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Hosting Houseguests? Planning Ahead Beats The Stress

a visitor arrives at the doorHosting houseguests is a great way to spend some extra time catching up with old friends and visiting with family. A little advance planning can make their time with you more enjoyable for both you and your company.

Before They Arrive

You'll want to make sure that the house is neat and clean, but don't feel like you have to run out and buy new furniture or re-carpet the living room. However, now might be the time to purchase something for the house that you've been thinking about, like a new sofa or a towel radiator (

Find out what kind of food your house guests like so you can have it on hand for their visit. Are they on any special dietary restrictions or do they have any allergies you need to be aware of? Also, is there any food they absolutely hate? What kind of snacks do they like?

If they'll be in town long enough to see the sights, provide them with information on attractions that might interest them, such as museums or sporting events. Find out what plays or concerts will coincide with their trip and offer to get tickets.

Give your guests a key so they feel free to come and go on their own....

Set aside a space for your guests. If you have a designated guest room, your job is that much easier; if not, figure out where you can create a private area for them. Your home office might work, or a corner in the family room, or even one of your kids' rooms.

While They're There

Give your guests a key so they feel free to come and go on their own. After all, you won't be spending 24 hours a day with them. If you have a security system, show them how to work it.

Take house guests on a tour of the house, including the kitchen, and let them know they should feel free to help themselves to food and drink. Fill them in on any house rules (last person home lets the dog out, for example).

Your guests will appreciate a few thoughtful touches in their room - bottled water on the nightstand, a few paperbacks and magazines to read, a comfortable pillow and maybe even a robe. Think about your favorite amenities from your last hotel stay and try to provide similar perks to your guests.

In the bathroom, provide personal-size shampoo, conditioner and soap, and make sure there are always clean towels available. For an extra special touch, use a towel radiator to pamper your guests with warm towels after their bath or shower.

With a little attention to details, your guests will think they've checked into a five-star hotel!

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More about preparing for house guests around the Web:

happy overnight hosting - a handy survival guide for coping with out-of-town guests

Prepping for House Guests - Martha Stewart

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