How may we make your stay more comfortable?
August 5, 2015 9:12 AM   Subscribe

You find yourself unexpectedly staying overnight at a friend's home. Aside from the obvious toothbrush, what sorts of things would you appreciate your friend providing for you to make your stay more comfortable?
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell to Home & Garden (54 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Robe/pajamas if they have extra clean ones. Clean sheets/blankets/pillows. Coffee.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:13 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Putting some common stuff (glassware, napkins, snacks) out on the kitchen counter so you don't have to awkwardly dig through someone else's cabinets to find things.
posted by JoeZydeco at 9:14 AM on August 5, 2015 [11 favorites]

Extra pillows and blankets. You never know how many of those items people want.

I have a little basket in my guest bath with travel sized toiletries, including a little bottle of contact solution and a spare case.
posted by something something at 9:15 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

Extra blankets, a bottle of water, and a microusb charger (or a lightning cord if they're an iphone user, I guess). Instructions on how to work the coffee machine if applicable.
posted by specialagentwebb at 9:17 AM on August 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

An idea of when the other residents will be up and about, and whether any are light sleepers.
posted by Etrigan at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

A white noise generator of some sort.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 9:23 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

A friend of mine never remembers to bring contact lens solution or her case when she crashes at my place after a drunken night. I don't wear contacts but I should really keep a travel set around for her.
posted by lizbunny at 9:26 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Contact lens solution and case! I once managed to use shotglasses at an ex's place because he didn't have an extra case, so the solution is the really important thing.
posted by jabes at 9:27 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Alongside the toothbrush, travel size shampoo and conditioner so I don't have to guess which stuff is okay to use in the shower.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:30 AM on August 5, 2015

A note about contact lens solution, for those who are not familiar with the practice of jamming pieces of plastic into one's eyes every morning -- get multipurpose solution, not hydrogen peroxide. The former can be used by anyone in any container, while the latter is only used in special cases with a neutralizer. If your guest accidentally uses a hydrogen peroxide solution without using the neutralizer (or not using enough, or if it's old, or if it doesn't sit long enough), it can seriously fuck up their eyes.
posted by Etrigan at 9:32 AM on August 5, 2015 [8 favorites]

Charger charger charger next to the bed.
posted by Elly Vortex at 9:33 AM on August 5, 2015 [7 favorites]

sleeping mask and earplugs, in case they are sensitive to light and/or a light sleeper. a multicharger so people can charge their phone.
posted by zug at 9:34 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Previously. Although this previous question was framed in the context of a new romantic partner, there's a lot of good information for being a good host to houseguests in general.
posted by mochapickle at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

A lamp next to the bed/ couch, and an alarm clock. An extra pillow. A defined place to put stuff like glasses, water glass, keys. Extension cord for phone charger. (on preview, waves at Elly Vortex.)
posted by theora55 at 9:35 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also previously, and less romantically-inclined.
posted by joan cusack the second at 9:36 AM on August 5, 2015 [6 favorites]

tampons/pads, and a trashbag/lid in the bathroom's trashcan.
posted by monologish at 9:37 AM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

maybe this is english, or just odd, but i'd prefer you to not fuss so much and just act like me being there isn't causing a lot of trouble.
posted by andrewcooke at 9:38 AM on August 5, 2015 [27 favorites]

A helpful card on the refrigerator with the address, landline, wifi password, and other relevant location-specific information.
posted by Andrhia at 9:39 AM on August 5, 2015 [8 favorites]

Feminine hygiene products, wifi network and password on a bedside table, clean tshirt and boxers/lounge pants to use as PJs, quick tour of the kitchen where foods it's ok to snack on are pointed out.
posted by quince at 9:40 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm an early riser, so... coffee or tea fixings left out, same with bread and the toaster (or muffins/croissants); clean towels either pointed out or left in my room, ditto personal bath soaps/shampoo/conditioner. Just these and I'm happy!
posted by mal de coucou at 9:44 AM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

In addition to many great suggestions above, a disposable razor and a loan of or travel-sized shaving cream canisters.
posted by vegartanipla at 9:51 AM on August 5, 2015

I stockpile all my random travel-size toiletries and keep them in a little canvas basket in the linen closet--when we have guests I just put the basket out in the bathroom and they can take their pick!
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:06 AM on August 5, 2015

Yeah, I'm going to want a water glass and your wi-fi password. Then I'm good, 'cause I bring my own earplugs.
posted by puddledork at 10:16 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

The thing that has made me utterly miserable when staying at people's houses is having to sleep on bedding that reeks of scented detergent, fabric softener, etc. If you're not accustomed to these things they are overwhelmingly strong. And if you have skin sensitivities, then they're an actual health issue. On the other hand you will offend no one by using unscented products.
posted by HotToddy at 10:23 AM on August 5, 2015 [13 favorites]

Being offered some simple, no prep breakfast food like cereal, yogurt, oatmeal, or fruit can be really nice! I had a friend host me when I was traveling, so it wasn't unexpected, but she offered cereal and milk for breakfast and it was really pleasant to sit down for breakfast with her.
posted by capricorn at 10:28 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

Putting up nightlights sufficient to find the bathroom while half asleep in the dark is good.

