Hosting Hacks that Never Fail to Impress Your Overnight Guests

Shannon Quinn - August 31, 2022
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Casseroles are easy meals to prepare for guests ahead of time. Credit: Shutterstock

Prepare Easy Meals

When your guests arrive, you’re going to be very busy keeping them entertained while you also take care of your normal everyday routine. So it can be difficult for a lot of people to find time to cook from scratch. Make and freeze a few casseroles and soups ahead of time for easy gourmet dinners. The slow cooker is your friend when you have guests.  Prepare a few easy meals in the crock pot, and you’re ready to go.

Meal prepping is useful if you’re expecting guests to come over. Credit: Shutterstock

Of course, you can also take your friends out to eat. Plan ahead which of your favorite restaurants you want to go to. But remember to give your friends options, too. Before they arrive, ask about dietary restrictions. If your friend is vegan, it might be more difficult to cook or find them something to eat. So be prepared before they arrive. (via Real Food Whole Life)

If you’re having guests over for Thanksgiving, make sure you have enough chairs for people to sit in. Credit: Shutterstock

Make Sure You Have Plenty of Seating

Arrange extra seating in advance to accommodate all guests. It may require you to purchase extra chairs, or take seating out of other rooms and bring them to your kitchen or dining room table. If your dining room table extends, it may be time for you to get that ready before your guests arrive. This is especially important before holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Is your table big enough to hold all of your guests? Credit: Shutterstock

A lot of times, if you don’t have room for seating inside, you might want to consider sitting your guests outside. I’ve witnessed owners of small houses and apartments choosing to rent a pavilion in the park or buy cheap foldable seating to go outdoors when they’re having a party or hosting a lot of guests. (via Ballard Designs)

A bar cart can hold bottles of alcohol for your home. Credit: Shutterstock

Stock Your Bar

Stock your cocktail/wine bar before guests arrive, including mixers. If you don’t have a bar in your home, consider buying a rolling bar cart, or transform space on your countertop to have some drinks ready for guests. Have a few kid friendly cocktails too. Even just keeping a few beers in the fridge might be enough, or buy a single bottle of wine to celebrate their arrival. It may be fun of you plan out some signature cocktails for your friends to try.

Prepare some cocktails for your guests before they arrive. Credit: Shutterstock

If you’re hosting for AirBnB, this might be a different story. According to the company policy, if you leave alcohol behind and something happens to your guest, you can be liable for contributing to their intoxication. So it’s probably better to keep your house alcohol-free before renting it. Let your guests buy their own alcohol. (via Retail Recon)

You may want to cook together with your friends. Credit: Shutterstock

Accommodate Your Chef Friends

If your guest is a good cook, ask if they would like to make a favorite dish while they stay at your home.  Most are flattered to be asked. This can be a fun activity to do together, especially if you want to learn how to make your friend’s specialty. If they’re from a different culture than you, this can be even better, because you can learn how to make an entirely new style of cooking. Choose something interactive and fun to work on together, even for kids. Homemade pizzas are a good example of something you can get your guests involved in, even if they’re not traditionally good at cooking.

Your guest might want to cook you one of their favorite recipes. Credit: Shutterstock

However, be sure not to cross a line when you’re asking your friends to cook. Remember that they are your guests, and they are likely on vacation. They might not want to cook, since they’re here to relax. And no matter who does the cooking, you should always be the one to do the dishes afterwards! (via Delicious)

If a dog is coming to stay, be prepared for anything. Credit: Shutterstock

Get Ready For Doggy Guests 

If your friends are bringing their dog over, get ready for your canine guest. Make your house pet-friendly with a dog bed, bowl, leash, and pet waste bags. Be prepared for accidents, especially if the dog is still a puppy. Remember that this is natural and just a part of being a pet owner. So maybe figure out  space in your home where the dog can stay. Also hide anything you’re afraid they might destroy, like stuffed animals or anything else they can mistake for one of their toys.

You might want to buy a doggy bed and some toys for your canine guest. Credit: Shutterstock

If your friends are from out of town, do them a favor by doing some research on the nearest dog park. Go to the dog park with your fido-friendly guests. If you’ve never been to a dog park before, this can be a fun experience for you. You might also want to go on the daily walk with them, since it’s a fun form of exercise.  (via Rover)

If kids are coming to stay, search for fun activities in your local area. Credit: Shutterstock

Plan Activities 

It might seem obvious to say this, but you should plan activities for your guests before they arrive. If they’re from out of town, they’re going to rely on you to give them suggestions on what you want to do together. Sometimes, they might Google activities in your local area. But more often than not, it’s your job as a host to impress them with something fun.

