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happy overnight
hosting a handy survival guide for coping with out-of-town guests
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Ah, summer. Season of barbecues, pool parties, weekends at the beach … and yes, the deluge of out-of-town guests. Your parents, your siblings, your best friend from college – seems like everyone’s waited till these summer months, saving up their precious vacation time just to come pay a visit to little old you. It’s great to see loved ones, of course, but having to keep friends and family well-fed and well-entertained during the entire course of their visit can easily drive even the most hospitable of us to the brink of madness.

Now back in the college days, friends coming to visit probably meant you’d give them a space on the couch and a sleeping bag. Entertaining consisted of letting them tag along with you while you did the stuff you’d normally do anyway (skip class to go shopping, hang out at coffee shops, watch movies, hang out at your favorite club or bar). These days, however, your normal routine isn’t nearly so fun – and given that no one, no matter how much they adore you, is going to enjoy trailing along with you while you toil away at work, it’s clear that you’re going to have to break away from your usual routines to ensure that your guests have a good time while they’re staying with you.

I’m not going to get all Martha Stewart on you and suggest anything as preposterous as setting out a little welcome basket of toiletries, or a vase of fresh flowers, or any of those other things that hyper-vigilant hostesses are apparently supposed to be doing. But there are a few simple steps you can and should follow to ensure that both you and your guests survive the visit -- and actually have fun as well.

1 Make up an extra set of house keys.
If your guests are staying for more than a night or two, chances are good that they won’t be in your company at all times. (Both for your sanity and for theirs, it’s a good idea to give guests some time to wander around for themselves). Give them a set of house keys the first night of their visit; that way, if they get up before you the next morning, they can take a walk in the neighborhood, rather than sit around twiddling their thumbs, waiting for you to get your lazy butt out of bed. You’ll also want to make sure that your guests know how to lock up properly, and deal with any alarm systems you might have.

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