How to stay with friends on holiday and stay friends

For a lot of people, a large percentage of the holiday budget goes towards accommodation.  Of course, there are cheaper alternatives to hotels like hostels and couch-surfing but the least expensive would probably be staying with a friend.  In many cases, when you stay with a good friend, they may even show you around the city if it’s one you’re not used to meaning you get a great package: accommodation and tour guide practically free-of-charge.


While staying with a friend is a pretty comfortable situation, it is one that the visitor can easily take advantage of leading to tension and sometimes, the end of the friendship.  You can avoid all that though.  Here are some tips on how to be a great guest:


  • Take a gift along with you.  It doesn’t have to be anything expensive.  Just make it something you think she will like.  Bonus points if it is something not easily found where she lives.  For example, my friend Yetunde who lives in London once mentioned that getting the hair extensions  she likes (and which are easily available in Lagos) were difficult to find there.  I bought the extensions and gave them to her when I stayed at her place, she was so pleased I wished I had bought even more.


  • Offer to pay something for your upkeep.  Fine, you’re friends and you feel funny offering her money.  After all, isn’t staying at her place on holiday just like an extended sleepover?  That may be but she’ll be spending more money (on electricity, food etc) while you’re there.  It’s only polite to offer some cash while you’re at her place.  She may well refuse it but she will always remember that you offered.


  • Buy things for the house.  So your friend refused to take money from you but that doesn’t mean you should sit back and blow all your money on shoes for you.  Stock up her fridge with things you both like.  If you see she’s running low on mundane things like toothpaste, replace it.  She’ll appreciate it.


  • Watch her day-to-day lifestyle and try to fit in with it.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t do what you plan to do on holiday but you should share your plans with your friend.  For example:  if you’re going to be out late, tell her so she knows to stay up, leave the door open, give you a spare key or whatever option is best for you both.


  • Clean up after yourself.  Don’t leave the bathroom looking like a flood hit it and wash any dishes you use.  You don’t expect her to get back home and wash you dishes do you?  Do you?

These are all little things and they might seem pretty obvious but you would be surprised at the number of people who act like spoiled brats at their friend’s place.  Remember, your friend’s place is a home not a hotel.  Treat it and her with courtesy.


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