Modern and minimalist guest room with a comfortable bed, side tables, a lamp, a suitcase, and a plant for a cozy stay for a houseguest while traveling.

19 Simple and Helpful Tips for Being a Good Houseguest While Traveling in 2024

Looking for the best and most helpful tips for being a good houseguest while traveling? Look no further! 

​​Being a houseguest has its own set of rules and expectations, and it can sometimes be a little confusing to know exactly what to do when you’re staying at someone’s place to cause the least disruption. 

From thinking of how to bring up staying with them to figuring out how to least disrupt their routines and respect the shared spaces and other houseguest etiquette rules – there are a few things to remember when staying at a friend’s house while traveling.

As a traveler for 10+ years, I’ve had my fair share of experiences being a houseguest with friends and family members. Today, I will share personal anecdotes and practical tips on how to have the best experience as a houseguest while traveling.

Whether you’re staying with family or a friend abroad, this post will help you understand everything from setting expectations with your host that work for you both to how to least disrupt their routines and make the overall experience a great one.

Let’s get to it! 

19 Simple and Helpful Tips for Being a Good Houseguest While Traveling

1. Ask first if you can stay with your friend

A houseguest during travel demonstrates thoughtful planning by marking a specific date with a pink highlighter on a desk calendar, ensuring they are considerate of their host's schedule and important events.

First and foremost, make sure your host (who may be your friend or family member) can host you during the dates you’re thinking about being in town. 

Just because we are really good friends with our friends, we should never assume that they will be ready to host us whenever we’re around. 

Share with your friends that you’ll be in town on specific dates, and kindly (and clearly) ask if they can host you. 

Consider your friend’s own timeline and schedule as you have that conversation with them the sooner, the better. 

2. Establish how long you’ll be staying

After you clear up the dates you’ll be in town, make sure to share if it will just be you staying or if you are bringing someone else or a pet. 

It’s important to be clear with your friends to see if they can accommodate you and your possible plus 1. 

No one likes these surprises the day of, so the sooner you share/ask, the better it is for everyone. 

3. Clearly share your travel plans

Houseguest during travel is engrossed in planning adventures, with a hand holding a pen over a spiral notebook, another hand navigating a smartphone, all laid out next to a detailed city map, highlighting organization skills.

If your friend is offering you a space in their home while you’re visiting, be sure to share your arrival and departure times. 

Let them know if you’ll travel via airplane, train, or car. If any delays occur while you’re traveling, make sure to let your host know to avoid any mix-ups – especially if they offer to pick you up.

Let them know what you plan to do while you’re in town – whether it’s sightseeing in the city, taking a day trip or two, or wanting to spend time with them – be clear about that too. 

Being a good houseguest involves clear communication, understanding itineraries, personal schedules, being adaptable, and being mindful of each other’s experiences. 

Knowing your role as a visitor, them as a host, and seeing what can be done to make it a good experience for you both. 

4. Bring a gift to your host

If our friends let us stay at their place, thus helping us save a good amount of money, the least we can do is bring a gift.

While there are many ideas online about what you can buy a host in gratitude for staying at their place, I also suggest the following as good gifts to consider.

  • Chocolates 
  • A local treat from your city/country
  • A set of kitchen towels or something practical for their kitchen
  • A nice room spray or candle 
  • Magnets, postcards, coffee table books, or artwork from your city/country 
  • A customized gift of your pick (Etsy has a ton of great host gifts!)
  • A travel-themed gift if they are also travelers 
  • If they have pets or children, consider bringing them a gift

Gifts should be small but thoughtful; not only are they special, but they also don’t cost you extra suitcase space.

For example, I’ve brought my friend a tin box of chocolates and a bag of hot Cheetos while traveling with only a carry-on and backpack because I know that’s what she’d like.

But if you’re looking for more ideas, I have more to share on my FREE GUIDE – How To Be A Good Houseguest – A Gift Guide, which you can download below for free.

5. Be mindful of your host’s schedule and be respectful of their home 

Organizational skills are key to Being a Good Houseguest While Traveling, depicted by a neatly laid out weekly planner with a 'MONTH' and 'WEEK' section visible, a blank notebook for additional notes, a wooden pencil, all complemented by a comforting knit blanket and a mug of coffee.

It’s important to remember that while you are on vacation, your host is not. 

They may have work commitments and routines, and it would be weird to sleep in when they’re trying to get ready for the day. 

Consider your host’s schedule, whether that’s their work schedule, meal schedule, or other commitments throughout the time, you’ll be staying at their home.  

Adapt to their schedule so you won’t run into awkward moments of taking up the bathroom when they usually need it to shower or getting ready for the day. 

Similarly, your friends cannot easily take the day off from work to show you around, and you may make your own plans. 

If you’re going to be staying at your friend’s place, remember it’s not going to be ok to show up super late to their place at night or, worse, with more than a few drinks in your system. 

It should go without saying, but similarly, don’t bring strangers to your host’s home. 

6. Be independent 

Balance spending time with your host (especially if they are your friends) and giving them space. 

