Hope everyone had a good weekend!
Today’s post is all about being a host when friends and family come to town. Living so far from family and friends, we have guests about once a month. Here are a few tips that I’ve compiled after trying different things throughout the last few years.
- A welcome ‘surprise’
I love leaving a little New Orleans-themed treat for our friends and family upon their arrival. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy and it usually depends on their reason for visiting (if they’re coming for a Saints or Pelicans game, I try and buy them some gear to sport). Usually, I just include some snacks and a card. The above pictures are from two different visits. The first (on the left) was when my mom and my Aunt Sally drove down. For their cards, I found some vintage post cards and wrote notes for each of them. I had to include the traditional Mardi Gras masks, as well as a reusable tote with a fleur-de-lis on it, as well as some Pelicans Tupperware (they have to support my team, right?) and some Zapps potato chips (a New Orleans favorite!) The second basket was for a pair of sisters that I used to work with. I made them some fleur-de-lis-shaped brownies and the little ‘welcome’ cards to package them. Brittany and Elise are runners, so I tried to give them some fuel with water, granola bars and peanut butter crackers, but had to add some candy in, of course! I usually head to the Dollar Store or the Target One Spot to find fun little trinkets and treats for our guests – no need to break the bank!
- Keep them hydrated
When traveling, it’s easy to forget to stay hydrated, especially when flying. When you’re on vacation, you want to enjoy indulging in cocktails and delicious food, but drinking water is very important (especially when you live in a humid, hot city like New Orleans!). To make sure our guests have access to water, I always leave a bottle of filtered water (I bought these at World Market) and a couple of glasses (these are my go-to; a very sweet wedding gift from a friend from a well-known New Orleans jewelry/gift store). Additionally, I leave two bottles of water so guests can throw them in their bags when they’re out exploring. Just make sure you replenish their supply during their stay!
- Reading material
When we have guests come, I try and leave some magazines and books around the room. When I am downtown or have an event at a hotel, I’ll also pick up some NOLA tourism materials like books with coupons and materials on fun activities in the city for them to browse through if they don’t have a set agenda. Check out your local convention and visitors’ bureau – it’s a great place to stock up on tourist materials!
- A ‘Just in case’ basket
Everyone has forgotten something when traveling. To help our guests avoid those moments, we keep a basket to toiletries in the linen closet in our guest bath. Toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, dental floss, feminine products and basic medicines reside there just in case someone forgets something. I always try and grab the travel-size shampoo, conditioner, lotion and bath gel from hotels so we can have a full stock for guests. Extra tip: make décor double as storage – use an apothecary jar as décor on the sink and fill it with travel-size bottles. There are some great ones here or go to Michael’s or Hobby Lobby – download their apps for coupons! Also – for q-tips, use a small cosmetic jar OR, once your Bath and Body Works candle burns out, freeze it, take out all the wax and repurpose it!
- The comforts of home
Try and keep snacks and food that your friends and family like in the fridge and pantry. Everyone has their go-to snacks and drinks – it’s a small gesture that will go a long way and will be much appreciated.
- Easy access
When you’re staying in someone else’s home, you never want to feel like you’re going through their things. Make sure to leave them a house key, wireless login information and any codes they may need for security systems. If you’re working and your guests will be waking up later than you, put together a little coffee area complete with mugs (bonus points for travel mugs for them to borrow!) and condiments. Bonus tip: write a message or their names on the mug with an EXPO marker – it’ll wipe right off!
- Comfy cozy
Don’t skimp on towels and sheets (both from a quality and quantity standpoint)! Target carriers good quality bedding and towels at affordable price points – or hoard Bed, Bath and Beyond coupons if you want to splurge. Also – pillows are key! We found some great value pillows that are really comfy at Sam’s Club of all places – we got two of each – soft and firm – to try and keep everyone happy.
- Closet space
Make sure to leave some hangers in the closet. Everyone’s different in how they unpack. Downy also makes a great product that helps release wrinkles – the extra effort will be much appreciated.
- Avoiding an awkward moment…
In an effort to protect guests from having to ask any embarrassing questions, stock the restroom with plenty of TP and Kleenex. Under the sink, leaving basic cleaning supplies and a plunger will be a relief to guests should any potentially embarrassing situations arise. Don’t forget Febreeze and/or a candle with matches!
- Make time!
Though your guests are looking for R&R, if they’re staying in your home, they want to see you! Do your best to take a long lunch or leave work a little early to make sure you get some QT in. Whether it’s an activity, your favorite place to visit in town, a lunch or coffee spot – show them your city and make them feel like a local!