House Rules

Woman leaving entrance door carrying two suitcases, low section

It’s only mid-February, but since the beginning of the year, we’ve already hosted three houseguests. Once Fat Tuesday passes, that number will jump to a grand total of seven. Needless to say, when you live in a city as fun and fabulous as New Orleans, your popularity skyrockets! (Click here to read about creating a charming and cozy temporary guest room.) Our guests have ranged from family to single friends and couples, some of whom who’ve never set foot in New Orleans and others who’ve been here many times, so the degree of hosting duties varies with each one. Happily, all of them have been top-notch houseguests and made our job as hosts a breeze. Whether you are new to being a houseguest or you’re practically a professional, here’s a little primer (or refresher) in the art of being a textbook houseguest.



  • Plan your trip according to the convenience of your host and hostess with a firm start and end date
  • Limit your stay to three nights (unless your hosts ask you to stay longer)
  • Bring an inexpensive, token gift for your hosts (chocolate, coffee beans, fine soaps, scented candles, artisan bitters or liquors and homemade herbal olive oils, preserves and bath salts or a hometown delicacy are always a treat)
  • Pack all of your necessities and toiletries
  • Be helpful with kitchen clean up and other light chores, unless the hosts protest your assistance
  • Keep the guest room clean and tidy, make the bed and leave the bathroom surfaces (tub, sink and floor) clean after each use (Gentlemen: Especially after shaving)
  • Be flexible and adaptable to your hosts’ activities and schedule and let them know you are having a good time
  • Offer to chip in on meals, food costs and preparation (if they will allow it) and if it’s in your budget, treat your hosts to dinner or lunch out
  • Send a handwritten thank you card and, or a gift after your visit



  • Accept invitations from others without first checking with your hosts and coordinating schedules
  • Expect your hosts to entertain you 24 hours a day (its good to bring a book, magazines or some other form of solitary enjoyment for when they are either unavailable or everyone could use a little alone or quiet time)


With these tools in your houseguest toolbox, you’ll be invited back in no time.