Benjamin Franklin once said that like fish, houseguests will start to smell after three days, and no one wants to be a fish, let alone a bad smelling one. Are you planning to stay with friends and family while traveling? Make it a pleasant experience for them, not a chore.


Show up on time

When you’re dealing with people who work full-time and don’t have spare apartment keys, this is super important. If your host is expecting you at a certain time, stick to it. If you’re running late, be sure to call ahead and let them know when you’ll be arriving. Messing up your host’s schedule won’t make a good first impression.

Bring a (small) gift

Bringing a gift for your host is always good etiquette. Opt for something you and your host can enjoy together, like a reasonably priced bottle of wine (no clean skins!), a box of chocolates or some baked goods (your own or from a top notch artesian bakery). Not one for sharing food? Try something small for the house instead – low maintenance houseplants, flowers or scented candles are a safe choice.

Run over the house rules

If you don’t know – ask. Can you wear your shoes indoors? Can you keep your bedroom windows open during the day? What parts of the house are off-limits? Is the house smoke-friendly? All hosts are different. You want to feel at home, but you should be mindful of your space and how your stay can affect your hosts’ movements around their own space, too.

Respect common areas

No one, I repeat, no one likes a guest who takes over the living room. If you’re crashing in a common area or on the sofa, make sure your sleeping area is made up and tidied before you leave for the day. Find somewhere to stow away your bags and clothing items that’s not in the way. If your host isn’t tripping over your stuff or having to make your bed for you, you’re bound to get a return invite to stay over.

Pitch in 

Extra people means extra work around the house, so be sure to pitch in where you can – or where you should. Offer to help with dinner, set the table, walk the dog, do odd jobs and chores around the house, fold laundry, or run to the supermarket, and give your host some extra money for groceries if they’re cooking for you. If your host refuses, they’re probably just trying to be polite, and at least you’ll know you offered. Note: things that should be done without mention include bringing dishes to the sink after eating (or stacking in the dishwasher) and putting the toilet seat down – seriously.

Bring your own toiletries

Towels and bedding should be on hand when you arrive, but no one likes a moocher. Make sure you’ve packed accordingly and have your own toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, moisturisers et al. It’s just good manners.

Leave everything as you found it

Say no more.

Leave a thank you note or gift

Whether you spent much time with your host or not, giving them a memento of your time together is a nice touch. Show your gratitude with a handwritten thank you note, a(nother) bottle of wine, a gift card from their favourite stationery store, or a nostalgic photo of you and your host in a quirky, vintage frame. If you think you’ve scoped out their personal style enough during your stay, try your luck at a wall hanging, original artwork or throw. They’ve opened up their home for you, it’s the least you can do.


The weather is cooling down – dream of sunnier days with this gorgeous beachside holiday home.