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06.27.2002: Etiquette Schmetiquette
common-sense manners
for real-world living
1 2 3 4
houseguest etiquette ...
Q: I have a friend visiting from Australia in August. She will be staying 3 weeks with me. I have a lot of places we are going site seeing etc. I was wondering what is the proper etiquette for paying for things like admissions to parks, museum, etc. We will also be staying in a hotel a couple of nights. Should I be responsible for the whole hotel bill or only half and do I pay for her way into all the places we go that have an admission charge? I want to be a good host so any help you and give me would be greatly appreciated. -- thanks diane

A: I would never expect a friend that was kind enough to host me for three weeks to also foot the bill my feeling as a guest is that my host is already being nice enough to let me intrude on their living space and their no doubt very precious time Id feel terrible if I also knew that my visit was putting a huge dent in their wallet. As a host, I would certainly plan to be spending a little more than usual on food and drink for the house, and gas for the car to get us around to all the sights, but beyond that, Im of the opinion that costs should generally be split two-ways, with each person paying their own way. It would certainly be ultra-hospitable of you to offer an all-expense paid vacation to your guest, but by no means do I think that its necessary to go to such extremes in order to be a good host. 

Cook your friend a few good meals, make her feel welcome in your home, share your expertise of the area by bringing her around to all the fun and interesting tourist sights, and pay for the occasional museum visit or lunch if youre so inclined. But the only thing thats really required as the good host is that you let her know how happy you are that shes taken the time to fly out all this way to spend time with you. Indulge in lots of long, wonderful conversations and share plenty of laughs, and Im sure that both you, and she, will enjoy a fabulous visit.

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