A variety of weights of blankets - I know people that will want just a top sheet in the same environment others will want a heavy comforter and everything in between.

If the shower is non-intuitive, written instructions left in the bathroom.

I really appreciate it when hosts have floss available.
posted by Candleman at 10:38 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Clean towel and facecloth.
posted by clone boulevard at 10:40 AM on August 5, 2015

Empty hangers.
posted by box at 10:42 AM on August 5, 2015

Response by poster: quince: "Feminine hygiene products"

Could you elaborate? (Guy here! Not totally clueless, but guidance would be helpful. Thanks!)
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 10:47 AM on August 5, 2015

an obvious source of extra toilet paper
posted by oneear at 10:47 AM on August 5, 2015 [9 favorites]

Could you elaborate?

quince is talking about tampons and maxi pads, but honestly, (and MetaFilter goes back and forth on this one all the time) as a female-bodied person I would find it weird if I found tampons and pads in a house where no women live. If I really needed something I'd just go to the nearest CVS or corner store.
posted by capricorn at 10:50 AM on August 5, 2015 [12 favorites]

for the feminine hygiene products - a pack of assorted sized tampons and some pads. On the pads I'd err on the more absorbent size. It's stressful to worry about bleeding on your hosts bed / couch. If it was really unexpected I'd be too relieved to find it weird.
posted by oneear at 10:52 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

To elaborate on feminine hygiene products: I would appreciate a box of tampons in various absorbencies, a box of pads (like ultra thin or something).

Being an unexpected house guest is stressful for many people. Added stress can bring on menstruation early for some women. I am a heavy bleeder. Once I start, it gets heavy quickly enough that arranging to get to a CVS is going to result in...problems. I understand that I am totally an outlier in this regard.

The mileage on this varies a lot. Some ladies would find it weird or creepy if guys had menstrual products in their home. I would not. Proceed with caution.
posted by bilabial at 10:55 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

How to Share Your Wi-Fi Network with Friends, No Password Typing Required

Especially for those of us who prefer to use random password strings.
posted by bonehead at 11:03 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

In re. pads/tampons -- lots of manufacturers send out free samples. Google for this, request as many different kinds as you come across. Then you have a variety on hand, and a "Oh, they just showed up in the mail" relative lack of weirdness about it.
posted by kmennie at 11:06 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Better to have and not need than to need and not have, and they never go bad."

I have a lot of random stuff in my basement for just this reason. Every now and then, it comes in handy.
posted by Etrigan at 11:09 AM on August 5, 2015 [4 favorites]

I wouldn't find it weird at all to find tampons etc at a man's house if there were no woman in residence. I'd just assume that the last female visitor, however long she stayed, left them behind. And I would also be really relieved because yeah, bleeding on someone's sheets or couch is suuuuuper embarassing.
posted by holborne at 11:10 AM on August 5, 2015 [5 favorites]

One more pillow than you think a guest needs. Two more blankets than you think a guest needs. I also have one set of guest towels (one bath, one hand, one face) that are a different color from all my other towels and my kids know better than to touch, so they're always clean. (Which is convenient for me and my somewhat disorganized housekeeping.)

A light the guest can control FROM INSIDE THE BED (or couch) ... the WORST is when you're in a guest room or crashing on someone's couch and you have to navigate across it in the dark after turning off the light. Even a little clamp-on gooseneck helps.

A hairdryer. I don't use one, but I keep a little inexpensive one in the basket with the teeny hotel toiletries that I put out for guests ... even expected guests are generally delighted to have it handy.

These are fine pads for a wide selection of surprise guests. Nobody's picky in a menstrual emergency, and the ultrathin with wings style is probably the most widely preferred. I feel like people are pickier about tampons ... if you have a frequent female guest (a sister or a mom), maybe just a couple of whatever she likes best?
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:18 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Clean towels, a piece of paper with the wifi network and wifi password written on it (or this can be stuck up on the fridge), extra phone charger + extension cord or the like that reaches to wherever the guest is sleeping (if there isn't already a plug nearby).
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:32 AM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

posted by sam_harms at 11:58 AM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

I like it when I am shown where things are, and given specific permissions on what I can help myself to. For instance, "This is the closet where we have towels. Grab however many you need." Comments like, "Make yourself at home" tell me nothing.

