Hosting a houseguest may be an inconvenience. It may be stressful. Or it may be a great way to reconnect with an old friend. However you feel about hosting, it is important to communicate to your guest that she is welcome and to do your best to make her feel comfortable.
Clean linens. This should go without saying, but your guest should have clean towels (bath towel, hand towel, and washcloth) and sheets at her disposal, no matter how long the stay. Even if your guest is sleeping on a couch, a fitted sheet should be tucked around the cushions and a flat sheet placed under the blankets. To go the extra mile, spray lavender linen water on sheets when making the bed.
Pillow mints. Or chocolates or caramels or candy canes or a lavender sachet or tea. A small token placed on the pillow or next to the towels shows your guest that she is not an inconvenience or an afterthought. It is also a pleasant treat after a day of traveling or exploring a city. To go the extra mile, write a small note expressing how happy you are to see her, and what a pleasure it is to have her in your home.
Extra toothbrushes. It should be common sense to have a few extras lying around in case of forgetful guests. Other small toiletries like combs, dental floss, toothpaste, and soap are also welcome additions.
Food. Your guest will almost assuredly be hungry when she arrives. Have leftovers that can be reheated or some healthy snacks available. Make sure your guest feels welcome to eat from your refrigerator and pantry. Keep portable snacks in your pantry so she can take food when trekking around the city. Particularly on her first morning at your home, make breakfast. Nothing feels better than waking up to the smell of pancakes with strawberries and fresh coffee.
Be sensitive to her plans. Your guest probably already has plans to see the area. If those include spending time with you, do your best to fit that into your schedule. If some activities do not involve you, do not be hurt. It is unlikely that your guest will want to go out as soon as she arrives (particularly if she has had a long travel time). Do not push her.
Show off your city. (Or your parks, your farm, or your commune) Recommend local attractions and cuisine. Do not sit on your couch and watch television while eating food from McDonald’s. Eat at the new Thai restaurant down the street and get cocktails at your favorite bar downtown. Go to the famous art museum or paddleboating or to the farmer’s market. Find things to do that she cannot do elsewhere.