It's always a great idea to send a thank-you note to show appreciation for being included in the trip. Here are a few different thank-you ideas for.
THE BEST MEMORIES of my recent trip to Ecuador come from the family in Quito that graciously opened their home to me.
After nearly two months of traveling, home-cooked meals and real beds with clean sheets were just what I needed. Plus, my host-family had lived in Quito for decades and were eager to share their city with me.
I had a deeper travel experience from watching how they lived, and I learned a lot about the city that you won’t find in guidebooks.
Staying with a host family can be such a great experience, it’s hard to know how to thank your hosts properly.
When you thank someone for letting you stay with them, make it more than a gesture. Staying in someone’s home while traveling can give you an intimate glimpse into how others live. Let them know how much it meant to you.
1. Earn Your Keep
Doing a few chores around the house or offering to do some of the cooking will always be appreciated.
Play to your strengths. If you’re a bit of a handyman, offer to fix their leaking faucet. If you’re tech-savvy, have a look at their aging computer.
Don’t make it too obvious, or your host will probably feel bad that their guest is doing housework. Be casual about it, don’t let them think of it as payment – and don’t break anything!
2. Quid Pro Quo
Return the favor by inviting your hosts to stay with you the next time they visit your part of the world. Make sure you leave them contact information that will still be good in a few years.
Then, if they do show up on your doorstep, do everything you can to make them feel as welcome as possible. Even if they never do make it to your neck of the woods, they will probably enjoy exchanging an occasional email.
If you enjoy playing the host, and want to make it into a regular thing, visit CouchSurfing. Sign up and start building your own network of international friends.
3. Share Your Memories
Most traveler’s carry a camera. Take a few group pictures with your hosts. When you develop those photos back home, make sure you send a few copies to your host family.
With most of us using digital cameras, the easiest (and cheapest) way to share photos is by e-mailing the files. However, mailing prints will probably be more appreciated.
Either print and mail them yourself, or upload the files to a website that will send the prints. I have used Winkflash, but there are many others.
4. Bring A Gift From Home
Gifts from your own hometown always go over well. Pack some small, nonbreakable gifts before leaving home. Find something that they are not likely to have where they live. On your last day with your host, give them something to remember you by.
Little flag pins or key-chains will work, but the best choice is something more personal. If you have a creative hobby, then give them a sample. Woodworkers, crafters, and other artists have many options.
5. Do Some Research
If you’re going to buy a gift locally, find out what items are considered appropriate in the culture you’re visiting. A certain color of flower may look great to you, but giving it out of the proper cultural context can be an insult to locals.
Some seemingly harmless gift items may be associated with funerals and death. Often guidebooks can give you advice on local taboos. Better yet, ask around the neighborhood market for ideas.
There might be other local customs regarding gifts. Make the effort to know these ahead of time. For example, if you know that in some cultures it’s polite to initially refuse a gift, you won’t be worried when your host turns down your gift the customary number of times.
Research helps here, but don’t worry so much about offending someone that you freeze up and become overly formal. As a foreign guest, you won’t be expected to know every little detail about local etiquette.
6. Treat Your Hosts
Take the family to a movie. Take them to a museum. Ask them which local restaurant is their favorite, and then make reservations.
Even though they may have constant access to the sights in their city, they probably don’t take advantage of them as often as they would like.
Something as simple as going to the bar where your host is a regular gives them a chance to show you off a little to their friends. Remember, you are just as exotic to the local as they are to you.
7. Don’t Overdo It
Expensive gifts and shameless gushing will only make your host uncomfortable. They are not expecting money or jewelry, and will turn them down.
Friendship, interesting conversation and the satisfaction of being a good host are what they really want, so keep smiling and always say thank you!
What are some ideas you’ve used to say thanks? Share in the comments!
“Do I have to write a thank you letter for [insert any instance of hospitality]?” entertained; an overnight stay when you were a guest; a welcome you've received.
A thank you note should be sent in a timely manner. The earlier you send it the more meaning it bears. As a general rule of thumb, do not let a week pass by before sending the appreciation note.
A hand written note is more specialthan simply buying an imprinted card. Use good quality paper or card and, draft your message. If you are already accustomed to sending gratitude messages via email, you don’t need to buy a card. Nonetheless, take some time to think through the message. Make it special.
