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