Living by the beach during the summer is a blessing, and it is often a blessing shared with many house guests. As we prepare for some weekenders, I want to share some hospitality tips that never fail…
Because staying in a new environment can cause anxiety, which could potentially ruin a vacation, make sure to welcome your guests with as much enthusiasm as you would your best friend.
- Have iced tea and water chilled for their arrival
- Make sure your accommodations are well marked because every guest is looking for reassurance that they are at the right place. Get some balloons or hang an artifact that you’ve saved. (We always use buoys to signal our driveway).
- If your guests are family members or habitual visitors you can also leave a nice note to welcome them back and to inform them of your schedule. We use a whiteboard to save paper.
- Make sure to inform them of the whereabouts of appliances and other useful items that they may need to use during their stay, such as: hair dryer, laundry, first aid kit, sun screen, bug lotion, and telephones
- Include local maps (almost all public transportation companies provide them)
- Give them an idea of the household routine (children’s camps, “Taco Tuesdays,” when tennis courts open, when family meals are eaten: breakfast or dinner?) It’s also helpful to hint at usual laundry days (i.e. when whites are washed) if you are comfortable including their belongings or travel clothes
Using a public whiteboard calendar has saved my family from schedule conflicts and is a great way to inform guests of what’s going on!
- The key is to inform, but never to discourage. Dynamics change with guests and sometimes people will unknowingly do something that conflicts with the family norm (sit in “Pop’s usual seat,” prepare corn differently). The golden rule, however, is to always accommodate the guest and if you aren’t comfortable with change, invite guests for day visits
- Create a welcome basket including travel size or complimentary hotel shampoo, conditioner, and lotion. Weekenders try to travel light and may forget items during their hasty preparation
- Supply them with the local paper to enrich their stay as well as to give them something quick to read
- Try to freshen their room up as much as possible by leaving new towels for their stay and a bud vase with some flowers (non-allergenic, if possible). If you know they love hydrangea, cut a few from your garden (or a pesky neighbor!)
- Make sure that the lights are on if evening is close and that the switches match reading lamps. If you are in an old house with tricky wiring, be sure to include little notes for your guests near the switches.
- Make sure there are enough suitable hangers for your guest’s needs. Generally avoid metal, which may ruin-your-clothes, or left-over dry cleaner hangers.
- Trying to cram activities in can be overwhelming. Create a list of things to do and encourage your guests to circle their top three so that you can prioritize and set aside time for these activities.
- Provide a beach tote. I use swag gift bags from past events or beach totes I’m bored with. It’s fun to leave summer reads in the room as well as a take and donate idea so that all your friends have something to discuss in the future.
Some samples of adorable totes
This is an example of a tote you may have received as swag from an event you attended.
I’ve got great totes from the Wildlife Foundation that are functional and also spread a great message while grocery shopping, running errands, or relaxing at the beach.
- Make sure they have somewhere to store their suitcase. I can’t stand clutter and my first moment of relaxation can only come after I have moved in somewhere. Supplying a luggage rack is an ideal way to provide them with suitcase space that is also easy to fold and hide away
- Arrival snacks are the most important thing to include other than your company and water! People are always exhausted and stressed after traveling, so a nice cool refreshment and some nourishment will set the right mood!
- I also recommend eating in the first night. It can be hard to wash and rally right away and normally at least one meal at home must be included in a visit. This will also help to acclimate them to your kitchen and food selection. Make sure to invite them to help themselves to breakfast if you are not a formal morning family.
Below are some fresh ideas for a quick snack
The Biggest Loser’s Rachel Beller’s Zucchini boats
Not your average ‘salsa & chip’
- I’m working out the kinks in with respect to ratios, but I recently craved a crunch and dip combo and followed my tastebuds to this mix
- I mixed some spicy mustard with honey for a base, then minced an apple, added raisins and finally topped crackers and sharp cheddar with the mixture