Here’s how to stop your host from changing the locks two days into your stay.

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You’ve probably heard the old idiom: “Fish and company start to stink after three days.” But your presence in someone’s home can smell up the place sooner when you’re a cheapskate houseguest.

If you’re that guest who drinks all the beer, drains the last bottle of wine, empties the pantry and must be chauffeured around day and night, it’s time to change your ways. Even if you’re not that bad, you can become an even better houseguest with a few simple gestures during your stay.

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1. Don’t show up with unexpected guests

When you’re on vacation, it’s easy to forget that your host planned grocery shopping, clean linens and bathroom supplies for a specific number of guests. Don’t bring your new sweetie, a couple of friends or the puppy you adopted last week without first clearing the extra guest with your host.

Nobody wants to go grocery shopping again, do extra loads of laundry or change more bed linens because there’s not enough food and drink for inconsiderate guests.

2. Spring for at least one dinner

By the end of your stay, your host may have spent a few hundred dollars on groceries, dining out and gasoline while picking you up at the airport and chauffeuring you around town.

If you don’t have much money, there’s no need to pick a pricey restaurant. Just ask your host where he or she would like to go and pick up the check at the end of at least one meal.

3. Bring food and drink

If your destination requires a road trip, load a couple of bags of snacks and drinks in the car to set on the kitchen counter when you arrive. Even if your hosts have plenty already, they’ll appreciate the gesture.

Even better, bring favorite items unique to the city where you live such as a local brand of barbecue sauce, craft beer or specialty baked goods.

4. Pack your own toiletries

No host wants you to use up their expensive shampoo, empty their favorite bottle of body wash or squeeze the last bit of toothpaste from the tube. Pack your own shampoo and hair products, toothpaste and anything else you need to maintain your beautiful self while visiting.

5. Don’t complain

Nobody likes a whiner, especially when they’re accommodating a guest who – no matter how much they love you – disrupts their normal routine and household budget.

Don’t like the food at the restaurant your host recommended? Lie. Hate it that you get dog hair on your clothes every time you sit on the couch? Let it go. Rein in your control issues and appreciate that your friend or family member is doing their best to entertain and welcome you.

6. Don’t let your kids destroy the house

Just because your kids run through your own home leaving wreckage in their wake doesn’t mean it’s okay to let small children go wild, leave their toys strewn about or accidentally break items that get in their way. If such an unfortunate accident happens, pay to fix the damaged item or buy a new one.

7. Don’t demand airport transportation

If you want to be a great guest, don’t make your host pick you up at the airport at midnight or any other time unless they insist on being your airport transportation. Book a Lyft or Uber instead.

Better yet, rent a car. That way, you’ll have freedom to explore the city while your host is at work and do your share of driving on sightseeing and dining out excursions.

8. Fill your host’s gas tank

Gas is expensive, so if your host is driving all over town, and especially if he or she drives on a day trip or to a weekend trip destination, fill the tank at least once. Everyone loves a full tank of gas and paying for petrol makes you a thoughtful guest likely to be invited back.

9. Replenish snacks and drinks

If you drink the last of your host’s favorite beverage or drain a couple bottles of wine (hopefully not in one night), buy more while you’re there. Don’t eat an entire bag of shelled macadamia nuts or other expensive snacks during your stay without buying new foods to fill the pantry before you leave.

10. Prepare a meal

Don’t assume that your hosts want to dine out every night. They’ve already spent money on groceries, gas and other preparations for your visit. What better way to show your appreciation than preparing a delicious meal for them?

If your host must work during your stay, he or she will especially appreciate coming home to a meal after a long day’s work. If you don’t know how to cook, order a takeout feast instead.

11. Write a thank you card

Show your hosts your appreciation for opening their home to you by leaving a thank you card or sending one after you get home. You can even enclose a gift card to their favorite restaurant or retail store.

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About the Author

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp

Deb Hipp is a full-time freelance writer based in Kansas City, Mo. Deb went from being unable to get approved for a credit card or loan 20 years ago to having excellent credit today and becoming a homeowner. Deb learned her lessons about money the hard way. Now she wants to share them to help you pay down debt, fix your credit and quit being broke all the time. Deb's personal finance and credit articles have been published at Credit Karma and The Huffington Post.

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