Take advantage of activities that you can do in your local area. Credit: Shutterstock

You could take them to a local park, museum, or amusement park. Look into some activities in your local community like live music or movies in the park. Of course, you should always keep their preferences in mind. Some friends might love to go to a rock concert, while others will want to see a football game. Give them lots of options, and have fun along the way. (via Hitched)

Find some board games that your guests would enjoy. Credit: Shutterstock

Board Games 

Keep a few board games and playing cards ready for family fun. Charades and Pictionary are perfect for groups. Settlers of Catan is also a great game for groups, and it’s easy to learn. You might find yourself getting really competitive during gameplay. Just make sure it’s age-appropriate for everyone involved. For example, if small kids are there, you should stay away from Cards Against Humanity, and stick with something like Apples to Apples instead.

Settlers of Catan is a popular board game for kids and adults alike. Credit: Shutterstock

If your friends love to play board games, you can even ask them to bring over their favorite game. They will be really excited that you showed interest in their hobby, and they can teach you the rules of their favorite game. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, be polite and remember that they are your guest! (via Better Homes and Gardens)

Make sure you have plenty of snacks on hand for your guests. Credit: Shutterstock

Buy Plenty of Snacks

Before your guests arrive, make sure you buy plenty of snacks. Cheese, crackers, and nuts make an easy (no work) appetizer. Remember to hide some snacks away for yourself, because this will help when you feel the urge to start stress eating. Keep a secret stash of chocolate (or vodka) to treat yourself. Adulting is hard.

Baking some snacks is a great way to honor your guests. Credit: Shutterstock

If you’re hosting for an AirBnB, snacks aren’t necessary to buy for your guests. However, it will seriously impress them if you do. When I stayed in England, my host bought me some candy that’s only available in the UK, and I seriously appreciated having it. Even though it only cost a few dollars at the local corner store, the gesture was appreciated, and it contributed to me giving really good feedback online. (via Cozy Meal)

Create a guide book for your guests. Credit: Shutterstock

Create a Travel Guide 

Put together a travel guide with area tourist sites, parks, and family activities so guests can venture out alone. This can be something you keep forever for people who visit you in the future. It’s best to be a tour guide for your friends and family who come to visit. But if you have to go to work all day and they’re stuck at the house alone while they’re taking a vacation, they’ll seriously appreciate having a travel guide.

Travel guides can help people who are from out of town. Credit: Shutterstock

Making a travel guide is especially important for AirBnB guests. Some people like to put together an entire binder so that the guests have a guidebook. According to AirBnB, “Many Hosts provide their guests with local suggestions, like where to grab a coffee or enjoy a memorable dinner. Instead of writing down tips for each individual guest, creating a digital guidebook on Airbnb can help you save time by consolidating your recommendations in one place. Guests can access your guidebook in their Trips tab and from your listing, or you can send it to them directly in a message using our Share Recommendations tool.” (via AirBnB)

It’s fine to take a break from your guests, if only for a few minutes. Credit: Shutterstock

Don’t Forget to Take a Break

Entertaining guests can be hard work. You might feel obligated to stick around them as much as humanly possible, because it’s rude to leave your guests alone for too long. But remember that it’s okay to take a break. Take time out for yourself each day, even if it is a walk or 30 minutes of quiet reading. Allow your kids the same.

Reading a book for even a few minutes can be enough of a break to reset your brain. Credit: Shutterstock

According to Psychology Today, taking a walk may be one of the best forms of taking a break. “The benefits of taking brief movement breaks have been well-researched. Constant sitting—whether at your desk, the TV, or the lecture hall—puts you at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, depression, and obesity. Getting up from your chair to walk, stretch, do yoga, or whatever activity you prefer can reduce the negative health effects from too much sitting. Just a 5-minute walk every hour can improve your health and well-being.” (via Psychology Today)

Video games can be a great way to bond with kids that come to visit. Credit: Shutterstock

Find Kid-Appropriate Entertainment

If your guests are bringing their children, make sure you have something to keep them entertained. Keep a basket of crayons, coloring books, games, and family-friendly DVD’s available for kids. I remember as a kid, one of my favorite things about going to my grandmother’s house was that she had a cabinet dedicated to activities for kids to do while we were over. You don’t have to do this all the time, but it might be a good idea, especially if you have nieces or nephews who visit on a regular basis.

Board games are great for spending time together as a family. Credit: Shutterstock

If you already own a gaming system, consider buying a party game that the entire family can play while they’re at your house. Years ago, I used to pull out Dance Dance Revolution and Karaoke Revolution for my friends to play when they came over. Alternately, figure out somewhere where you can bring the kids, like a local park, museum, or theme park. (via Family Entertainment Guide)

Allow your guests to help them decorate during the holiday season. Credit: Shutterstock

Include Them in Traditions 

If your guests are coming over at Christmas time, make sure to include guests in holiday traditions such as trimming the tree or making cookies. Just because they’re visiting doesn’t mean that they don’t want to also feel like home. If your guests are from a completely different culture than yours, this might be a great opportunity to teach them about your traditions that you practice at home. There may be holidays that they’ve never celebrated before. 

