How to be a good house guest in wine country — and get invited back

BTW... not our house

OK… so quite a few visitors have crossed the second bedroom threshold of our Sonoma County home in the past few months (read my series of Life in California posts). We’ve had such a mixed bag of house guests (the good, bad and the ugly) that it seemed necessary to publish the definitive guide to how to crash at a friend’s house in wine country (or anywhere, for that matter). Yes, you’d think that full-grown adults would know how to behave when visiting a friend’s but not everyone is schooled in the art of crashing.  A simple set of seven rules on how to be a good house guest:

Rule #1: Never stay longer than 5 days. If you’re saving $250 a night by getting the hook up, cough up a couple nights at a hotel. To paraphrase Mark Twain: House guests are like fish… they’re only good for a few days.

Rule #2: Offer to pay for groceries. And mean it. Then try to maintain a happy smile while you’re paying offensively high California grocery prices.

Rule #3: Clean up the kitchen and get your sorry butt up from the dining room table to clear dishes. Didn’t your momma teach you anything?

Rule #4: Don’t expect to be entertained everyday. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean your host is. Get creative and explore. Ignore this one if you rate high enough on the friendship scale to spend the hosts’ vacation days.

Rule #5: Buy your host (s) dinner at least once during the stay. Or cook dinner. It’s the effort that counts here… (gourmet) takeout pizza works especially when your idea of fine cuisine equals Denny’s. But if that’s the case, what the hell are you doing in wine country anyways?

Rule #6: Respect bedtime hours, especially if the host(s) are working the next day. Night owls, turn the TV down and headphones are strongly recommended. Your personal disco dance party is best reserved for weekend nights.

Rule #7 (and perhaps most important): Never, ever get drunker than your hosts. No one wants to babysit your drunk ass when they’re sober.



  1. Welcome to wine country. You’ve now just learned what the rest of us have learned ahead of you. (BTW, Jose just said that you wrote what I’ve been wanting to write.)

  2. sounds as if you have had some really great house-guests …

  3. Taylor – these could apply to house guests in NYC. Especially Rule #4, which could be modified slightly – do NOT expect me to take you to the Statue of Liberty / Empire State Building / coolest bar / best restaurant. I am not a tour guide!

  4. Rule #8: Don’t expect your hosts to be your personal concierge tour guide, unless they offer.
    Thanks Susan!

  5. Rule #9: Check the house for things that are missing.

  6. Hhaha this is quite funny and quite appropriate I guess.


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