How to prepare for hosting house guests for an overnight, weekend or longer. Here are 8 essential things you need to do before your visitors arrive!
Hosting family or friends for an overnight or an even longer extended period of time can be stressful, but with a little preparation, you can make your guests feel like you’ve gone above and beyond to extend a warm welcome to your home!
Having lived in prime vacation spots of Southern California and South West Florida, I’ve luckily have had my fair share of overnight guests, and with a few hours of preparation and planning, you can make your guests’ trip a fun and memorable experience.
Here are my top 8 tips to make your guests feel extra special and to be crowned the queen of hospitality!
1. Clean Your Entire Home
Yes, I know this is #1, a basic “must do” before opening your home to guests, and #2, it may be the worst part of hosting. Unfortunately, it’s a fact of life…no one wants to hang out in a messy house!
So, do your best to put on a smile and get the job done! My go-to method to make it more fun…pump up the music! It’s basically an upgrade to Snow White’s philosophy of “whistling while you work”.
Crank up the jams and you’ll be done before you know it!
Or better yet, pay someone to do it for you, or if you are on a budget like me, wrangle those kids who live at your house to lend a hand!
2. Prep the Guest Spaces
After you’ve tidied your home with a thorough cleaning, it’s time to zero in on prepping the guest room or space you have set aside for visitors. Before your guests arrive you want to be sure your guest room is not only warm and inviting, but also has all the conveniences of home.
As a host, there are a few things to remember to do before the visit. Be sure you have a comfy bed with clean sheets. I also add a few extra pillows and blankets…the goal is for your house guests to feel like they are at “home” away from home!
Bonus Points Round -A few other helpful items to have available in your guest’s bedroom:
- A Spare House Key – so your visitor can have easy access to your home and come and go as they please
- Electric Fan or Sound Machine – to help with any extraneous night noises
- Mini Fridge – stocked with beverages and snacks…if you don’t have a mini-fridge be sure to leave a few water bottles bedside in the guest room.
- Vacant Drawers, Closet Space, or Luggage Rack
- Power Strip, Extra Charger, Charging Pad
- Digital Clock
- Nightlight for hallway or bathrooms
- Wifi Info – I have it printed, framed, and posted in the room.
Another area you will want to be sure is fully prepped is the guest bathroom. Having plenty of clean towels and washcloths is an absolute must.
I leave out dark-colored washcloths so when your guest removes makeup or washes their face they are not worried about leaving any stains. I even put out a little sign with a few reminders!
Don’t forget to have extra toilet paper and a plunger somewhere that is easily accessible. (I store mine under the guest bathroom sink). Having these extra touches will save your guest from any bathroom embarrassment!
The way I keep track of all of these prep tasks is with a handy dandy printable checklist.
3. Make Them Feel Welcome
Nothing says “We are so glad you are here” like leaving a little welcome gift. Whether it’s flowers, a journal, a favorite book, or locally made chocolates. A small gesture can really make a big impression!
I even hang up printable welcome signs to really shower my friends and family with attention …yes, I know, I’m definitely in the running for the cheesy hostess award!
At the end of the day, creating a vibe of hospitality is the ultimate goal.
4. “Just in Case” Basket
Another suggestion for making your guests feel cared for is to leave a basket of “just in case” items.
It is practically inevitable that when traveling, something gets left at home or was overlooked while packing. Creating a basket filled with toiletries and essentials will ensure that your visitor has everything they need.
Not sure what to put in your basket? I’ve got a printable checklist that is part of my “Impress Your Guests” Printable Pack.
An idea similar to the “Just in Case” basket is to make a guest hospitality cart. I love this idea from Craftaholics Anonymous because it’s so darn cute and easily rolled away and stored out of sight when you are not hosting.
5. Empower Your Guests to Explore
Since we live in a prime location for vacationing, I also leave a Welcome Binder filled with all sorts of nearby points of interest and local information so anyone who visits will feel excited and empowered to explore!
My welcome binder has just about everything any guest would need to have a comfortable stay.
It’s filled with suggestions for restaurants, places to see, and Insta-worthy photo spots, along with take-out menus, attraction pamphlets, and many other helpful tips and activity ideas.
6. Focus on Food
Being a good host not only means preparing the space ahead of time, but also having plenty of food and beverages for your guests.
Prior to guests arriving, I always ask in advance about any dietary preferences or restrictions and also verify if there are any food allergies or sensitivities.
Once you have that information, it’s time to plan your menu and stock your kitchen. Meal planning ahead of time will save not only time but also any unnecessary stress!
Depending on how hands-on you want to be as a hostess, you can plan out what you will be serving for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…and you know I have a printable for that!
It’s nice for your guests to know what to expect when it comes to meals and food.
Another hostess tip…set up a spot in your kitchen for self-serve coffee, tea, and snacks so your guests can grab what they need whenever they want!
7. Show Them the Town
Before your guests arrive get a pulse on what they are hoping to do while they are in town.
It’s your job as a host to highlight the best parts of your location by exploring local nightspots and dining at favorite restaurants. Show them the best your area has to offer!
I have an editable/fillable template that will help you plan all of your activities in the “Impress Your Guests” Printable Pack
8. Plan for “Down Time”
As fun as exploring a new area can be, don’t forget to leave some time in the schedule open for rest and hanging out. Having some downtime is essential too! No vacation is complete without some good ole R&R!
Providing books, magazines, playing cards, activity books (sudoku, crosswords, word search, etc), and movies are all nice extra touches to encourage relaxation.
With a little planning and preparation, your visitors will feel like the distinguished guests of honor that they are, leaving your only hosting dilemma being your guests wanting to stay longer than you expected!
If you are wanting to streamline your prep, I’ve done all the legwork for you with the “Impress Your Guests” Printable Pack that you can find more info about here.
Until next time, cheers to being the ultimate hostess with the mostest, and cheers to you! 🥂
P.S. – Feeling insecure about hosting guests at your home? I’ve got a little pep talk for you here that will help you get over any hospitality anxiety you might have!