This is something that I really need to continue to figure out. My brother and I are often traveling a day, two, three at a time, many hours away from our home. So, how can we be “hospitable”, courteous, polite, etc. while on the road? Here are a few thoughts off the top of my head:
- Treat your host to supper.
Take the check for the whole table every now and then. Or, if you’re staying in someone’s home, you might (if circumstances are appropriate for this…) even consider preparing them a meal from their own kitchen. Of course, if you do this, you should treat the kitchen with the utmost respect, clean up very thoroughly after yourself, etc. You should also, unless asked to do otherwise, use your own ingredients.
- Anticipate house rules.
You may not be aware of any house rules, but you should assume that there are some. Start here: Shoes off in the house (you can probably figure this one out quickly from observation), no feet on the furniture (coffee tables included!), hats off inside for the gentlemen (this goes without saying), no eating in any room other than the kitchen or dining room, etc.
- Don’t be nosey.
Just because you’re staying in the house, does not mean you have the right to know all its secrets. Leave diaries, journals, photo books, receipts, and other private items untouched… Unless, of course, they are specifically designated for your enjoyment (as some photo books might be).
- Don’t touch everything.
It’s a knick-knack. Leave it alone. It’s a lamp, an antique, a collection, a work of art… Fill in the blank. Just leave it alone! You don’t need to touch it, and you may make its owner uncomfortable by doing so. Hands off.
- Take a hostess gift.
Wine, flowers, bacon (yes, our family has actually shown up at someone’s house with bacon as the hostess gift. It’s legit. 😉 ), etc.