Having out-of-town friends or family drop in for a weekend visit can be so much fun. Personally, I love the opportunity to play hostess whenever I can, but opening your home for an extended period of time (no matter how close you are to your guest) can come with its fair share of stress. To ensure I’m well-prepared, well-stocked, and well-rested for a blockbuster weekend of catching up and touring with guests, I like to follow these few (OK, 26) simple rules. Here’s how to keep them (and you!) happy, and be a great host, from A-Z:

Always create a dedicated space for your guest, whether you have a whole bedroom or just a cozy corner.

Be available. Make sure there’s time in your schedule to you know, actually hang out with your guest.

Clean all areas your guest will be using (bedroom, bathroom, kitchen).

Don’t overload the schedule. Make sure to build in some down time to catch up.

Eliminate (at least temporarily) any bothersome habits you may have (eg. playing loud music at night).

Fresh flowers by the bed are a luxurious and personal little touch.

Get them at the airport, train station, (ferry port?). Wherever they’re coming from, make sure you are there to greet them. Travel sucks.

Have everything you need organized before their arrival; gas, groceries, an extra key cut, etc. so you don’t have to drag them around on errands.

Invest in a good bed or air mattress to make them comfy and ensure they return.

Jot down a few neighbourhood spots (coffee shop, corner store) they can run to if you are out (or in my case, still sleeping).

Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with yummy staples and your guest’s fave snacks.

Leave them some alone time to read, call home, take a walk, or meet up with other friends in the same city.

Make things easy to find. Leave items like your coffee maker, water pitcher, extra tissue and toilet paper out where they can be accessed.

No need to do all the heavy lifting. Allow your guest to help out with cooking and clean up if they offer.

Organize a few activity options so they can pick what suits them best.

Put out some basic items they may have forgotten to pack. (Think: new toothbrush, toothpaste, hotel soaps and shampoo.)

Question them beforehand on their food preferences and/or allergies (if you don’t already know).

Research your own city. Sure, you know all your local haunts, but stretch yourself to find some new spots that may be of interest.

Sheets should always be fresh, fresh, fresh!

Towels: same story.

Understand and be patient with their habits. Remember their visit is only temporary!

Vary your activities. Don’t plan for an all-out active weekend, nor one that has you sitting around the whole time. Mix up relaxing and being on-the-go for a balanced trip.

WiFi is a travel essential these days. Make sure to provide your guest with the password (figure it out before their arrival if you don’t know it offhand).

eXplain how things work. Every home has its quirks (plumbing, doors that stick, security alarm routines). Avoid potential problems by giving your guest the rundown at the beginning of their stay.

You can’t be Martha Stewart all day, erry day. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be the picture-perfect hostess.

Zone in on which of these tips made for the best guest experience and make them your go-to hosting game plan!