31 Things a Great Host Will Think About Before Having Overnight Guests

published Nov 24, 2019
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Having overnight guests is a chance to quietly lavish people with care. Considering and anticipating their needs ahead of time so they truly feel like they’re at home while they’re away from home is no easy feat. But it’s a challenge that attention to detail can turn into an opportunity to make your guests feel loved.

While not every one of these think-ahead items applies to every home or every overnight guest scenario, these are some of the kinds of things a great host thinks about long before the doorbell rings:

Getting There

  • Do my guests know where to park when they get to my house?
  • Will my guests need an extra key?
  • Do my guests need special directions for how to get to my house?
Credit: Amelia Lawrence/Apartment Therapy


  • Do I have enough pillows?
  • Have I set out an extra blanket in case my guests are chilly at night?
    Do I have a white noise machine handy to block out noise so my guests can sleep well?
  • Do I need to ask my guests to bring any extra bedding (like sleeping bags for children)?
  • What are my guests’ preferred sleeping arrangements, if they have children (i.e., do they specifically want their children in the room with them, etc.)?
Credit: Minette Hand

Health and Comfort

  • Will pet allergies be an issue?
  • Are my guests okay with a large dog?
  • Is the bathroom stocked with shampoo and conditioner, body soap, hand soap, toilet paper, feminine products, etc.?
  • Have I let my guests know we don’t wear shoes in our house so they know ahead of time and can bring slippers if they want to?

Food and Drink

  • Do my guests drink coffee?
  • Should I pick up some half-and-half at the store in case my guests don’t drink their coffee black like I do?
  • Do my guests have any dietary restrictions?
  • Is there anything my guests prefer not to eat?
  • Is there anything my guests particularly do like to eat?
  • Do my guests’ children need any kind of food on hand, such as milk?
  • Do I have to-go lunch items in the fridge in case my guests want to pack food for a day out?
  • What kinds of snacks should I have accessible?
Credit: Lauren Kolyn

Routines and Activities

  • How much time do my guests expect to spend with me and my family?
  • Will my guests want to spend time alone?
  • Do I have entertainment (toys, books, art supplies, etc.) for my guests’ children?
  • Have I written out my wifi password so my guests don’t have to ask me for it?
  • Am I ready with suggestions for what my guests like to do while they’re in town?
  • Is there something my guests enjoyed eating or doing last time they were here that I can replicate?
  • What time do my guests typically go to bed and get up?
  • Do I have any plans that my guests should know about beforehand?
  • What’s the weather going to be like?
  • Do I have extra umbrellas for my guests?
  • Have I reminded guests of any special clothing they should bring (swimsuit for a hot tub, gloves, hiking shoes, etc.)?