The holiday season is upon us, which means there’s a decent chance you’ll either be traveling somewhere, or hosting people overnight who are visiting your home.

Though most of this blog is about going places, being a gracious and helpful host to other travelers — whether they’re strangers or family — is also important. Laura and I have hosted a number of family get togethers and holidays, so here’s what we’ve learned:

1. Give out the wifi password

This is probably the single most important thing any host can do, especially if you’re guests are staying overnight. If you’re really cool, you’ll also change the password from “avFpaAdoanADeaPRU3ad050ANDAreadfa” to something easy, like “password” or “SmithFamily.”

2. Have some snacks around

Kind of obvious and traditional advice, but there’s a reason classics are classics. I recommend a mix of chocolate and chocolate.

3. Have extra toilet paper handy


Look, I don’t want to be indelicate here, but especially at Thanksgiving and Christmas you’re probably going to be feeding a lot of people a lot of food. The last thing you want is for your guests to go into the bathroom, see that the toilet paper is gone, and have to awkwardly wander around trying to find more/asking you where it’s kept.

Instead, put an extra roll in a prominent and highly visible place in the bathroom. If your people are staying multiple days and/or if you have a lot of guests, check it periodically to make sure it hasn’t run out.

This is one of those things that people don’t often think about, but if you fail in this area your guests will definitely notice and remember.

4. Have “passive activities” lying around

By “passive activities,” I mean things your guests can do (or not) at their own leisure and where ever they want. So, things like magazines or puzzles or maybe a drone people can fly around the backyard. These types of activities contrast with formal, planned things like dinners.

The thing is, if people are at your house you may not be able to entertain them every second of everyday, nor do they probably want you to. This is especially true if, for example, you’re making a Thanksgiving dinner. So having things for them to do during down times is especially important. If you’re home is big enough, this could also include Netflix, though if there isn’t a lot of common space one person’s movie can become mandatory for everyone else.

5. Turn on some music

And make it interesting music. Give your guests something to talk about.

— Jim Dalrymple II


Written by Jim Dalrymple II

Urbanism and travel writer. Also a journalist covering the news.


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