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10 Little Etiquette Tips to Use When You’re a Guest in Someone’s Home

Mind your manners and you'll get an invite back.

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Be clear about your arrival and departure dates

Make sure you go over the dates of your visit with the host in advance, and be sure to respect their schedule. Clear it with your host first if you want to bring anyone else (a date, children, your dog, etc.).

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Bring a gift

Bringing a gift for your host is proper guest etiquette, but you don’t have to spend a ton of money. Try something that you and your host can enjoy together, like a bottle of wine or a box of cookies from your favorite hometown bakery. Or bring something their vacation home needs, like a cozy blanket for a ski home or festive towels for a beach house. Here's the right hostess gift for every occasion.

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Ask about house rules

Don’t be afraid to clarify traditions that may differ from home to home. Should you take your shoes off when you get inside the house? Should you leave the door locked when you leave? Which dishes can you put in the dishwasher?

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Conserve towels and linens

To avoid making your host do more laundry than necessary, stick to using one towel a week. If you know you’ll be going to the beach every day and you’re not sure how many towels your host has at their disposal, pack at least one beach towel of your own. These are the 10 essential social etiquette secrets you'll learn in any etiquette class.

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Always offer to help

You can offer to set the table, cook, wash the dishes, fix something around the house, take the dog for a walk, fold laundry, buy groceries, or run to the liquor store. Even if your host refuses the gesture to be polite, it’s the thought that counts. Tasks you should do automatically: clearing your dishes after you’ve finished eating or filling up the tank if you borrow the car.

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Bring your own toiletries

Bring soap, shampoo, and toothpaste from home. You’ll ensure that you have your favorite products and you won’t need to mooch off your host. At dinner, don't make one of these 10 table etiquette mistakes.

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Respect common areas

Be especially careful to clean up after yourself in the kitchen, put down the toilet seat, turn the lights off when you leave a room, and close drawers and cabinets after you open them. There’s nothing worse than having to constantly clean up after your guests, so these small acts will show that you’re considerate of your host’s space.

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Keep the guest room tidy

Your host put effort into making a nice living space for you, so it’s best to keep it that way. Make the bed when you get up in the morning, and keep your clothes either in your suitcase or put away in drawers. You'll get a kick out of these 15 pieces of ridiculous advice from old etiquette books.

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Leave the house as neat as possible

On your last day, check the bedroom and bathroom for your belongings. Then, after clearing it with the host, strip the bed before you leave. Wipe down the counters of the bathroom, make sure all used towels are in the laundry, and all borrowed items returned.

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Leave a gift and a thank-you note

The gift can be as simple as sending a bouquet of flowers from a local florist or online service. Make sure you include a handwritten note detailing your thanks. Next, brush up on the 50 tips for impeccable manners.