I also like to know what I'm allowed to do if I happen to be up in the morning before my hosts. Can I help myself to the breakfast cereal? Make coffee? Watch television?

I think one of the most basic things to do for an overnight guest is to stock a beverage the person drinks on a regular basis.
posted by LilithSilver at 11:59 AM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

All of the above plus basic house information . . . how to use the remotes, which keys need to be jiggled in the lock, when/how alarm codes get set, what time everyone gets up and the general schedule of the hosts, names and habits of the pets, etc. And it is such a good idea to ask your guests about their food issues/preferences, allergies/sensitivities, and plans/preferences.

We have an information sheet we drafted ages ago for house sitters, whom we rarely use anymore. Whatever you'd tell a house sitter is what I'd want to provide to a guest, plus get a fair idea from the guest about what's up with their preferences/needs.
posted by bearwife at 12:06 PM on August 5, 2015 [2 favorites]

Little trash bin in the bathroom and the bedroom; it is surprising how handy that is.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome at 12:28 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

little trash bin in the bathroom

Yes. And please make it lined.
posted by Candleman at 12:50 PM on August 5, 2015 [3 favorites]

yeah, being shown where things are - also confers "permission" to use these things and not feel like maybe you're sneaking them.

Biggest single thing that I don't normally carry with me when I travel is towels.
posted by randomkeystrike at 1:20 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Definitely comfy slippers, and thick light blocking curtains in the bedroom.
posted by Blitz at 1:25 PM on August 5, 2015

Wow, if you included all of the above and I was your guest, I would never leave. And you would be an awesome host. Maybe you should get a guestbook and contemplate opening a B&B :D

But to add onto the list, a small/travel bottle of advil or ibuprofen is always appreciated!
posted by buttonedup at 1:35 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

Information about pets: if I'm up early, is it OK to take the dog for a walk, and what do I need and need to know? If there's a cat, which doors need to be left ajar so HRH won't wail bloody murder in the middle of the night upon discovering the unauthorized restriction of access to her or his territory? If said pets are wily scavengers, a reminder not to leave attractive snacks in my bag.

Disclosure of security camera presence, status and typical use.

Potable water. Maybe even a way to heat it. Indication of method and source some guests might not be familiar with, such as a hot-filtered tap at the sink.

If you don't have (and possibly don't want) lidded, lined trash cans in the bed/bathrooms, then provide and point out a supply of small opaque paper bags for this purpose.

PSA: If you're the guest and trying to help clean up the kitchen, please don't discard the host's wet/used tea leaves from a filter that's sitting out. Not all leaves are single-use. Not all teas are plentiful and easy to come by. Thank you.
posted by wonton endangerment at 2:25 PM on August 5, 2015

Just a note to any AirBnB hosts reading this. Much of this applies for those spaces, too--especially the bedside lamp, place to put stuff by the bed, cups in the bathroom & similar. My husband recently stayed at a place where he needed to buy cups/tissues (which he left there), wished he had towels that didn't seem to belong to the dog, and similar niceties. He obviously had all his travel stuff, chargers, & didn't expect food, etc., but the hosts need to take a look at the space and consider what a paying guest might expect--not the Ritz, but certainly the basics you'd offer to a friend who was staying over.
posted by Nosey Mrs. Rat at 8:03 PM on August 5, 2015 [1 favorite]

1. Please don't shoot me animal lovers but if you have pets maybe keeping them away from the guest especially if they tend to jump on people.

2. The feeling that they are not 'intruding' so a generally open attitude so they don't feel awkward when walking around.
posted by ihaveyourfoot at 7:26 AM on August 6, 2015

Place to put your bag down. It's frustrating when a guest room has no empty surfaces (other than the floor) on which to plop a duffel bag and rummage through it. I've even seen people who keep a hotel-style luggage rack for this, and it's appreciated.
posted by Miko at 9:21 AM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

In invitation to turn the A/C down themselves if they need it cooler during the stay.
posted by telophase at 12:56 PM on August 6, 2015 [1 favorite]

A hairbrush would be very much appreciated by me, even more so than shampoo & conditioner etc.
posted by cantthinkofagoodname at 5:58 AM on August 7, 2015

A fan would be great. I used to keep my old place chilly at night and it was nice to have an oscillating fan when I stayed at my sister's (who kept her place at a normal temperature). Conversely, extra blankets stored somewhere that is easily accessible in the middle of the night without waking up your hosts.
posted by bentley at 5:58 PM on August 8, 2015

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