How to Be the Perfect Guest – A Page out of Brad’s Book!

Getting Acquainted!

2012 proved to be a very good year for us. Among a number of good things, we were invited to stay with some wonderful people. Staying with friends proved to be a great experience, and gave us new perspectives on travel and how we see a place.  Hearing a local speak about their hometown is better in so many ways than hearing the spiel from a tour guide. We enjoyed the heart, passion and personal history our hosts expressed in their stories.

The hospitality we enjoyed inspired us to open our own doors and offer hospitality to our friends and family whenever possible.

In January, we welcomed Brad into our home for a long weekend visit. Now, Brad has been a pen pal with Mom for about five years. He has followed Montecristo Travels on Facebook and the blog right from the very beginning.  To call Brad a stranger would not be accurate; yet, we had never physically met.

We were so very excited to meet Brad. The anticipation was mutual, Brad told us. Emails flew back and forth. We found ourselves considering  things we hadn’t had to think about before, such as whether our guest had possible food allergies and how to get to our place from a specific route. (Thank you, Scot and Nadine, for your help with the directions!) The bipeds fussed over whether the bed was going to be comfortable enough and whether our activity list contained things Brad might want to do or visit.

Turns out, there was no need to fret.

Not only is Brad a cheerful and lovely human being; he is also very funny. Conversation was easy. Nothing felt forced. In no time at all, we adjusted to having Brad in our space. And we have Brad to thank for how easy it all was.

As I mentioned, we are accustomed to being the guest, not the host. But travel goes both ways. So we want to take a page from our experience with Brad and share with you why, for us, he was such a good guest.

1)      Communicate:  Keep your hosts informed of delays.  Even when Brad’s phone didn’t work, he stopped and found a way to make a call. That meant we worried less and Mom stopped looking out the window at the guest parking lot every five minutes.

2)      Ground Rules:  Brad doesn’t have a dog of his own so could have been forgiven for not knowing how to make friends with me. But he asked the bipeds some questions and obviously had done a little research on his own. He arrived and as soon as I approached, Brad got down to my level and waited. He let me go to him! Within a very short time, I was sleeping in his arms. By the following day, I would happily sleep on Brad’s lap.  Brad always asked the bipeds for guidance and never made assumptions.  He’d ask “Can Monte eat this?” before giving me something. (Okay, *I* wouldn’t have minded if he didn’t check in so much about the really yummy things I was telling him I wanted! But he’s forgiven.) Brad even became concerned for me when the temperature dropped, handing me over to Mom so she could keep me toasty warm in my winter faux-fur sling.

3)      Strike a Balance: Brad did not impose. He followed our diet and schedule, and went with the flow. That made it so much easier for us as hosts. Things were also pretty much stress free. Brad didn’t try to cram hundreds of things into a two day visit. He’s not a “check things off my list” kind of traveller. Instead, he was happy to say “next time” when there was something else he wanted to see or do but we just couldn’t squeeze it in. Brad asked a lot of questions but he didn’t overwhelm us.

4)      Pitch In: Brad cleaned up after himself, never expecting us to do so even though we often insisted it was fine.  He always offered to help cook, set the table or clear. It was a nice way to show respect. Packing light meant Brad arrived with all he needed for the weekend but not with a ridiculous amount of gear. He was able to contain his sprawl!

Hanging out at the French Baker!

5)      Token of Appreciation: Brad offered to buy us lunch. We don’t eat out much but Brad wanted to treat us to dinner or lunch as a way to say thank you. We took him to one of our favourite places – a restaurant called The Green Door – and Brad treated. Thanks, Brad! He also brought two beers from his neck of the woods as a small host gift for Dad. We really appreciated that. Something small and not extravagant was best.

6)      Thank You: As soon as Brad got home, he sent a lovely thank you email. His note let us know he was home safe and also let us know he had a good time.

Bottom line, Brad was the perfect guest and is welcome back at our house anytime!  We certainly hope we are as charming and gracious a guest! Our experience with Brad left us wanting to invite some other Facebook and blog fans. We can’t wait to discover who will be our next guest!

What would you say is the one thing you appreciated the most about a guest? Do you have a horror story you want to share?


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18 Comments on “How to Be the Perfect Guest – A Page out of Brad’s Book!

