Is there such a thing? With a little effort, even you can be invited back for another visit. From the great great granddaughter, Lizzie Post of Emily Post: Having a free place to stay is the ultimate money-saving dream scenario for travelers, whether it’s a pied-à-terre in Paris, a house in the Hamptons, or a tiny flat in Tokyo. How do you handle yourself in the wonderful scenarios when no money changes hands?
Here is a good rule: leave the house in as good or better condition than you found it. Also, do not snoop around, and don’t go in rooms that you do not need. Closing off rooms and leaving them untouched is a great idea. Make sure you ask about internet, cable, security. and what is off limits. Oh, and just so there are no surprises, find out when the cleaning service is scheduled.
One big question arises with food and booze. Unless otherwise specified, bring your own everything, save for spices and condiments. This means your own produce, meat, and carbs. And if you buy some of your favorite items, make sure you leave them for your hosts. Replace anything that you finish of theirs!
Now for the all important “thank you” gesture. Often times a nice bottle of wine or liquor is appropriate if your hosts consume alcohol. An inexpensive vase with fresh flowers are a nice welcome home for your hosts, along with a nice note. I would opt for the nice bottle of wine.
Having been a houseguest in the past, I can share a few good and bad things. One centered on the alarm system, which went off, scared the “sh*t” out of us. We were able to contact the owners and keep the security patrol and police away.
But more embarrassing was the time I walked through the patio screen door! And the owners were home!!!! I felt terrible, but they were quite understanding. Their screen was practically invisible!!!
Of course, the rules are a little different if your hosts are home with you. First, I always bring a gift from home. Second, I make sure I pay for several meals since we tend to dine together. Third, I try to take care of the bed sheets and towels upon departure. And if a vacuum cleaner is nearby, I will do a quick once over of my room.
I have heard of horror stories, like losing the host’s house pet, or leaving the AC or heater on high upon departure. A friend wanted me to drive their car so the battery would not run down. Did I remember? No!
My worst experience occurred at an AirBnB in Nawlins at the Super Bowl. I bought my own wine, but my hosts drank it. There was no shower soap in the shower. The key to the front door was never left under the door mat. Shall I tell you more?
Sometimes, things work out pretty good. Such was my visit to Dirty Pat and Renee’ in Bucharest. The only problem was a squeaky, make that very squeaky bathroom door in my bedroom. Otherwise, it was a near perfect trip, with great meals, and lots of good times. Oh, and the four flights of circular stairs, as the elevator was broken. It served as my gym workout several times a day.
As a small child, I remember staying at someone’s home with my family. Somehow, their toy train ended up in my suitcase!!! Just don’t be that young child that I was!!!