When you’re traveling by staying with friends, you can’t have assumptions about the sort of hospitality your receive. Some people aren’t able to provide you with more than floor space on which to lie: no food, no blankets, no social attention. That’s okay, because everyone’s hosting capacity is different.
But most people who have put me up for a few days go above and beyond the minimum. For example, my first hosts in Seattle were fantastic, offering more than I would ever expect from a host. They paid for restaurant meals twice, took me on a tour of the city, and even did some laundry for me. When people display such radiant hospitality toward me, I can feel nothing but gratitude toward them.
But such extravagant hospitality isn’t required to be a great host. Here are some things I’ve observed about my preferences in hosting practices:
- Wireless internet is my lifeblood. I’m a much happier puppy if I can take a leisurely morning, blogging and emailing and Facebooking in bed.
- Free reign of the food in the kitchen, or at least clear communication about what food is available for me. I’m a much happier puppy if I can have breakfast pretty promptly in the morning.
- A way for me to enter and exit the house. Either hanging out with my host all day, getting a key, or staying in an unlocked house satisfies this desire. I’m a much happier puppy if I don’t have to worry about getting at my stuff.
- When my host helps me figure out the transit system in the city, that’s extremely helpful, because there are always little differences in each city that it’s necessary to understand.
That’s about it. A welcoming atmosphere is the most important thing. I hope to practice some of these qualities when I have a place of my own and have the capacity to host. Are there any good things you especially notice when you’re a guest?