Staying at a friend’s house can be a great way to spend time with them while traveling, but there are a few things you definitely don’t want to do if you want to be invited back. Etiquette expert Jackie Vernon-Thompson says people establish “their own culture” for what’s acceptable in their home and as a visitor, you should “attempt to understand the culture of their home to prevent the offense or inappropriate conduct.”
According to Jackie, this is what not to do when you’re a houseguest.
- Ignore the shoe policy - Some people don’t want anyone wearing shoes inside their home, so as a guest, you should follow their house rules on footwear inside. Families with babies crawling on the floor or even older kids playing on the floor may not want you to track in dirt and germs on your shoes. So ask if you’re not sure and be ready to take those shoes off if necessary.
- Leaving an empty toilet paper roll - Most people keep spare rolls of TP in a cabinet, so if you finish the last of a roll, after washing your hands, look for a replacement in the bathroom and put it on as a courtesy.
- Put your feet on the furniture - Don’t get too comfy, this isn’t your house, so your feet don’t go on their couch or coffee table, even if you see them doing it.
- Using their shower gel - According to Jackie, this is one of the ultimate etiquette sins. “As a guest, it is forbidden to use their shower gel, moisturizer, shampoo, conditioner or any other product in their shower or bathroom,” she explains.
- Not removing bed linens - At the end of your stay, take the sheets and blankets off the bed you were sleeping on and offer to make the bed for your host using clean sheets. It’s considerate and shows that you wanted to clean up after yourself.
- Bonus: leave a small parting gift - As a token of appreciation for letting you stay, Jackie recommends leaving your host a thank you note or small gift. She explains, “It’s about expressing to the host that you appreciate their hospitality and them opening their doors to you.”