How to be a Better House Guest: DOs and DON’Ts


Staying with someone is a great way to save money while traveling. But there are a few things you should keep in mind if you want to be a better house guest.

Whether you are an overnight couchsurfer, or are staying for months on end with someone, the most important thing to remember is that you are traveling and your hosts are not.

They probably have work to get done, chores to do, bedtimes and things that they want to watch on television.

As someone who has traveled a lot, and also someone who has played hostess to a never-ending line of traveling friends, here is my list of easy ways to be a better house guest.

How to be a better house guest

Don’t make a mess

Keep your things neat and tidy, even if your host is a slob. Even sloppy folks have their own organization systems, whether you can see them or not. This should really go without saying, but please, keep an eye on what you’re putting down on the counter or in the bathroom — and pick up after yourself. Make your bed every morning. Try to keep your luggage from exploding all over the floor.

Want to be a better house guest? It starts with being aware.

Throw in some money for food

If you can afford to, throw in for rent or food while you’re there.

Help replace the things you’re helping to use up, whether it’s toilet paper, a six-pack of beer, or snacks. Most homes throughout the world are on some budget or another, and when you add an extra person to that, it can be stressful.

Do your own dishes and laundry

For the love of god, do your own dishes. There is nothing more disgusting and disheartening than waking up to a sink full of someone else’s dirty dishes.

If you make your host’s life hard while you’re staying there, not only will they be far less likely to invite you back, but they will also be far less likely to house the next person who comes through town.

Don’t monopolize electronic equipment

I know, I know, you haven’t checked your email in a week and there’s this show you want to watch and everyone needs some down-time every once in a while… but this is your host’s home! Make sure that you aren’t hogging things that they use regularly.

If you’ve already watched a whole movie, played video games for an hour, or been online for an hour or more, it’s time to shut it down!

Have fun with your host when you are a guest. Be a better house guest by hanging out with your host.

Hang out with your host

There are things you want to see and do while you’re here, include your host in your plans!

They agreed to have you sleep in their home, and that’s probably because they like hanging out with you. You don’t have to take them everywhere or work all of your plans around their work schedules, but make it a point to include them in a few things while you’re there. At the very least, give them the option to come with you.

Know when to give them some space

If you’ve been in someone’s home for more than a few days, plan to spend a whole day somewhere else, preferably while your host will be able to utilize the time. If you know it’s your host’s day off and you don’t have plans with them, make your own plans and let them be in their own space for a while without you.

Be quiet at night

If your host (or their neighbors) are in bed, you should be quiet.
Beyond all of the above, always adhere to the rules of the house.

Be courteous and abide by the ground rules (stated or implied) your host lives by.

They don’t smoke in the house, you don’t smoke in the house. If they don’t watch television, you don’t watch television. They recycle, you recycle. Ask about house rules when you arrive so that you are less likely to offend.

Leave the space better than you found it

That might mean doing a full clean while your host is away. It might mean just cleaning out their fridge or re-organizing it. What can you do that your host would appreciate? What can you do to show your appreciation? Asking these questions makes you be a better house guest.

What would you add to this list? What do you do to be a better house guest?

Image link.


About Author

Kat is pretty awesome. She has spent most of her life in California, but has both driven and Greyhounded across the U.S., zigzagging hither and thither, come hell or high water, snowstorm or hurricane or heatwave. She is a Sales & Marketing Assistant by day in the heart of the tourist industry of San Francisco, slam poet and wife and superhero by night. You can check out her personal blog at


  1. Add? Oh yes, if they use up my favorite shampoo and body lotion and leave the empty bottle in the bathroom. All your tips are common sense and common courtesy and itÄs a shame really that they need to be spelt out, but it’s a good thing you did. And this: bring a hostess gift, either when you arrive or when you leave.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention How to be a Good House Guest: DOs and DON’Ts — Go! Girl Guides --

  3. Excellent tips. I have a horror story for you!
    I had a horrible guest here over Christmas. He broke a lot of these rules- the biggest ones being the dishes and not chipping in for anything. Not only did he not offer to help out with ANYTHING during his 1 week stay, he also showed up without any toiletries of his own and expected to use MINE.

    He always left his dirty dishes as well. Twice, I cooked us both dinner and he left me with the dishes. Beyond rude.

    But you did miss one I would like to add- Don’t expect your host to be your personal tour guide. This guy wanted me to be with him, 24/7, showing him the sights and acting as his tour guide and translator. I found myself making up meetings and spending time in parks instead of my own home just to avoid him.

  4. One of the worst things you can do is become a hoover vacuum and inhale all of your hosts groceries. Behave like a guest, that means no feet on the table, no scratching in unmentionable areas, aim straight when using the bathroom and don’t make you host seek out the nearest bridge to leap from because you can’t keep your lips from moving….everything in moderation. ;-D Great and much needed post.

  5. I’m printing this and posting it in my refrigerator door for my guests to see =) I get a lot of out towners and sometimes they forget a thing or two!

    • If you don’t have anyone nbaery that you trust with Emily, then take her along. Take a nanny with you (Grandma, neice, cousin)..or see what daycare options are available to you at the hotel. You just need to explore your options.I didn’t want to ever leave my children at all when they were one could take as good of care of them as me! BUT you have to over come those feelings for you and for Emily and for your husband too:)

  6. I definitely agree with bringing a gift. I think as a house guest you just need to be on your best behavior possible and try to be almost invisible. Leave as little trace of yourself as you possibly can. I can’t believe the audacity of some people.

    • :As these different ilefuencns came collectively, a distinctly Cuban taste and model developed, which is reminiscent of nation peasant kinds of cooking by oral custom and eye, rather than relying on distinct measurements and the development of dishes that tend towards the uncomplicated and hearty, and that can be left on their unique to simmer. Fussy, major sauces are abnormal and deep-frying is just not a favored cooking system. The island nation, by natural means, uses a wonderful deal of seafood in its cuisine, which encourages the use of effortless cooking strategies and spicing that is meant to boost, not smother, all-natural flavors.

  7. Great common sense ideas that good travelers know. I totally agree with Rease – don’t expect your hosts to be your travel guide. I’ve run into that situation way too many times.
    I always bring a gift and if I’m somewhere more than a few nights, I take my hosts out for a meal.

  8. :I precisely deresid to thank you very much again. I do not know what I would’ve taken care of in the absence of those advice documented by you over that situation. It seemed to be a real distressing circumstance in my position, however , being able to see the skilled style you treated it took me to cry over happiness. Extremely happier for your assistance and thus believe you find out what an amazing job that you are putting in training the rest with the aid of your web page. Most probably you haven’t come across all of us.

Leave A Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.