Teach your guests about your culture’s holiday traditions. Credit: Shutterstock

If you’re renting out an AirBnB, that’s a bit different. However, you should remember to put up some decorations, like a Christmas tree, during the holiday season. This will help people feel more festive when they come to stay at your place, since they won’t be able to decorate your house on their own. (via Southern Living)

Your guests will appreciate if you use your fine china for them when they arrive. Credit: Shutterstock

Bring Out The Good Stuff

A lot of people out there have a set of “good” dishes, maybe inherited from their parents or grandparents. Sometimes, people feel precious about their high-quality sets of dishes and cutlery, and they never actually use them. Remember that these objects are meant to be used! Bring them out when guests are over. Polish silver and clean stemware until they are sparkling before guests arrive.

Polish your silver before your guests arrive. Credit: Shutterstock

However, if they are bringing children, you might not want to bring out your antique china. Use logic and common sense when it comes to this. But even if you’re being cautious and leaving the “good stuff” in the cabinet, at least make sure you have enough matching dishes to accommodate your guests. If you don’t, make a trip to Dollar Tree, where you can find matching plates, bowls, and cups. (via Taste of Home)

Provide your guests with cleaning supplies. Credit: Shutterstock

Allow Them the Option to Clean Up After Themselves

Some people love to feel like they’re on vacation and have someone else do all of the chores for them. So by default, you should never expect your guests to do any chores while they’re over your house. However, there are others who actually like to clean up after themselves, because it’s just ingrained in their personality. Allow guests to use your laundry room during their visit, and give them access to the kitchen sink as well.

Some people like to make their bed every morning, even if they are on vacation. Credit: Shutterstock

This is especially important if you have an AirBnB. Make sure you give your guests access to cleaning supplies if they want them. Some people really like to clean up their space before they leave, in order to make it easier on you as a host. However, if you charge a cleaning fee, you shouldn’t expect to let them clean anything in your home during their stay. (via NerdWallet)

Bringing your friends to a winery can be a great time. Credit: Shutterstock

Visit The Nearest Winery or Brewery

One thing that is sure to impress your guests is if you take them on a trip to the nearest winery or brewery. In fact, some people have an entire hobby of doing nothing but traveling to as many of these as they possibly can. And if they’ve never been to a winery or brewery before, they might just be entertained enough to pick up a new hobby.

Many wineries allow you to roam the property. Credit: Shutterstock

If your guests have children, proceed with caution. People take their kids to wineries all the time, but you need to judge on a case-by-case basis. Sometimes there are activities like cornhole, apple picking, or live music to keep the kids entertained outside. Other times, the winery is very fancy and very much for adults only. In most cases, keep this activity for your grown up friends. (via Wine Spectator)

Find a museum that is kid-friendly if you have children coming to stay with you. Credit: Shutterstock

Visit the Nearest Museum

Taking your guests to the nearest museum is sure to impress them. For most people, this might require you to drive to your nearest large city. But there might be museums locally that you’ve never been to before. It may surprise you! Just do some Google searching to see what’s available nearby. Also make sure you check the pricing, and ask your guests if they feel comfortable paying the ticket price. If you can treat them, then it’s even better.

Art museums are great to bring your guests to visit. Credit: Shutterstock

If your guests have kids, make sure you go somewhere that they will be entertained. For example, very young children might not be able to handle keeping their attention at an art museum. But they would love to go somewhere like the Please Touch Museum, planetarium, or National History Museum where they keep dinosaur bones. (via Please Touch Museum)

Your friends may be grateful to get some exercise with you when they come to visit. Credit: Shutterstock

Take a Walk Around Your Neighborhood

Last but not least is that you should consider taking your guests on a walk around your neighborhood. This is a great activity in the evening, and it can help burn off some calories after you eat dinner and dessert. Walking is one of the best forms of exercise. Your guests are probably skipping the gym while they stay with you, so getting some form of movement in their stay is good exercise. 

Many guests will be glad to go on a walk with you, even in the colder months.  Credit: Shutterstock

This is a different story if your neighborhood isn’t walkable. If it’s potentially dangerous or requires you to walk along a busy road, think twice about making your guests walk around. A better alternative might be to drive to the town’s main street or somewhere else that’s safe to get out and walk. Or, find a nearby town that is cute enough to show your friends. (via Mayo Clinic)

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