When I say, “Come visit me,” I genuinely mean it. I love when your family comes to stay with mine to explore our still-sort-of-new-to-us mountain hometown. I want to save you the thousand bucks on a room and have you stay with my crew. I’m not at all apprehensive about hosting your fam, but if you’re afraid you’ll be a burden, here’s a how-to on being a good house guest.
This is your vacation — it’s my reality
Treat my house like your hotel, and come and go as you please. Yes, seriously.
When we plan for vacation, we plan to spend money doing things we wouldn’t do on any given Saturday. We save for amusement park tickets, museum tours, helicopter rides, souvenirs and meals out. Likely, when you plan for vacation, you do the same. You’ve probably set aside some cash to take your kids to an expensive restaurant or white water rafting. While we want to see you, we haven’t saved for your vacation. Go do your thing while we’re working, running errands, or chilling at home, and don’t feel guilty about it.
Be your own planner
Have an itinerary.
I keep a list of tourist hot spots, our favorite authentic restaurants, museums and peaceful, outdoor destinations that I’m happy to share with you. I’ll even include price estimates and a list of gear to pack. Please don’t get here and ask, “What are we doing today?” I’m planning to have you, you plan what you’re going to do while you’re here.
Three to seven days is perfect
Your family is welcome.
I want you to feel at home, do your laundry a couple of times so you don’t have to go home to piles of it, and have dinner with us when you want to. It’s a treat for us to host you. If it’s going to be for an extended time, though, I’m going to need a heads up. Having company for longer than a week is expensive; toilet paper, groceries and laundry detergent add up. In addition, my cooking and laundry schedule may not mesh with yours, and when you’re heating leftovers and I want my stove, or I’m ready to do my daily laundry and you have a wet load in the washer and one in my drawer, it’s kind of frustrating.
Come for a short stint. Let’s enjoy each other, cry during goodbyes, and look forward to next time.
Don’t be extra, but do something
When I go visit Oklahoma and stay with family, I like to help around the house.
In a hotel, my price includes housekeeping, continental breakfast, security, management, all of it. When I stay with family, I have all of that — for free. I know they don’t expect me to buy groceries or to take them out to dinner, but I like to feel like I’m contributing. If I use the last of the cream in my coffee, or notice the dish soap is low, I’ll pick some up from the grocery store, let my host know, and put it away for them. If I see them vacuuming and know I left a toothpaste streak in the bathroom sink, I ask where the cleaner is. If they’re cooking, I ask if I can chop the salad. Before I leave I strip the beds and start the sheets in the wash, or at the very least place them in the hamper and put fresh ones on the beds.
Yes it’s vacation, but I know I’m getting a nearly-free room, so it feels good to pitch in.
You don’t owe me
For real, you don’t.
It makes me feel good to cook a couple of meals for you, have clean sheets on the bed you’ll sleep on, make popcorn and hot cocoa for your kids, and listen to how much fun you’re having. If you feel like you need to do something nice for me because you’ve been here, leave me a pic of your family enjoying my hometown in a card on the bed you slept on. It’ll genuinely make me smile, and I’ll want you to turn your car around and come right back.