Being invited to stay overnight in someone's home is an honor and one you shouldn't take lightly. As the guest, you have certain responsibilities toward the host.
Importance of Showing Gratitude
Have you ever worried that being an overnight guest is an imposition to the host? In most cases, the host wouldn't have invited you if he or she felt that way. The important thing now is to show your gratitude with a thank you note and gift. It only takes a few minutes to write "Thank you for hosting" and a few other words that are more specific to the visit.
Staying overnight at someone's home can be an enjoyable experience for both the host and the guest if you show respect for each other and don't forget to follow proper etiquette guidelines. However, it still requires a considerable amount of work from the host before you arrive, while you're there, and after you leave.
Valuing the Host
Think about all of the things your host did to prepare for your visit. Chances are, she purchased extra food, washed sheets, planned events, and rearranged her own schedule to accommodate you.
While you were there, her routine was interrupted as she entertained you, cooked meals she thought you would like, and dealt with disruptions to her normal day. And then after you left, she had to do whatever it took to bring her house back to pre-visit order.
When someone opens his or her home to you for an overnight visit, you should always send a thank you note after you leave. Even if you brought a host or hostess gift, a handwritten letter is essential to show good manners. You may even want to send another gift to show an extra dose of appreciation.
What Goes in the Thank You Note
When writing a thank you note after spending the night (or nights) in someone's home, the first sentence should have the words "thank you," "appreciate," or something along those lines. The next sentence should expound on that by expressing something specific and positive about your stay.
Feel free to mention more than one thing you enjoyed about the visit. For example, you may want to mention the comfortable accommodations and the delicious meals. Close with a statement about the future, such as an offer to reciprocate.
When to Send the Thank You Note
Don't wait long to send a letter of appreciation to your host. If you do it the day you get home, or even sooner if you have other stops to make after you leave the host, you won't have to add it to your to-do list after you get home. Never wait longer than a couple of weeks, but it's best to do it the next day.
Overnight Stay Thank You Note Samples
Dear Mrs. Zully,
I want to thank you for being so gracious and opening your beautiful home to me last weekend. I had a wonderful time chatting with your family. I would love to reciprocate and have you stay with me next time you visit Nashville.
Thank you for letting me stay at your apartment last weekend. I probably wouldn't have been able to go to the Braves game if it hadn't been for you. I had a great time and would love to have you stay at my place next time you're in Indianapolis.
Dear Sam and Sally,
Thank you so much for having our family in your home. We haven’t been able to stop talking about the comfortable beds, delicious meals, and delightful conversation. We look forward to seeing all of you again. Maybe you can stay with us next time you come to Idaho.
Thank you for opening your lovely home to my husband and me last weekend. I had a great time, and I'm happy that our husbands finally had an opportunity to get to know each other. If you and Mike can ever get away, Patrick and I would love to have you stay with us.
Thank You Gift
If you spent several nights in someone's home, it's a good idea to send a gift that the host can use later. It doesn't have to be elaborate, but it should be something you know your host would like.
Here are some thank you gift ideas you can send later:
- Gift card to a favorite restaurant
- Spa basket
- Coffee table book
- Photo album with some pictures from your visit tucked inside