As if traveling for all of June wasn’t enough, I returned to my SF home and promptly had two Norwegian girls stay in my room with me for five days. They left on a Friday and that night I had a French-Swiss friend come and stay with me for another 8 days. From the end of May until after they had left, I had only slept in a bed alone a total of 6 nights out of 42. That includes one night where I also had 6 people sleep over in my full bed and twin-size mattress on the floor, but that’s another story.
Traveling and hosting are difficult things. It takes a lot to be a good, low-maintenance guest, as well as a comfortable and welcoming host. After all my years of traveling and learning how to be a good host from people I’ve stayed with or from the great examples given to me by my family, I can say for sure I am wise enough to pass my host knowledge down to those who may need some advice.
- Always give your guest a towel up front. One of my biggest pet peeves is having to ask my host where I can find a towel. In fact, Taylor and I were trying to be such good guests while staying in Munich that we never asked for a towel and instead used our t-shirts to dry ourselves off for 3 days. That was interesting.
- Have enough bedding. When Tay and I got to Hamburg, we immediately laid claim to the blankets Martin provided, because one was clearly greater than the other. We decided we’d alternate nights with them so we each got our turn with the better one. We found out a couple nights in that they didn’t have enough blankets for us so Martin used his window curtain and put a cover over it. Crafty, but not quite perfect. We appreciated the effort.
- Have some food available for your guests. A lot of times I travel with snacks, but for those few days when I’m too lazy to go out and get something, I always appreciated having something that my host was willing to give me.
- Anticipate sharing your bed and that your space won’t be as comfortable (and clean) as you might hope. People come with stuff and when they leave they’ll take it with them. Embrace the mess. Shit happens.
- Don’t expect anything in return for hosting. It’s great when people visiting bring a small gift or treat you to a meal, but the best part about hosting (in my opinion) is knowing that whenever you want to travel, their home will be open to you.
It was amazing having so many generous people throughout my trip open their home to me throughout my June adventure. It’s for this reason that I came back to California and let the foreign girls stay with me – I felt like I owed it to my Germans to return the favor back out into the universe.
So there they are, my pearls of wisdom, take them or leave them. No matter what, opening your home to someone can only be a good thing. Even if your guest ends up being crazy (something I have yet to experience), at least it all makes for a good story.