Sincerity is the most important element when writing a thank you note. Thank the host in the introduction of the note then single out some of the highlights of the event such as the food, fun times you had meeting after such a long time and anything else specific to the event. Every note should begin with the date followed by the recipient’s names.
Make the note personal and affectionate. If you are sending the note to a close friend or relative, affirm you affection by including a sentence on how much the person means to you. If the note is for an acquaintance, you can express your wish to meet up again.
End the note with a closing such as: ‘With warm regards,’ Sincerely’ or ‘Love.’ Sign off with your name after the closing.
Sample thank you note wording for hospitality: When I say "hospitality", I'm referring to any nice treatment you received from a friend or family member at their house.
If they had you over for dinner and let you sleep in their spare room, fed you some breakfast in the morning-- that's hospitality. Lucky you!
Hopefully you brought a bottle of wine upon arrival (or 2) as a "thank you for having us". Regardless, a thank you note after your stay is still in order.
What to write? Here is some sample thank you note wording: (psst... if you forgot the wine it's not too late to send some)
Dear Uncle Horton,
I just wanted to let you know what a great day we had with you while we were in Boise. You are a fantastic guide and it was so nice of you to have taken us out for a tour of the area. The scenery was beautiful and the kids loved the Discovery Center.
I'm not sure when we'll visit again, but I hope it won't be too long -- it's alway nice seeing you and we had such a fun time while we were there. And please let us know of any plans you might have to visit New York. We would love for you to visit us sometime and then we could have the pleasure of taking you around.
Thanks again for a truly great day.
Dear Jean and Rick,
I just wanted to write a note to thank you again for the wonderful visit we had with you. We truly appreciate the time you spent with us and the kids. It's no surprise that they're always excited to see you!
The Thanksgiving dinner was outstanding Jean, and thank you Rick for all your help with my laptop. We look forward to next year at our house!
Dear Nina and Dean,
Thank you so much for the wonderful visit at your house. We always have a great time whenever we're with you. We just wish we saw you more often.
Thank you so much for the lovely meals you made for us. David loved the Chicken Paprikash and of course I'm always a fan of the zucchini quiche. I'm always inspired whenever I'm with you because you have the amazing ability to create such lovely meals with ease. The sourdough waffles were incredible as were the lattes.
But even if we're eating Jimboy's Tacos, we love sharing meals with you. We hope to see you more often in the new year.
Sample thank you note wording: Quick email to someone you see often:
I had a great time visiting. Thank you very much for the hospitality. As always you have my 5 star rating for the B&B!!
Dear Cindy and Lou,
Thank you again so much for having us last weekend. We always have such a wonderful time with you and last weekend was no exception. It was so exciting to have visited the Dinosaur Exhibit-- the kids are still talking about it! And it was fun meeting all of your neighbors and touring Andrew's old house. It's nice to know that you are surrounded by such lovely people. I only wish that we still lived next door to you as well!
We're all looking forward to doing more prehistoric research, so hopefully it won't be too long before we have a chance to visit again!
Thanks again for everything. We love you.
Dear Jenna and Bob,
Thanks again for having us last weekend. We always have such a wonderful time with you. You were so thoughtful to pull out all the toys for the kids and provide such fun activities for everyone. And all the food was delicious of course. I can't wait to try making that risotto myself but I think it will need that Jenna touch.
We so appreciate the hospitality. Anytime you are out our way, please don't hesitate to stop in and stay awhile!
Dear Leila and Trent,
We're still talking about what fun we had last weekend. It's always great to see you all, and inviting us to stay over made the fun last that much longer. Thank you for being such gracious hosts and treating us so royally. We enjoyed everything, from dinner to breakfast and everything in between!
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Sample letters to thank someone for hospitality. I can't tell you how much I appreciated your kindness in letting me stay at your home when I was in Springfield.
Houseguests are expected to give a thank-you gift to the host either on arrival, during their stay, or sent afterwards. Some houseguests prefer to say thank you by treating their host or hosts to dinner out during their stay, or by buying groceries and making dinner one night. For gifts, something along the lines of a good bottle of wine or a nice bouquet of flowers is sufficient for an overnight stay, while a longer stay may require something more. Here are some gift ideas:
Staying with a host family can be such a great experience, it's hard to know When you thank someone for letting you stay with them, make it.