Being a guest in NYC is a lot different than other parts of the country…have you tried living amongst several others in 500 square feet (and no, college doesn’t count)?! That’s what I thought;-)
Now, I can imagine this post may get a bit of backlash from those Couchsurfing, super-friendly Australian types (no judgement! I love Aussies, they just seem a bit friendlier than people in the rest of the world?), but keep in mind these are just tips I’m suggesting from personal experience, and feedback from NYC friends I’ve spoken with regarding this topic. I’m by no means trying to be the Taylor Swift ambassador of NYC etiquette, I wouldn’t dare:-)
Without further adieu, here’s how to be a rockstar guest in NYC!
1. Plan Ahead
NYC is just not one of those cities where you can call on a Friday and be like, “hi, I’m jumping on a plane, see you in a few hours. your couch is free, right?” I mean, emergency situations, yes. But not ideal. If you’re planning to come to the city to stay with friends or family, trust me when I say they will appreciate as much advance notice as possible.
2. Have An Agenda
While it may seem like it’s a better idea to be all, “oh, i really don’t care what we do, you pick!”, this is actually a lot more pressure on your host. Unless we’re either bff’s or you’re my mom/dad/dog, I probably don’t know you well enough to guess what you would like to do. So general suggestions are always appreciated. Do you want to hit up typical tourist spots? Check out art galleries? Take a brewery tour? Catch an off-Broadway performance? Again, you don’t have to be super specific, but some guidance is always appreciated.
3. Don’t Use A Million Towels/Washcloths
Unless you’re a NYC bijillionaire, chances are you don’t have a washer/dryer in your apartment. Which means you are either hauling laundry to your basement (if you’re lucky), the nearest laundromat or paying for it to be sent away and washed. This is not the burbs where you can use a fresh towel daily and just throw it in the wash…make that singular towel last all weekend, folks. Or else your host will be all…
4. Don’t Ask To Stay With Someone Unless You Genuinely Want To Spend Time With Them
The first year I lived in NYC, I had, like, a million and one guests. Granted, this was probably because I was a naive 22 year old and didn’t know how to say “no” to people, but it seemed like everyone I was even a casual acquaintance on MySpace with (yes, this was circa 2005) suddenly wanted to visit. And crash on my couch. I’m definitely much pickier now about who gets to crash (ahh, the wisdom you gain in your 30’s.)
So let’s be clear that if you are a guest planning to use a casual friend of a friend that you met once at a bar 5 years ago for a free place to stay while in the city, at least be gracious enough to take your host out for brunch. And be clean. For the love of god, be clean.
5. Plan Time On Your Own
Maybe this is more of a personal thing than a NY thing, but I value my alone time, A LOT. Whether I’m hosting for a weekend or a guest at someone else’s house for a weekend, I am not my best self if I don’t have a dose of alone time. Plan a morning out at a coffee shop and walk around the city, or a trip to some shops you want to check out. This still lets you appreciate the city while allowing your host to catch up on errands (and r&r) that is lingering from the week before. Win/win for everyone!
Do you have any tips on how to be an awesome guest? Share below!
By: Jessica Tiare Bowen
p.s. thanks to “the office” (i.e. my favorite show ever!) for the images in this post!
This post is part of Travel Photo Thursday at Budget Travelers Sandbox.