Be our guest? No thanks. Why some people find staying in other people's homes stressful.

Be our guest? No thanks. Why some people find staying in other people's homes stressful.
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Be our guest? No thanks. Why some people find staying in other people's homes stressful.

Allison Newman, an experienced houseguest, embarked on a two-and-a-half-year world journey with her husband in 2019. Visiting 10 countries and navigating COVID lockdowns in New Zealand, they frequently relied on others' hospitality, from Airbnb to friends and family.

Traveling with Kids

Having an 18-month-old baby altered Newman's perspective on staying with others. The stress of packing for a child, imposing on schedules, and the lack of baby-proofing made it challenging. Traveling with kids, even with older ones, poses unique challenges for houseguests.

Houseguest Challenges

Uncomfortable Spaces

Samuel Hansen, at 29, dislikes being a houseguest due to feeling out of place, the pressure to socialize, and lack of personal space. The only benefit is cost savings, as staying in someone else's space involves added responsibilities.

Psychological Stressors

Temporary Loss of Territory

According to Shawn Burn, a psychology professor, being a houseguest induces stress because individuals temporarily lose their primary territory. Primary territories fulfill psychological needs for control, predictability, privacy, and stress reduction habits.

Communication Is Key

Diane Gottsman, an etiquette expert, suggests open communication between hosts and guests before the stay to manage expectations. Discussing children, routines, and house rules beforehand makes both parties more comfortable.

Advice from an Experienced Traveler

Respect House Rules

Allison Newman offers two key pieces of advice from her global houseguest experiences. First, always offer to help clean up after yourself, leaving a positive impression. Second, be respectful and follow your host's house rules, fostering a harmonious stay.

Enjoying Your Stay

Remember, being a houseguest can be stress-free with open communication, respect for house rules, and a willingness to adapt. Prioritizing comfort and understanding helps both hosts and guests have an enjoyable stay.

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