How to Make an Overnight Guest Feel at Home


I’ve stayed in many places that were not my own home, from a small hut in a jungle to a big house in the suburbs. But, no matter the location, my brief stay left the deepest impression when my hosts went out of their way to make me feel at home.

If you are thinking about opening up your home to a weary traveler, here are a few things to do to make their stay a memorable one.

Prepare a Room

Having an enclosed room of their own would allow your guest to relax in a situation where they may not feel relaxed right away. What if you don’t have a guest room? Perhaps there are creative ways to set up a room, like using an office or a family room. If the room isn’t totally enclosed, consider hanging up a curtain, using a tension rod, to create a makeshift door. What we do is “kick out” one of our kids from their room.

I’ve been on a few missions trips in different parts of the world, where we stayed with host families. Their homes were very small, but they gladly offered us their beds while their whole family slept on the hard floor. Now that’s hospitality!

Provide Meals and Other Essentials

Traveling usually means having to eat out all the time, but if your guest is not in a rush to head out the door, feed them with some good home cooking. You don’t have to get all fancy. When I’ve traveled, I would miss the simple dishes that my mom would cook for us.

It’s also nice to provide a few essentials, like a towel and some toiletries. I like to put together a simple toiletry basket, using many of the items that I have received in the mail when signing up for free samples.


Protect Their Privacy

My daughter was super excited when I told her that her aunties would be coming to visit this week, and she eagerly offered her room. But, I reminded her that for the few days they would be staying with us, her room would be their room, meaning she could not walk in there any time she wanted.

Having an overnight guest is a good way to teach your children hospitality and also how to respect a person’s privacy.

Partake in Some Social Interaction

When a Japanese pastor, who we’ve never met before, stayed with us during a conference in town, we invited him to sit down with us for breakfast every morning. It was awkward at first, but we were blessed with the opportunity to get to know him better. He told us about his church in Japan and showed us pictures of his family. Even my kids soon felt comfortable talking and playing with him.

In the evenings, he and my husband would come home from the conference, and I would have some tea and pastries ready for them, so they could have time to relax and talk before going to bed.

When our guests have left, our house would always feel a little quieter. Though we always wanted to make a good impression on them, they always seemed to leave a lasting impression on us.

What do you do to create an atmosphere of hospitality in your home?


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15 thoughts on “How to Make an Overnight Guest Feel at Home

    1. My kids are early risers, and when they’re awake, they’re awake! Having guests stay overnight has been an opportunity to teach them some self-control. Now, if they could only remember this after our guests leave.

  1. We surprisingly get quite a few guests coming to stay with us while we have been traveling. Your suggestions are exactly what I do! 🙂 Now we just need a post about how to be a good guest. 🙂 LOL

    1. I struggle with it too. It’s not always easy because it affects the whole family routine. I know a family who make it a regular thing to have different people stay at their house. I’m not there, but even just saying “yes” when the opportunity comes up helps me step out of my comfort zone.

  2. My mother in law lives many states away from us and we do not go to her place more than once a year. Whenever we do go, however, I know that I will be made to feel at home immediately with home cooked meals, a special room, and always a basket full of goodies. She places my favorites things in the basket–dark chocolate, fruits, trail mixes, etc. It always makes me feel so welcomed. I always hope whenever someone comes to visit me they will feel as welcomed as I do with her. Great tips and advise Ai, as always!

  3. We absolutely love having guests in our home! =D All the things you said are very important. Providing a “welcome basket” is such a nice gesture. =) Makes the guest feel extra loved.

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