Last month I published the Top 10 Ways To Be An A+ International House Guest and fellow expats around the world cheered with delight. Well, the knife cuts both ways and I’m here to share some tips on how to be an excellent expat host.
As nice as it is to have respectful, thoughtful guests, it is equally important to be a considerate host when your family and friends are traveling hours to visit you.
If you want to guarantee that friends and family will ever repeat their long and expensive trek to see your scrubby faces, here are the top 10 ways to be an A+ expat host.
1. Meet them at the airport
A+: “Welcome to our new country! We have nice cold waters waiting for you in the car and you can relax the rest of the way to our place.”
Pass: “I ordered a taxi for you at the airport. The driver will bring you straight to our house.”
Fail: “Sorry, I forgot you were coming. Just hop in any cab. Do you need our address?”
2. Help them through their jet lag (we know how it feels)
A+: “The first few days are going to be rough. We’ve stocked some sleeping pills, eye masks, water, pain reliever, and other things you may need while your body transitions to our timezone. Let me know how long you need to sleep.”
Pass: “Keep drinking lots of water. Let’s try to go to bed a little later today instead of 5 p.m. like last night. That might help things.”
Fail: “Up and at ’em! I know it’s like 1 a.m. your time and it’s your first day here but that’s the best way to adjust!”
3. Give them your local knowledge
A+: “We know all of the best spots to eat, sights to see, and easy ways to get around. Here, take our travel guide with you. Here’s how to say, ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ in the local language.”
Pass: “Have you had a chance to read the emails I sent to you about our local museums?”
Fail: “I find exploring solo with no knowledge of what to expect is the best way to discover a new place. Enjoy!”
4. Offer to babysit their kids
A+: “We know that this is your vacation and our city is completely different at night. If you want, we are happy to watch the kids so you can go explore.”
Pass: “Let’s eat in tonight or find a family-friendly restaurant so we can all relax together.”
Fail: “Oh, you’re bringing your kids?”
5. Be sensitive to their discomfort
A+: “I realize that our country is totally different than anything else you’ve experienced. Let me know what I can do to make your stay more comfortable.”
Pass: “We made a few simple dishes with basic flavors so you can try it but if you don’t like we also have some more familiar foods for you.”
Fail: “You think this food smells bad, you should try this one!”
6. Ask about their lives
A+: “We’ve talked enough about us, how are you guys doing? What big things are happening in your lives?”
Pass: “So, what’s up?”
Fail: “And then I said…”
7. Encourage your friends and family to visit
A+: “We’d really love it if you came out to visit us. What can we do to make that happen?”
Pass: “Everyone is always welcome. We’d love to have you.”
Fail: “Uhh, if you want to come we can meet you somewhere in the city for a lunch or something…”
8. You might need to see that touristy hot spot 100 times.
A+: “Let’s go check out that really cool touristy area that I know you’ll love. It’s okay that I’ve been there a million times already. It’s new to you.”
Pass: “Oh, let’s definitely swing by that spot. I’ll probably have a coffee over here but you guys enjoy it.”
Fail: “Yeah, I’ve totally been there a million times already. You go on ahead.”
9. Plan a visit to their house
A+: “We’ve had such a wonderful time during your visit that we’d love to come and visit you sometime in the future.”
Pass: “We’ll have to meet up next time our paths cross!”
Fail: “Well, who knows when we will see each other again. At least this was fun.”
10. Say thank you numerous times
A+: “Thank you so much for coming to visit. We really had a wonderful time and hope you did too.”
Pass: “Thanks for coming! We will Skype soon.”
Fail: “Don’t you have a plane to catch? Bye.”
We absolutely understand how difficult it is to fly halfway around the world to visit us and A+ hosts really want your stay to be as positive as possible.
Our visitors have mentioned that we are excellent hosts (it helps that Jon’s cooking is amazing) and our doors are always open to visitors passing by.
Feel free to add your own A+ expat host tips in the comments!
I know 25 women who are excellent expat hosts and they are all sharing their stories in Knocked Up Abroad Again. Pre-order your copy today here.