When you travel as a houseguest, there are certain implied rules. Your host is allowing you to reduce your travel expenses, so the least you can do is make the experience enjoyable for both parties. If it is a bad experience for them, they may never let anyone crash at their place again, and who wants to be the cause of the downfall of budget travel?
1. Bring a gift
Bringing a gift more applies to overseas visits, where it may be customary for such a visit. It’s not something you would think to do, especially when traveling lightly and trying to save space in your luggage. The gift can be small, and it is best if it is something that represents you or where you are from. You could bring a small bottle of bourbon if you’re from Kentucky or a Detroit Tigers ball cap if you’re from Michigan.
2. Plan out your day
Be sure to plan out your day before heading into someone else’s home. The worse thing you can do is hang around with nothing to do and the host will feel obligated to entertain you. Make your stay as stress-free as possible for your host. Of course, if they plan things for you to do together, or suggest visits to the local attractions, then it is OK to oblige them.
This rule applies more when you stay with acquaintances rather than good friends and family.
3. Pack less
Sometimes you’ll stay on couches in smaller abodes, which is still a great opportunity for budget travel. In my opinion, in places like Manhattan, 1 night on a free couch is better than 1 night in a $250 hotel. However, if you bring a suitcase the size of a grown man, your host may get annoyed that your suitcase alone takes up half of the apartment.
4. Tidy up
Yes, your hosts may prefer to have their blankets folded a certain way, but the least you can do is attempt to respect them and their house. Make your bed or fold up your blankets before you head out for the day. Even if you folded them the “wrong way,” they can at least appreciate the effort. It’s the thought that counts.
5. Don’t eat spicy food
This one may seem like a joke, but let me assure you, it is not. Go back to the point about staying on a couch in a small apartment. This 1-bedroom apartment is likely also a 1-bathroom apartment. You destroy someone’s bathroom, you destroy the chance of anyone ever staying there again.