When you live far away from most of the important people in your life, you should feel very lucky if they decide to come visit you. While I realize that sunshine and 80 degree temperatures might play a large role in motivating them to fly south and visit me during the winter, I am still happy they come Because I am so thrilled to have good company, I am dedicated to making sure they have the best time possible—and as always, I am looking for ways to do this without breaking the bank.
Once people arrive at their travel destination, they spend the majority of their money on accommodations, food, and entertainment. My goal as a hostess is to incorporate the needs of my guests into my everyday life (budget included) so that while they are in town they can spend less and enjoy their stay without wasting an ounce of their vacation mojo on money worries or guilt trips.
10 Thrifty Tips to being the Hostess with the Most-est
Room and Board
Open your home, and make sure they feel comfortable in it – Hotels can cost upwards of $100 a night. That means if someone you love is coming to visit you for 3 days, they will spend more than $300 on a hotel room alone. Saving money on a hotel room—that your guests hopefully aren’t spending much time in anyway—will help them save a substantial amount of money and cost you nothing! Plus, you get to see them more, and there is less fuss about coordinating schedules and transportation because you are all located in one place.
Conveniently be doing a load of laundry while they are in town – Chances are you probably do your laundry at least once a week anyway, why not help them out a little by doing it while they are in town? If they are flying, you should tell them ahead of time so they have the opportunity to save on baggage fees—no extra work for you and they might save up to 40 bucks!
Stock your fridge with a variety of snacks you know they like – Do this before they get to your house so that they don’t feel like you are making extra trips to the store or spending extra money to meet their needs. Use the money from your predetermined grocery spending allotment to buy the food everyone will like. Zero extra spending for everyone and an increased level of comfort for your guests!
Stockpile coupons for your favorite restaurants – Look for ads online or scan the weekly newspaper for coupons to your favorite restaurants. Save the best ones to use when your guests are in town. This will eliminate awkward battles at the end of the meal once then bill lands on the table.
Make freezer meals ahead of time – The great thing about this tip is that you can make meals like enchiladas or baked spaghetti WHENEVER YOU HAVE TIME and pop it in the freezer until you want to bake it. If your guests are jet-lagged or worn out from a busy day, you can offer to throw it into the oven and give them a nice comforting meal at home, but because the meal is frozen and it won’t “go bad”, there are no awkward refusals if they prefer to go out. These meals are created using money from your regular grocery spending allotment for the month, which means nobody spends extra!
Get up in the morning and brew their coffee while you make breakfast for the entire household – Breakfast is often taken for granted, but it is an easy way to sneak in some hospitality. There are no arguments about who pays when everyone is still in their PJ’s
Be knowledgeable about free fun in your area – Many fun activities (especially if you are an outdoorsy type of person) are FREE! Take advantage of these—biking, hiking, parks, museums, or camping—while your guests are in town. Everybody wins, nobody pays!!
Research special events that will be happening while your guests are in town – Once you find events you think they might like—Google promo codes to see if you can get a better deal. For example, I live in Arizona, so spring training is in full swing right now –and so are the promotional deals. Why wouldn’t I offer a picnic in the ballpark as an option for my guests?!?
Provide transportation – Last year, my fiancé and I took a trip to visit his sister and aunt in San Francisco, and one of the things that made our trip so amazing was that his sister drove us ALL OVER the city—showing us ALL of the places we wanted to see. The best part was that she didn’t complain one single time (at least to us, haha, but that’s really all that matters)!! Without her kindness, our trip wouldn’t have been the same. Since then, I’ve promised myself to pay that favor forward to all of my guests as well.
Find out what THEY want to do and do that – Planning ahead will help all parties involved save money and put your guests at ease, but be sure you are taking their interest to heart. It’s their vacation—Give the people what they want!!
We want to know: What tricks do you use to make your guests feel at home when you are playing hostess? What are the key components of a stress-free, cost efficient vacation if you are playing the role of guest?