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Don't Get Booted From The House!

Entertaining at home for an extended period of time can be taxing on both the host and houseguest.

In order to get through a weekend or extended visit, both sides should follow some very basic rules to make things run smoothly. After all, the visit of a good friend or relative should be an enjoyable experience for everybody.

Mary Mitchell, author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Etiquette, spoke about some of the issues during a visit to The Early Show Tuesday.

  • Communicate openly with your host and observe the "house rules."
  • Don't assume that pets, children and lovers are invited.
  • If you are traveling with a lover, ask about the rules of the house when it comes to sleeping arrangments.
  • If it's a no-smoking house, smoke outside.
  • Never come empty handed.
  • Be financially responsible for yourself and whoever you bring with you.
  • Always clean up after yourself and assist the host with daily activities.
  • Leave your electronic gadgets (laptop and beeper) at home.
  • Do not overstay your welcome. Mitchell advises hosts: "If a guest is staying too long, you just have to kick them out."
  • Always send a thank-you note and a gift.
  • Invite your guest properly, with a written invitation and enough advance notice.
  • Communicate clearly with your guests.
  • Tell them when they should arrive and how long they should stay.
  • Ask them if they have any specific needs for the visit.
  • Tell guests about planned events or activities so they can come prepared.
  • Provide comfortable accommodations.
  • A guest should have an alarm clock, reading lamp, extra pillows and blankets, closet space, hangers and drawer space.
  • The guest bathroom should have clean towels, wash cloths, toothpaste and toothbrush, shampoo and conditioner, and an unused bar of soap.
  • Be ready to assume most of the financial responsibility of the visit.
  • Plan for some down time.

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