How to be the perfect house guest

A group of people eating at a table.

With summer finally here, you may have a long list of places to go and people to see. Here are a few things to remember to make yourself a wonderful guest:

Don't be vague about why you're visiting
Whether you're in town because you've got an event you must attend, you just wanted to catch up with someone or you've been hosting your own guests for over a week and cannot spend another second in your house, be honest about why you're occupying their space and how you want to spend your time on your visit. They want to see you, which is why they welcomed you to their home, and giving them an idea of how you want to be spending your time is an important first step to being a great guest.

Arrive and depart on schedule
Give your hosts your estimated arrival time, and barring a major travel snafu, get there when you say you will. If you do experience a delay, let your hosts know. You should plan to leave on a specific departure date unless your hosts extend you an invitation to stay longer.

Do your best to be tidy
Being a guest in someone else's home means your space will be limited, and there is a possibility you will be in a communal area. Keep your personal items packed in your suitcase as much as possible, ask before taking closet space and make your bed each morning. Additionally, you should offer to set the table at mealtimes and help do dishes. Even if your hosts swat you away, they will be grateful for the offer.

Give hosts a little bit of space

Don't expect to spend all of your time with your hosts, even if they're your best friends. Plan to be out of the way for at least an hour every day, whether you go see a few sights on your own or find a quiet place to read a book or catch up on your emails. Give your hosts time to regroup, start a load of laundry and grab a cup of coffee by themselves. Part of being a great guest is conforming to the hosts schedule, so if in doubt, ask when they need time themselves, then respect their boundaries.

Leave a gift and a note
When you're headed home, be sure to leave a personal present for your hosts, and most importantly, write them a thank-you note. You've been their guest for the past few days, leaving a note will show them how much you appreciated their generosity.

The most important thing to do once a visit is over is to contact your hosts and let them know you got home safely and extend them an invitation to return your visit. Don't be surprised if they accept quickly; if you've followed these suggestions, they will be eager to see you again and be equally wonderful guests.