With that in mind I want to make sure I do everything I can to ease my friend’s burden when we stay with them in Europe this fall.
After all, they are giving me free lodging; the least I can do is not overstay my welcome. I want these people to still be my friends after our trip.
Here are a few tips I’ll try to keep in mind while we house hop.
- Have your own list of things you want to see. Don’t assume your host will be able to entertain you 24/7, or that they can read your mind and know what would interest you.
- Talk about expectations ahead of time. Find out what your friend’s schedule is before you leave so you don’t assume they will be available for you on a certain day when they actually have to help in their kid’s classroom or attend a pottery class.
- Be respectful of their schedules. Even though you are on vacation, they may have to get up early for work in the morning. They can’t be out partying with you all night long.
- Plan a few day trips without your friends so you can all get a break from each other.
- Pitch in for groceries or buy your own food. Don’t expect your friends to house you AND feed you for your entire stay.
- Offer to help prepare meals or do some easy household chores. You are staying for free; don’t assume maid service is included.
- Take your host out to their favorite restaurant. This is a great thank you gesture, and will also get you out and eating like a local.
- If they have children, offer to babysit one night so your friends can get out of the house and have a date alone with each other.
- Before you leave, throw your sheets and towels in the washing machine. Even if you don’t run the machine, this is one more thing that your host doesn’t have to do and will speed up their ability to put their house back together after you leave.
- Above all else, keep the lines of communication open. Don’t avoid talking about a problem. Face it together and then move on so you can all enjoy your stay.
Remember, good house guests get invited back, rude and presumptuous ones don’t.
Bonus Tip: Have the name of a local hotel in your back pocket. Even the best of friends sometimes can’t share the same space. There is nothing wrong with that. Your friendship is always more important than a free night’s stay.