Sometimes you’re the tourist in a brand new place, and sometimes you’re the local in a familiar place and people are visiting you. Being a good host can be a lot of pressure, because you want to make sure that your visitors enjoy themselves. So how can you do that?
1. Start by having a plan
When people travel to visit friends, they usually defer the job of travel planning to the person who lives there. They’ll rely on you to come up with a good itinerary of must-do and must-see things in your city. Even if you only have a vague idea of what you want to do, make sure you have something in mind when people start turning to you to ask where they’re going next. You don’t want to be the person that’s lost in their own city.
2. Don’t neglect the tourist hotspots
When you live somewhere, it’s normal to feel totally blasé about the iconic buildings and museums in your town. But your guests aren’t coming to your city to live there; they’re coming to see it and they want to see the best of it. It would be unfair to them to keep them from experiencing the things your city is famous for just because all you do there is get drunk at the bar downstairs, order pizza, and watch Netflix. Don’t be that guy who’s too cool for Times Square if your friends have never seen it before.
3. Make time for local haunts
The best thing about visiting a local is precisely that you’ll have a unique view of the city that you won’t get by following a travel guide. So do take your guests to the bar downstairs because it’s cheap and open all night. Take them to your favorite coffee shop off the beaten path, because you know it has the city’s best coffee. Basically treat them like you’re going on a nice date, where the view is stunning and they have your favorite margaritas. The best travel experience for visitors will be a mix of the city’s major sights and your favorite things to do there.
4. Have a good list of places to eat that will satisfy different tastes and cravings
After all the shit I’ve talked about Czech food, my friends loved the food in Prague, because we went to the right places. Good food can make or break a trip, and it’s your job as the host to make sure you don’t end up in some dingy place that might get everyone sick. Plan ahead. If you know a place requires reservations, make them. You don’t want to make an entire group of people go out of their way to go to the restaurant you recommended only to be turned away because they’re booked. And definitely don’t take them to the Italian place where the alfredo tastes like mayonnaise just because it’s nearby.
5. Be flexible
This isn’t your vacation; it’s theirs. Maybe the only thing worse than a host who doesn’t care if you see anything is one that wants you to see everything. Let your guests sleep in if they want to. Don’t force a museum on them just because you like it. If they don’t want to do something, that’s up to them. You live there; you can do it any time. And everyone enjoys themselves more when they’re allowed to explore at their own pace rather than adhering to anyone’s schedule.
If all else fails, get them so drunk that they barely remember the trip. Then they’ll love your city and think you were a great host, for sure.