There’s one thing you didn’t visualise when setting off to live on the other side of the world: all of the visitors that would soon be arriving. Hosting friends and family can be wonderful but to ease the strain on your hospitality, take the following steps.
Before your guests arrive, get the ball rolling by listing some suggestions for what they might like to see/do/eat while staying with you. Make sure you ask what they’d like to do. Many will likely respond that sightseeing is not the priority. “We’re just here to see you!” That’s sweet, of course, but consider your own schedule and commitments (and desire for space) and set boundaries and expectations accordingly.
Out of their element
In doing so, they’re likely to be more proactive about getting out of the house or entertaining themselves. From experience, this writer has seen how, once out of their element, guests may be inclined to sit around and wait for you to decide what’s happening next. Suggest a joint shopping trip so they get everything they need. If guests are looking to explore the city, provide them with a map, a phrasebook, a local sim card and get them to download any handy apps that will make navigation easier.
Don’t be too overprotective
Often when guests venture off by themselves, they end up having the most exhilarating time. Of course, not all locations were made equal as far as tourist attractions go but you can always recommend a great restaurant for lunch, or send them to a part of the city where they can shop or just soak up the atmosphere. If you do wish to join them, pick something you haven’t done yet, or a place you have yet to visit, and experience it together, so it’s fun for you as well.
A seesaw of emotions
While having friends and family can be great fun it can be emotional, too. When they eventually leave, although you might be glad to have the couch to yourself, the irony is that you may also feel a little flat or homesick. This is also something to be prepared for! So have another list ready with everything you plan to accomplish in the weeks after they depart and keep yourself busy (as you wait for the next batch of visitors to arrive!).
This article was originally published for the thousands of expat partners that Global Connection supports around the globe. It is reproduced here in its original form.