Grandmother and granddaughter drinking coffee

Finding a place to stay during a life transition can be tricky. Extended stay hotels and short-term rentals are common options for people who are building new homes, between leases, or adjusting to life in a new city. But those options can be expensive. A more affordable solution is to live with family or friends.

This solution typically comes with little to no cost, provides a more comfortable environment, and allows for flexibility in terms of length of stay. Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll be a guest in someone else’s home, so you don’t want to inconvenience them. To ensure that both you and your temporary host enjoy your time together, follow these five tips to be a good house guest!

Discuss Length of Stay with Your Host

Roommates chatting in living room

Staying with a family member or friend is convenient, but living in another person’s home can be intrusive if boundaries haven’t been set. That’s why you should determine how long you need a place to stay first and foremost. Communicate your intentions before moving in. This will keep everyone in the arrangement happy. If you have a plan set but your time frame changes, see if you can renegotiate terms, or consider other temporary housing options to get you through the remainder of your time frame.

Follow Your Host’s Routines & Rules

Man petting dog on couch

Every person lives their life differently than you do. So before you get settled, start by asking if there are any specific routines or house rules you should know. Here are a few examples of questions to ask:

  • Do you have a certain time you like to go to bed?
  • When do you normally get your day started?
  • Should I take off my shoes when coming into the house?
  • Are pets allowed on the furniture?

It might feel weird to ask about these things, especially because you’re an adult, but adhering to someone else’s lifestyle shows you respect the person you’re staying with.

Find Ways to Entertain Yourself Without Your Host

Men meeting at restaurant

While staying at someone else’s place, it’s a good idea to keep yourself busy without relying on your host. This puts less stress on your host because they don’t feel the need to entertain you, and it gives you some time away from each other. Meet up with a friend. Stop by a local coffee shop. Visit a museum. Volunteer at a community center. Whatever you do, let your host know when you’ll be leaving and coming back.

Keep in mind you should have a mode of transportation lined up! Whether that’s bringing your own car, using a ride sharing service, or using public transportation, not having to rely on your host for rides will go a long way in maintaining a good host-guest relationship.

Help Your Host When Needed, But Don’t Pester Them

Mature mother and daughter doing laundry together

Everyone appreciates a helping hand, but in a home that’s become more crowded, offering to help whenever and wherever possible can be a nuisance. If you’re looking to help but don’t want to seem like you’re overreaching or getting in the way, start with what’s simple:

  • Clear dishes off the table and clean them or place in dishwasher
  • Turn off the TV and lights when leaving a room
  • Keep your living space neat, even if you’re living out of a suitcase
  • Buy groceries for yourself or replace anything you’ve been given
  • If your host has a dog, take the dog for a walk, feed them, and clean up after them
  • Politely offer to cook meals every now and then

Give Your Host a Thank You Gift Before Leaving

Friend giving thank you gift

As you get ready to leave, there are a few things you should do. Start by cleaning up the room you occupied by stripping sheets and returning any items, such as books or extra blankets, to their places. Then, go over items you may have forgotten to pack like toiletries, chargers, additional cords, etc. More importantly, give your host a gift on your way out to thank them for opening their home to you.

Since your host is a family member or friend who you know fairly well, avoid generic gifts like candles or soap. Opt for a gift that’s catered to their specific interests. For instance, if your host is big into cooking, consider buying a vegetable or spice plant they could add to their garden or a cool new kitchen gadget you heard them talking about. If you can afford to give them something that might cost a little more, tickets to a nearby show or treating them to a nice evening out are also great ideas. Be sure to send a personal thank you note after you’ve arrived at your new home as well.

If you’re getting ready to stay with family or friends, self storage can serve as good alternative to trying to bring more belongings than you need. Find a storage unit near you with Extra Space Storage!