Today, I saw an article on a mom visiting her son’s home for the first time, navigating how to be a good tourist/houseguest in his new home. How many of us have taken that great trip to visit family or friends during vacation? Staying with someone you know has it’s advantages, but as a tourist here are some tips on how to be a gracious houseguest.
1. Start with gratitude. Make sure you remember to thank your host for their hospitality. Send a nice note after your stay formally thanking them.
2. Communicate. Share your travel itinerary upfront, so your hosts can be available to take you to/from the airport if you’re flying. Coordinate your arrival and departure times when it’s convenient for your host.
3. Contribute. Offer to treat your hosts to a nice dinner. Contribute groceries or gas money to help out. Bring a nice gift. No one wants a free loader:)
4. No whining and complaining. Cousin Joe’s place is not a hotel, so don’t expect the comforts of a hotel. If a hotel is what you’re looking for, book one. Don’t whine or complain about your hosts accommodations, sleeping quarters, meals, pets, or car.
5. Clean up after yourself. Remember, there is no maid service. Be responsible for cleaning up after yourself or pitch in, as needed. That means keeping your room (or designated sleeping quarters) clean and not leaving a mess in the bathroom or kitchen. Offer to cook, help with the dishes, do laundry or whatever it takes to help your host.
6. Show respect. Show respect and courtesy for your host at all times. That means not drinking up all of their liquor, eating like you haven’t seen food in weeks, getting drunk, talking too loud or selfishly hogging their resources (phone, internet, TV).
7. Enjoy yourself. Family and friends are a precious gift, enjoy the time together.
The week is flying by. The life of a blogger is always busy. I’ve been very focused on writing and collecting my best photography to tell my story about travel. A good place to start is with the Rules of the Road. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your vacation:
1. Bring a great attitude. If you want to have a great trip, it all starts with your attitude. Leave work at work. Leave home at home. Cut off your blackberry, iPhone, iPad, and laptop. You’re on vacation, it’s OK to relax.
2. Pack lightly and appropriately. Most airlines charge bag fees, which means less money for you to spend on fun stuff. Limit the number of suitcases (and junk) you travel with. Pack clothing, shoes and accessories that are comfortable and fit the climate you’re traveling to.
3. Don’t leave home without your passport! Passports are required for adults and children to destinations outside the 50 United States, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
4. Do a little research before you leave. Weather, language, customs, transportation, food, hotel/resort location and amenities. Knowing what to expect can make or break your trip. As the expression goes, “when in Rome do as the Romans do.” Familiarity with local language, customs, food, etc. will make your traveling experience more pleasurable and allow you to learn new things.
5. Courtesy goes a long way. Make sure to say “thank you” to everyone who is helping to make your vacation, a vacation. Starting with skycaps to flight attendants, taxi drivers, front desk clerks, bellmen, housekeeping staff, and anyone providing you with service. Remember, being nice makes all the difference in the world.
6. Keep your expectations in check. Foreign countries are different from home. The language, food, water, driving speeds, driving customs (left vs right side of the road), restrooms, internet /phone service and service hospitality will not be the same. If you want all the comforts and luxuries of home, then an international destination may not be the best choice. Don’t complain, just go with it!
7. Behave accordingly. Don’t get loud, drink too much, consume illegal drugs, or act irresponsibly. Show your best self! No one wants to hang out with someone who is falling down drunk, talking loudly, high on drugs or acting like an idiot.
8. Staying in touch. Vacations were created to escape the realities of home. When traveling internationally or on cruises, staying in touch with a cellphone is generally very expensive. Before you leave, check with your local cellphone carrier and inquire about roaming voice and data rates. Email and text messages are generally the least expensive options for staying in touch.
To be continued…