It can be tricky because though it’s important to leave the house, not rely on your host to entertain you and be self-sufficient, it’s also important to remember to spend time with your host and be present with them when you are together. 

You don’t want to make them feel like you’re treating their home as a hotel, or worse, that you’re using them for just their home.

When I visited and stayed with my friend in Madrid, we were clear about giving each other space during the days when we both worked – she would stay at home while I went to a coffee shop. Then I’d go around the city exploring as I wanted.

Then, we’d meet up for lunch or after a specified time to hang out for the rest of the evening. 

7. Do your part in helping keep the communal spaces clean

The essence of a houseguest during travel captured in the act of meticulously rolling denim jeans and packing bright yellow and blue clothing, alongside essential electronic gadgets and a stylish straw hat, into a spacious gray suitcase on a white bedspread.

Help keep the communal spaces, kitchen, and bathrooms tidy as you found them, if not better. 

For example, if you have long hair when you shower, make sure to clean the drain and shower floor of your hair, replenish the toilet paper rolls, and offer to take out the trash and wash the dishes. 

If they don’t let you wash their dishes, at least wash your own.

As the guest, avoid putting you and your host in awkward situations in which the host has to remind you of basic housekeeping. 

Don’t let it get to that point by doing your part. 

8. Keep your sleeping area tidy 

Similar to help keep the home tidy, every day, as soon as you get yourself ready for the day, don’t forget to organize your space and make the bed. 

Be careful not to leave clothes on the floor or shoes everywhere, creating messes. 

Your host will appreciate you keeping their space clean and organized, as it shows respect for their home. 

If you’re sleeping on the couch or a mattress in the living room, make sure to take the bed down and fold and store all the blankets and sheets in a corner where they won’t be in the way of using the living room. 

If you’re staying in a room with a door, close the door so that your host’s home doesn’t look cluttered with additional items. 

Whenever I stay with friends, I try to put everything back in my suitcase after I’ve gotten dressed and ready. I also pack up all my other toiletries and items and put them all in one corner of the space with my suitcase.

Treat the place as if it were your own (or better) – it’s the golden rule. 

9. Bring your own toiletries 

A considerate houseguest during travel packs a brown toiletry bag with personal care essentials, featuring bottles, a comb, and a soft towel, arranged on a muted beige background, signifying neatness and preparedness.

While your host may offer you a bed, sheets, and maybe a towel, it’s important to come prepared with toiletries and personal hygiene products. 

Things like your own shampoo/conditioner, body wash, and face wash, along with your skincare, are things you should bring for yourself to avoid finishing your host’s products, even if they offer them to you. 

10. Follow the house rules

Whether removing your shoes by the door or specific meal times that you said you’d join your host(s) for, ensure you’re not interrupting their normal flow too much by not following any established house rules. 

11. Be mindful of quiet hours 

Being a Good Houseguest While Traveling involves caring for the hosting space, illustrated by a woman in a mustard blouse sitting on the edge of a bed, reaching out to gently water a green potted plant on a nightstand, enhancing the cozy ambiance of the room.

Along with remembering your host’s schedule, being mindful of the quiet hours is very important so you don’t disrupt your host’s work or children’s sleep schedules. 

Don’t be too loud too early or too late into the night. 

12. Share if you have any food allergies/intolerance

If your friend/host doesn’t know it yet, and you have some kind of allergy/intolerance or special diet, it’s important to share that to avoid awkward group meals at their home or potentially getting sick while staying there. 

Not disclosing my own allergies/intolerances in the past has led me to feel uncomfortable while staying at a friend’s house, which was not fun for both of us. 

I used to think it was weird to share any kind of allergies/intolerances I had, mostly because I didn’t want to bother them with these extra dietary restrictions that they would adapt to while I was there.

However, not speaking these things out loud, to begin with, will create problems that neither you nor your host want to deal with, so it’s best to get over it and just let them know. 

13. Offer to cook at least one meal or treat your host to a meal out

Sharing a homemade meal is part of Being a Good Houseguest While Traveling, as seen in this delectable dish of spaghetti aglio e olio adorned with fresh greens, presented on a ceramic plate set on a white table, ready to be enjoyed.

It’s always a kind gesture when you can offer to cook your host a meal and share it together at least once during your stay. 

Ask them what they’d like, or surprise them by saying you’d like to make dinner one of the nights you’re there. It’s memorable and kind, to say the least. 

If cooking is not your thing, you could invite them to dinner or brunch on the weekend or offer to buy takeout. Tell them you’d like to treat them to have dinner or brunch out, and if they recommend a place, go there. 

Cooking or treating them to a meal can mean a lot. It is a sign to them that you’re enjoying your stay and are grateful for the space. It makes them happy that you’re enjoying your experience.

14. Behave and dress appropriately

A houseguest during travel relaxes in a polka-dot pajama set, capturing a cheerful moment with a selfie, while seated on a brown couch adorned with decorative pillows, embodying a carefree and respectful temporary residence.

