Over the course of your life, you will probably have to entertain overnight guest. Some embrace the opportunity, while others shake in fear. One thing that can make this stressful is a lack of funds and/ or space to provide what many have come to believe is required of hospitality. However, hospitality is really just the art of making others feel comfortable, welcome, and loved. Here are some easy tips to do just that even if money and space are tight.
If your home has a guest room, this is ideal. However, considering we are discussing tight budgets and lack of space, for purposes of this article I am going to assume this is not the case. The first step is determining where your guest is going to sleep. Ideally, you will give up your sleeping space for your guest, and take the sleeper sofa, air mattress, or sleeping bag for yourself. Remember, the idea is not to make yourself comfortable, but to make your guests comfortable. Another option is to let kids bunk together or on the floor in mom and dad’s room to free a child’s room for guests.
Once the sleeping space is decided upon, it is time to prepare it. Make sure the bed has clean sheets, the pillows are comfortable, and the room is clean and uncluttered. Don’t forget to provide a fan and an extra blanket. If there is a television available, make sure the remote is easy to find and some age appropriate movies are accessible. It is especially nice to provide a lamp, maybe some light reading material, and a bottle of water. All of the things show the guest that you have anticipated their needs, and it puts them at ease knowing they do not have to worry about asking for them.
It is also nice to provide a basket with necessities such as extra toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, and body wash, as well as luxuries such as sweet smelling lotions and linen spray. These things can usually be obtained with little or no out of pocket cost through coupons and signing up for freebies on various websites.
If a private sleeping space is absolutely not available, a sleeping bag or air mattress in the living area will suffice. However, it is imperative that room be made in a closet for your guest’s belongings, even if it means temporarily relocating a family member’s clothes. In this case, the basket of goodies mentioned above can be left in this spot, with a card or note welcoming your guest.
The bathroom should be well stocked and clean, with clean towels and wash cloths readily available, as well as extra toilet paper, air spray, and magazines.
Spend a little time figuring out if there are special food needs or allergies. Accommodate these within reason, at the very least making sure to have at least one preferred drink and snack on hand. For example, if you know your guest drinks coffee in the morning, be sure to at least have single brew bags on hand, if not a coffee pot just for guest.
Plan meals that are delicious, but that do not take you away from your guest too much. They would love gourmet food, I am sure, but more than that they want to spend time with their host. So, throw some refrigerated cinnamon rolls in the oven and visit over a cup of coffee or tea while you wait for them to bake. Prepare an easy casserole for supper that can be prepared ahead of time and bake in the oven while you and your guest chat.
Always remember, the important thing is that your guests feel welcome and comfortable. Special touches that show you were thinking of them are always appreciate. These things will be remembered far longer than how much money you spent preparing for the visit or how elaborate their accommodations were.