Having family and friends visit you while you are living abroad is a great way to stay close to them. It also provides the perfect opportunity to act like a tourist and gain a whole new appreciation for your home country through the eyes of someone visiting for the first time.
If you want your time together with your house guests to go without a hitch, here are a few simple tips to follow before they board their flight.
Pick the best time for them to visit
In most cases, family and friends will contact you in advance to confirm the best time to visit. During holidays like Easter or Christmas, flight prices can rise dramatically, but this is still the most convenient time for many people to travel since they have time off work without using up their annual leave. This way, you won't be forced to use up valuable holiday time entertaining house guests.
If you live in a country with a volatile climate, such as one with a monsoon or rainy season, advise your guests to avoid visiting then. After all, you don’t want them to fork out a fortune on flights, only to be stuck inside watching the heavens open outside!
Timing can make or break a trip - for both of you.
Prepare an itinerary
When you live abroad, having house guests can be a lot of fun. You get to learn about your home in a way that only tourists can. Over time, expats can forget about the wealth of cultural attractions right on their doorstep. You may find that visiting these hotspots rekindles an appreciation for where you live. You might even notice new things based on what your guests observe.
Have a rough itinerary prepared for your visitors if you're not willing to drop everything to take them sightseeing. Based on their interests, which you should know by now, suggest some sights and attractions that they might enjoy, as well as those they should avoid. They can also do some research beforehand if you give them an outline of things to do. A few bar and restaurant recommendations, which fit their budget, may also be helpful. With all that sightseeing, they are sure to work up quite an appetite!
Be clear on boundaries
Informing visitors early about your living situation and schedule is always a good idea when they want to visit. Setting boundaries from the start may sound cold, but it's an excellent way to avoid misunderstandings later on. Be upfront and tell them before they plan their trip if you are too busy at work and cannot take time off. Your honesty will be appreciated and they will value the time you can spend with them. Hopefully, they will be independent enough to explore on their own by then.
Set some rules if you don't want to be stuck in the kitchen every night preparing meals for your guests, or running late for work due to a long wait for the shower. You could suggest that you eat out locally or be the first to use the bathroom in the morning.
Get some spare keys
Give your guests the freedom to come and go as they please from your home (within reason, of course); give them a spare key. It will save you both time in planning your daily routines. You won't have to rush across town halfway through the day to let them in your house, and you'll both have the opportunity to relax and do what you like.
If you can't face the thought of negotiating the market crowds for the millionth time, tell them you will meet them at home once they've finished shopping. If they do not know how to get home, make sure they have a Wi-Fi connection and they can use Google Maps to navigate.
The experience of hosting family and friends in your new country should be enjoyable