You’ll be sharing spaces with your host and their family, possibly, so it’s important to dress appropriately and behave normally, and not like you usually would if you were alone at your place. 

That means wearing appropriate sleepwear/loungewear, slippers, not swearing in front of kids, etc. 

15. Don’t be wasteful of your host’s resources

Whether it’s food, towels, water, or anything you’re being offered during your stay at your friend’s place, be mindful not to overuse or waste any resources. 

This goes for food, towels, toiletries, etc.  

16. Restock anything you may have finished 

Being a Good Houseguest While Traveling can include contributing to the household, depicted by a grocery store shelf stocked with various baking ingredients like flour and sugar, under a sign labeling 'Bake items', in a well-lit, organized shopping environment.

Restocking some of the snacks, drinks, or other items that you may have helped finish while staying at your friend’s house is a nice gesture, and a way to say thank you for sharing their space and resources with you.

17. Whatever you use, put it back exactly where you found it  

It’s pretty self-explanatory, but this goes hand in hand with keeping the space tidy and organized and better (if possible) than how you found it. 

Don’t rearrange their things; whatever you take out, remember where it goes and put it back where you found it.

18. Socialize and be present with your host 

Two friends share a light-hearted moment over coffee in a brightly-lit living room, embodying the key aspects of Being a Good Houseguest While Traveling with their comfortable and engaged interaction in a homely setting

When you both have time to spend together, whether it’s over a meal or just hanging out, spending time with your host is a good idea, especially if they are your friends.

If they make dinner, put your phone away and enjoy the moment with your host. 

If your host can take a couple of days off to show you around town, spend that quality time with them. 

If you forget to spend a couple of days with your host (or don’t at all), it can come across that you are using them for their place while ignoring their company.

19. Vocalize your gratitude for staying at your friend’s place

While visiting and staying at your friend’s place, make sure to vocalize your gratitude for sharing their space with you. 

Some houseguests like to leave a note or send a text thanking the host for their hospitality at the end of their stay. 

It’s a kind gesture that will leave your hosts with a good impression and hopefully keep the door open for any other future hosting. 

19 tips for being a good houseguest while traveling Q&A

– What are some tips for being a good guest in another country?

Be adaptable to the local traditions, routines, food, and language that you’ll be surrounded by if you’re planning on being a houseguest in another country. 

Your host is willing to offer you a space in their home in a foreign country. If they are married or have a family, chances are their routines will be influenced by local culture in some way, whether it’s the food they eat or meal times. 

As a houseguest, ensure you’re aware of this, and be ready to adapt (and learn) to live differently than usual – this could be fun! 

– When Staying with Friends or Friends-of-Friends, what are the best ways to be an awesome house-guest?

Be a good communicator the minute the arrangement has been done. 

Let them know the dates of your travels and times of arrival clearly, who you’ll be traveling with (if applicable), travel plans, and much more. 

Be respectful of their home, adaptable to their schedule, treat them to a meal, and leave the space better than how you found it. 

– As a traveler staying with friend’s, how do you show your respect for your host and their home?

Being clean, organized, self-sufficient, and vocalizing your gratitude for your host’s hospitality are all great ways to show respect of your host’s schedule and home. 

– How can I be a good houseguest during a week long stay?

The same rules and tips in this post apply whether you’re staying for 3 days, or you’re staying for a week long. 

The big thing will always be communication, cleanliness, organization, and respect for your host and their home. 

As someone who has stayed with friends for up to a week, it’s good to remember to try to blend in with the host’s lifestyle, contribute to household activities, and sustain independence in transportation and entertainment to avoid imposing on the host.

The Wrap-Up: 19 tips for being a good Houseguest while traveling 

Three friends embracing each other in camaraderie, walking through a subway station as houseguests during travel, pulling along their suitcases and symbolizing the journey and connection inherent in travel.

These are my best tips on being a good houseguest while traveling, based on personal experience and what other friends have shared with me. 

Being a good houseguest essentially means being mindful and respectful, whatever that means to you and your host. 

As a recap, the best 19 tips for being a good houseguest while traveling are:

  • Ask first if you can stay with your friend
  • Establish how long you’ll be staying
  • Clearly share your travel plans
  • Bring a gift
  • Be mindful of your host’s schedule
  • Be independent
  • Be tidy and clean 
  • Bring your own toiletries 
  • Follow the house rules
  • Share if you have any food allergies/intolerance
  • Offer to cook at least one meal or treat your host to a meal out
  • Behave and dress appropriately 
  • Keep your sleeping area tidy
  • Be mindful of quiet hours 
  • Don’t be wasteful 
  • Restock anything you may have finished 
  • Whatever you use, put it back exactly where you found it
  • Socialize and be present with your host 
  • Vocalize your gratitude for staying at your friend’s place

As a reminder, don’t arrive empty-handed to your host, and remember to bring one of the many gift ideas on my free houseguest gifting guide, which you can download below!

My biggest house guest etiquette tip is to always communicate with your host. Just as you must be mindful and respectful, they will reciprocate by giving you privacy and whatever you need for a comfortable stay. 

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