  1. Every so often, The Cosmos offers to us unexpected gifts of human kindness. The best that we can do is say “thank you”, then pay it forward. This article was indeed an unexpected gift. Thank you for opening your home to me and opening my mind to so much of what the world has to offer. After all, it is the reason why we travel. We travel to make connections with people, to connect with the world and appreciate what it has to offer, and to bring home what we have learned and share it. Both the guest and host are transformed and the result is a greater understanding and appreciation of the other.
    It is my hope that we all will share space and time soon.

    • Dear friend … it is us that thanks you. You made us see that the world does have a lot of really great people in it. Something we all forget all to often. 🙂 Love you.

  2. Someone should SHOW Bart how to be a good/polite dog when guests arrive. He’s either all over them trying to show how much he loves them or he wants to show them he’s the boss.

    But, being in-bred and and having personality issues I find it difficult to curb his enthusiasm. It’s like he can’t remember day to day training when he’s confronted with ANY deviation to routine.

    So, I lock him in the bedroom until he settles down then he’s allowed to come out but if he acts the fool, right back in he goes. And it’s like this EVERY single time.

    He’s a happy dog but very puppy-ish and immature.

    But isn’t it true that we all have the crazy black sheep in the family? LOL

    • Awe … Barty pants!! Bless. 🙂 We all need that “Crazy” relative … it is important makes us see outside the box.

  3. It must have been awesome to visit Sonja and Stefan and baby boy at their home!! We loved having them here with us for 4 days. Such wonderful, lifelong friends!!!

  4. Until Sonja, Stefan and Monte came all the way from Canada we had never really had overnight guests before.I was so nervous, I wanted everything to be PERFECT! I wanted to feed them what they wanted, take them where they wanted to go and show them things they wanted to see. I just wanted them to like us and feel like all the expense they incurred to come all that way was worth it to them . I know they had a great time, wish it had been longer, and I hope they can come back again. Texas is pretty big and we didnt get to see a lot of it. Next time for sure.

    They were perfect houseguests!! Kind and thoughtful, clean, helpful and oh so damn much fun to be around!! Except Stefan kept sneaking off after a meal out and paying the bill before we got a chance to do it!! What sweet friends! More like family now. God bless you both and baby boy too!

    • You made it easy to feel right at home! You and Stewart are very very welcoming and gracious hosts. We were touched over and over again by your generosity and kindness. We will return. 🙂 Promise!

  5. Well, seems Brad is ideal, i would like to have such man guest stay with me for my whole life, LOL! My horror story has many chapters: it’s the visits of my son’s team mates, the boys are very loud laughing, very active, all the furniture is not in it’s place after they left, eat all i have in the fridge immediately, never clean after themselves, never stay less than late at night, some of them may say that he will sleep on the small sofa in our closet room, which is half of his size, they love to sleep on it, and everytime choose the lucky one who will do this time, compare to Brad, Monte, and of course they never call their parents to inform them, where they are and whom they made happy this time, 🙂

    • Sounds like … a tornado!!! Val how do you cope?!! Mom says she would go crazy and would be screaming at them in no time… and then would kick them out and change the locks! LMAO!

  6. Brad, of course, sounds delightful. My inclination is to feel like I know some internet blog friends well enough to have them as guests in our apartment. My husband, not so much. Reading the news everyday about bad internet scams, I “get” where he’s coming from. What we have done is to meet one internet friend and her husband at a restaurant for a meal when they were in our home city (Philadelphia) from England. My husband enjoyed meeting them. Internet travel bloggers, almost by definition, are interesting to another travel blogger.

    I don’t dare write about any house guests from hell. My mantra is, “Remember, the internet, including email, is sky writing!”

    • Suzanne – that is a very very good mantra!! We might have to steal that from you!

      I understand where your husband is coming too. A lot of times you have to remind yourself that the world is not always a safe place. We just … refuse to live with fear I think. Maybe we are naive but I think we trust our instincts. No one has ever asked for money. Not that we … would have any to give. We tend to be attracted to other “nomads”. People that travel “get each other” on a deep level.

      Maybe a compromise would be smarter on our part? Meet first in a public place before inviting them into your home … 

  7. What a perfect houseguest! Especially asking about treats for Monte. Whenever we take Josie O into stores, people are always wanting to give her huge piece of junky treats. I usually manage to give them some of what I’ve brought. When you’re talking about a dog that small, every bit of food has an impact.

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