We’re new to the whole houseguest thing, but boy, are we making up for lost time. The past few months have seen five visits from friends and family (including one visit of SEVEN people at once). We did our best to be good hosts, but I confess that every trip included at least one day where one of us wanted to curl into the fetal position until everyone went home. This is what I’ve learned (the hard way):
1. Know your visitors. Don’t expect anyone to do something that you suspect they won’t be comfortable doing. Friend has a fear of driving in a strange city? Accept it and be prepared to chauffeur — or line up other people who will.
2. Hire a housecleaner. We didn’t, and the stress of doing a last-minute deep clean on top of making beds and putting out towels and blowing up air mattresses almost did us in.
3. Don’t buy too much food ahead of time. Once everyone has settled in a bit, make the first outing a trip to the grocery store. Everyone will have what they like to eat — and they’ll chip in for provisions, too.
4. Be realistic about your plans. I had visions of how I would WOW my visitors with the best of Seattle each day. And then I spent more time stressing over trying to fit it all in than enjoying being with the people who were also there to see me. Really, planning one outing per day is FINE.
5. But do plan. Ask people what kinds of things they want to do when in town — Outdoorsy? Touristy? Shopping? — and make a daily schedule ahead of time. You can always dump the schedule later, but it will save time and brain cells by not having the “I don’t know, what do you want to do?” conversation each day.
So those are my tips. What are yours? –Mary T.