Holiday time can be filled with family, friends and fun, but it can also be filled with stress, especially if company travels to stay with you. Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “Fish and visitors smell after three days,” but unfortunately for him, he didn’t have access to the TravelingMom website, and clearly didn’t take into account any tips to help make things easier for all.
Turn Your Home into a Hotel
While travelers often enjoy having a chance to stay in a place that “feels like home,” there are some practical aspects to incorporating ideas from a hotel right into your home.
Hotel style luggage racks: When not in use, they fold up easily and can be stored in the back of a closet or basement. They enable bags to be kept off the floor, allow for a place for guests to put their shoes, and let them more easily “live” out of their suitcase. (When living in tight quarters, sometimes this is key.) There are plenty of styles to choose from at places like Bed, Bath and Beyond or on Amazon.com
Rolling garment holder/rack: This offers extra and instant “closet space,” for those who like to unpack clothes (especially if they have something nice they want to unfold) and most garment holders are easy to put together and can be stored away once they are. (Try layering them right behind the luggage rack if you’re really tight on space.) They also provide “towel hooks” for towels to dry (on either end). Don’t forget to provide some hangers. If you don’t have extras and are on a budget, save them from your dry cleaning items. Find the garment racks at stores such as Target or Home Depot.
Toiletries Basket: Grab a small basket or bowl and fill it with some of your nicest hotel toiletries. (Remember the ones you took from the room while on vacation and then promptly put under the sink when you returned?) Be sure to include: shampoo, conditioner, skin crème, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Optional “fancy items” may include a shower cap or mouthwash. When I used to travel internationally I’d be sure to keep the slippers and eye covers from planes—these are also fun to put out for guests.
Be a Convenient Concierge to Guests
Buy a few maps, collect passes for discounts, purchase a metro card or appropriate card for transportation with enough for a bunch of roundtrips, clip reviews for fun entertainment in your area, and more. Let your guests choose what they want to do as they’re from out of town. But feel free to make recommendations.
Sleep well and wisely: If you happen to live in a place that’s small for the amount of visitors staying, you still may want to try to keep to try to keep at least one room free of sleeping guests if possible. It’s important to have a free room if they need a place to go when others are sleeping. Doubling and tripling up in other rooms may allow you to do this, and you can use trundle beds, air mattresses and sleeping bags to help. Want to pile a few kids in small quarters? Let them set up a camping tent and have them “camp out” together. If you don’t have air mattresses (or don’t have room), consider using exercise mats or yoga mats underneath blankets for additional padding in tighter spots.
Put Things Away: If you’ve got valuables that you’re worried may get broken (especially if you’ve got children visiting) do yourself a favor and put them away. Sure it’s nice to be able to let others enjoy, but if you’re genuinely going to be upset if something gets broken or lost, be it a favorite vase or a new iPad, don’t risk it.
At the same time, try to clear off a shelf or clean out a drawer for guests to use. Think of it as an excuse to get rid of things that you probably didn’t need anyway.
If Needed, Ask For Financial Help
As you can imagine, the cost of visitors depending on how many people and how many days they’re staying, can add up pretty quickly. Between meals and various outings you may want to establish before you head out of the house how you’re going to divide the costs.
It’s OK to Spend Time Away
As much as you’ll likely want to take advantage of your time together, it’s also OK to spend some time doing your own things. Allow your visitors to take the lead in how much time they’d like to have to themselves, and what time of day may be preferred. Whether it’s to sit and read a book before eating dinner, or allowing them the chance to explore on their own, there’s no crime in taking “mini breaks” so you’ll continue appreciating the time you do spend together!