Playing host to friends and family for summer weekends calls for a little bit of preparation so that everyone can enjoy the visit. Advance planning can reduce your stress and make sure your visitors feel right at home during their stay. You can be the perfect host when you give some thought to their comfort. Here are eight hints on how to welcome visitors for a memorable summer weekend.
Keep it casual.
You’re welcoming guests into your home, not running a hotel. Friends and family won’t expect white glove service. They will enjoy a relaxed stay when you set a casual tone and stick to your basic routine. A little cleanup before guests arrive will probably be in order, but you don’t have to re-paint the guest room or remodel the kitchen. Flip flops piled by the door on the porch and books on the coffee table are perfectly acceptable.
Put little extras in the guest bedroom.
Greeting guests with little extra touches in their bedroom will make them feel right at home. Clean sheets, a water carafe on the bedside table and a guide to local attractions along their favorite magazines and newspaper let them know you want them to be comfortable. Sample-size toiletries and fresh flowers add a touch of luxury.
Get ready for children.
If your visitors are bringing their children, make an extra effort to help little ones settle into their new surroundings. Supplying a few toys and games will keep children entertained. Providing a portable crib or highchair would likely be welcome. Childproofing the toddlers’ bedroom is essential to everyone’s peace of mind.
Offer a breakfast bar.
Set out a breakfast that they can pick up on the run if they are heading out and have coffee ready. Planning ahead will allow visitors to rise at their leisure and start the day without depending on you to cook. Ask in advance if they have any favorite cereals or fresh fruits you can stock.
Suggest activities but avoid a rigid schedule.
Your guests will appreciate suggestions for activities since you’re an expert on all the fun your area has to offer. But don’t overload their days and overplan their schedule. Allow them flexibility to decide where to go and what to do. Your friends may want to simply sit on the beach and unwind for hours at a stretch.
Provide outing essentials.
You’ll probably hear about their planned activities before guests head out the door. Prepare totes equipped to help them enjoy outings. If they’re going to the beach, collect towels and sunscreen. If they plan to hit the museums, gather up brochures on current shows, bus tokens and bottled water. When they are headed to the nearest gourmet takeout to pick up an alfresco lunch, offer a picnic basket equipped with cutlery, plates, cups and corkscrew.
Lay in entertainment for downtime.
Having fun can be hard work. Plan ahead for stretches of time when visitors just simply want to stretch out in a hammock or sit on the porch to relax. Have puzzles, cards and board games ready. Have a stash of some easy reading on hand.
Get back together at the end of the day.
Visitors may go off on their own for the day, but in the end, your guests have come to see you. Getting back together at the end of the day gives you all an opportunity to learn about their adventures and share in their fun. That’s how memories are made and friendships are built.