When visiting relatives or friends for short or extended stays, it is important to remember the golden rule and treat them as you would want to be treated. It is not simply enough to remember the rules of proper manners and etiquettes but to also realize when bounds are being overstepped and conveniences strained. Visits should be a joy for all, not just a chance to vacation at someone else's expense and hardship. Here are some ways to be welcomed again when visiting relatives or friends.

Announce visits in advance so people can make plans and plans already made don't have to be changed. Everyone will have on a smile, real or not, when the door swings open and surprise visitors show up, but nothing can throw personal schedules or plans into disarray more than having to figure for unannounced guests. Sleeping spaces, additional food for meals, bathroom schedules, laundry plans, tv time slots, and pet accomodations all have to thought out and juggled. Having to figure all this out on the spur of the moment is nobody's picnic so advance notice of visits is always appreciated.

Clean up after yourself during the visit. Don't eat in rooms where your host doesn't eat and pick up all dirty dishes and food messes caused by you or your travelling companions. In the bathroom, number 1 - don't hog the bathroom, number 2 - don't leave a mess, and number 3 - don't use toiletries that are not your's without asking. Always ask before tying up the bathroom for bathing and even then keep the time and use of hotwater to a minimum. Check to see that there are plenty of towels and washclothes for everyone before making use of them. Run bathroom exhaust fans if the room has them, to protect walls and ceilings from high humidity levels. When finished in the bathroom always clean up, wiping down tiles and floors, placing wet soaps where they will dry, picking up used towels and washclothes, and wiping down counters and mirrors. Leave the bathroom ready for the next person just as you would like to find the one in your house. I mean would you like to have to clean up someone else's wet body hairs out of your tub or shower, I think not. Bring you own toiletries so others don't find their's used up and if a dire need comes up, then ask about a one time use. If you bring children when visiting relatives, make sure they know about bathroom manners and etiquettes.

Keep track of your dirty clothes and know what is your's and what is not. If the host offers to add your laundry in with their's, accept and then offer to help with the job. Don't make use of the laundry room on your own schedule and without asking. Be sure you clean up and wash the sheets and linens you use before leaving or at least make the offer. Don't add to the host's laundry load by overusing towels in the bathroom. One towel per bath and one bath per day are enough for most people and this rule should be impressed upon teenagers when visiting relatives.

In the kitchen, let the host know ahead of time of any food allergies and customs so problems don't arise. Eat on the host's schedule when meals are offered and honor all religious customs such as waiting on grace to be said and not using offensive language. Offer to help with meals but don't take over the kitchen without being asked to and even then practice restraint. Don't help yourself to foods in the fridge without asking and if visiting for an extended time or with several hungery mouths, then buy groceries for your host. Doing so doesn't mean you should fill a vegetarian household with fatty snacks or bring alcoholic beverages into a home where they are frowned on. If your children are old enough, have them help in the kitchen with setting the table, clearing the dishes, and clean up duties.

Don't just sit around while your host does everything and don't upsurp the tv or entertainment center. Visiting relatives or friends means time should be spent doing just that, visiting, not in front of the brain damage box or on the phone texting others. Engage your hosts in conversation or join in on their family activities while remembering to give others a chance to speak out. Impress upon the kids the importance of repecting personal property and showing respect to their elders. In households where a work schedule means an early breakfast time, don't keep people up late with high noise and activity levels. Finally, don't smoke inside a non-smoking household and if you must travel with a pet be willing to accept the host's rules concerning it and where it can stay.

The goal when visiting relatives and friends should be to have a standing invitation to come back at anytime. There is no better compliment than being invited back after visits are over. Whether you're going to vacation by visiting Europe, Asia, Uncle Joe, or an old school chum, there is always a need for proper manners and etiquettes.