make sure you are there for your guests on each day.
    • For Arrival: Eat or shower? These are the two activities travelers look forward to most when arriving at a destination. Make sure you’ve allotted time for them to do either or both before you get to chatting or site seeing.
    • For Departure: Make sure your guests haven’t left anything behind and that they have what they need for the next leg of their journey. Offering snacks for the road or printing a boarding pass can make your friends feel welcome, even as they say goodbye.

Last but not least, remember to have fun! If you’ve opened your home to someone it is probably because you enjoy spending time with them. Don’t stay so busy cooking and cleaning that you forget what makes your house a home—family and friends.