Friday, January 2, 2015

10 Tips When You Have Houseguests

We've just had yet another set of house guests arrive (actually it is more a group, two parents and two kids); these are just a few of many, many people we have hosted over the past couple of months.  Funny how no one wanted to come visit when we lived in rainy Seattle yet now that we live in sunny Las Vegas we have been overrun with people.  In fact, since we moved to Vegas we have hosted over a hundred people and our guest book continues to increase.

Over time we have developed a general set of rules, or tips, for dealing with all of these people...

  1. All guns, unless I have one on my person, get locked up, all medications get locked up, and anything else that can pose a danger gets locked up.  We tend to keep weapons in hidden yet easy to access locations around the house but when other people are here, especially people with kids, anything that can pose a danger gets locked up because there is no other way to ensure people's safety without doing this.
  2. We make it a habit to keep the pantry and the freezer well stocked since we often have unexpected or last minute guests and the last thing I want to do is run out to the grocery store every time someone shows up in order to feed them.  We often rotate our emergency food stockpile into our pantry as well.  All of this effort allows us to cook for one to a hundred people with no notice at all.
  3. When people let us know they are coming to visit I send them an email with the following info: our address (so they can GPS their way to our house when they arrive), a couple of cheaper car rental places (it's pretty much a rule that people who come to visit need a car since we now have only one vehicle and a pretty busy schedule), the password to our WiFi network (very important), our schedule (like I said, we keep a pretty busy schedule so this way everyone can plan based on ours--and their--schedule), my cell number and the spouse's cell number (most communication happens through email and Facebook these days so having these numbers in case of emergency is important), and any special requests (if people request something special--from certain groceries to show tickets--we try to help them out but it works out best when we have this info ahead of time instead of after their arrival).
  4. I make it a habit to secure the house before we leave the premises and before everyone goes to bed for the night (you never know when a guest will run outside and forget to lock the door on their way back in or open a window and forget to close and lock it).  This increases safety for everyone.
  5. We generally provide a handful of "services" then let the guests work out the rest for themselves.  We provide: a ride to and from the airport if necessary, laundry, the occasional tour (I've seen the Strip a bajillion times so usually let guests enjoy that attraction by themselves but if they want to do something specific like going for a hike at Red Rock, I will happily take them along with me), and all the food they can eat (we recommend that our guests enjoy the great buffets here and other nice restaurants but by providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner--or at least having these available since the spouse cooks All. The. Time.--we find this saves them a lot of money during their stay).
  6. I keep a list of things to do based on the weekend (National Finals Rodeo was here a few weeks ago, there are a few fun runs coming up, as well as other events such as First Friday) as well as generic stuff (the Fremont Experience always has stuff going on), and a list of specific activities for kids as well as specific activities based on things I know our guests enjoy so that our guests will have entertainment options when they come to visit.
  7. We ensure that the guest rooms have everything they need so again, there won't be any last minute runs to the store.  Things such as a small space heater, extra blankets, a second set of sheets for each room, and extra toiletries in case they forget something like a toothbrush are all stocked ahead of time and, per yesterday's blog post, restocked after the guests leave so the rooms will be ready for the next guests.
  8. We have subscriptions for House Seats, Fill a Seat, and Show Tickets for Locals which means that after paying for an annual subscription, we can get up to four free tickets for a wide variety of shows and provide these to our guests if they want them.
  9. Our house is so generically boring that it doesn't lend itself to being "cased".  Of course we generally know everyone who comes to visit but occasionally our visitors bring guests that we don't know.  The gun safes are hidden so unless people are specifically looking for them they won't find them.  Our electronics--from TVs to computers--are decidedly average and nothing that draws attention.  There is no clutter (bills, bank statement, and other mail are sorted and put away or shredded, not left lying around which prevents identity theft and nosiness), nothing of value is left laying around (these things are also locked up in a hidden safe), and all survival gear, food stockpiles, etc. are neatly organized and stored in tubs in what looks like a typical garage.  In other words, people who come to visit won't think "holy crap a survivalist lives here" or "holy crap whoever burglarizes this house is going to make a haul".
  10. We have a few regular guests that we trust implicitly who get keys to the house and an open invitation to drop in at any time (with a bit of forewarning, of course, so I don't think someone is breaking into the house).  
All of these rules allow us to host loads of people with all comes down to preparedness.


  1. #7, I have a question with the extra toiletries, do you get the hotel toiletries, from the hotel supply stores? I could see that being used in both the house and in the bug out bags. House cause you'd have the supplies for guests, and the bug out bags you'd save weight and space to add more if you needed to.

  2. Since we tend to travel quite a bit we have loads of hotel toiletries which we use for guests. For my travel and bug out supplies I get travel-sized toiletries (toothpaste, shampoo, etc) from Walmart or Target since they seem to be sturdier containers than the ones I pick up at hotels.