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Overheard on CNN.com: Don't be a hellish houseguest

By Katia Hetter, Special to CNN
updated 2:46 PM EST, Thu January 12, 2012
People often flock to visit friends who live in tourist hot spots such as Honolulu.
People often flock to visit friends who live in tourist hot spots such as Honolulu.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Clean up after yourself -- and your host
  • Do not criticize your daughter-in-law or son-in-law
  • Don't bring uninvited guests or pets

Editor's note: Overheard on CNN.com is a regular feature that examines interesting comments and thought-provoking conversations posted by the community.

(CNN) -- A recent article about using friends' homes as hotels inspired readers to come up with more ways to get a return invite -- and some things to avoid if you want to be welcome again!

We're guessing that guests who give the rest of us a bad reputation don't see themselves in the comments of the disgruntled hosts. Know that eventually some hosts will get fed up and shut their hotel doors down to everyone. And their friends will blame the bad guests.

Here are eight ways to improve your houseguest experience from CNN.com reader comments, some of which have been edited for length or clarity:

1. Treat your host like a king

If you are lucky enough to have an offer of a bed in France or Las Vegas or ski country, go the extra mile and make your host's life a little easier while you're there.

Johnnyleen: "I stay regularly with a friend in France. Each morning before he leaves for work I ask if I can run any errands for him. By the time he gets off work the errands are taken care of, the dishes are washed, and the beds are made. Then once or twice I ask about his favorite restaurants and treat him to a meal there. Upon returning to the U.S., I purchase a thank you note, write it out in my own handwriting, and take it to the post office (a lost art if there ever was one)."

2. Exception to that guest's recommendation

Make sure they don't mind you cleaning. If your hosts like things done a certain way, do not interfere. Instead, help them the way they want to be helped.

Caon: "If a guest can pull their own weight (such as help the kids with their homework, keep them busy, clean) I think that equals itself out. Although this obviously comes down to the hosts' comfort level. Personally I don't like people cleaning things beside their own mess. People don't clean things right for me."

3. Give your host some space

Remember that some people might enjoy your company and still need space to decompress from work when they get home. Even if they don't want you to go away, allow them a few minutes of quiet before you start reciting your day's itinerary.

SwissSD: "Guests must leave the house at least four hours every single day to give the host time to recharge their batteries."

4. Bag the whole idea

Forget saving money by staying at friends' places. If they live in an expensive locale such as New York, they don't have enough space for themselves.

scharlotte: "I have a bff in Chelsea Manhattan. His apartment is like a postage stamp so I always stay at a reasonable boutique hotel with twin beds, and he spends a night with me so it's like we're both on vacation:} Like camp. Then he rewards me by showing me a fab time in the big city. Win, win."

5. Clean up after yourselves

A commenter with the handle Notmything puts up with her adult children making messes because she wants them -- and her only grandchild -- to visit more than she wants a clean home. Yet she wishes they didn't bring the dog without asking her. She's still vacuuming dog hair. And she'd like them to use the closet and dresser she's provided in the spare room.

Notmything: "Having someone stay with you and not having an idea of their plans makes you the wait staff they talk about. You hate to not have a meal for people, but if their plans are to dine out and just use your place to crash, that needs to be put out there. You look at staying with us as being free and we look at it as an added expense. We love to have company, but we don't want to finance your vacation."

6. Don't be those in-laws

You probably don't recognize yourselves from this post since you would never criticize your daughter-in-law or son-in law. And you're family, so you probably won't ever get turned away at the door.

And yet we know you exist, says doonerist: "I am so tempted to send this (article) to my relatives. They violate every single rule. Especially my in-laws, who show up at the worst times, take over the house, make rude comments about my home, make a mess, expect to be entertained and chauffeured, and never pick up a check."

7. Visit in the off-season

"I live in Alaska. It seems like everyone and their brother wants to visit us in the summer," 9destiny9 says. "If you want to 'come visit me,' do it in February."

Hey, the skiing and ice fishing are great in Alaska that time of year. Why not try it?

8. Do not ruin the experience for the rest of us

A high school friend who asked to visit Jennifer Goodwin of Las Vegas before her wedding forgot to mention she was bringing nine other friends to party in Goodwin's spare casita behind her two-bedroom house. Goodwin turned the spare room into her son's bedroom after friends and family repeatedly abused the space.

She posted: "It was like a hotel for everyone! And they all treated it that way! Come and go at all hours of the day or night, long showers, messes in the bathroom/vanity areas, (mess) all over the floor, no common courtesy as to dinner/lunch plans. We finally put our collective foot down and took the bed/TV setups completely out of the casita. Now if you want to stay at our home when you visit Vegas, you sleep on the sofa with the cats!"

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