Things To Bring As A House Guest That Actually Help Your Host

Be the best guest with these savvy gifts.

Any good house guest knows not to ever arrive empty-handed. While Southern hosts would never demand a gift—and in fact, might even beg you not to bring anything—it’s a show of appreciation for the time and effort that goes into welcoming people into their home. That’s why even when such pleadings are made, it is considered courteous to show up with at least a “little happy.” For parties and events, we’ve already covered what to bring when a host says to not bring a thing!

However, what about when you are an overnight house guest? Whether for a quick nightly pass-through or a full weekend trip, staying in someone’s home calls for its own set of etiquette rules, including mistakes to avoid that may accidentally make you an impolite house guest. It might also require a slightly different outlook on what to bring along as a house guest. Most importantly, it’s ideal to think of items that might help eliminate the burden of the host during your stay and double as a gift, rather than just a bottle of wine or bouquet of flowers. 

Here are the best things to bring as a house guest that you might not have thought of. 

Being a Good House Guest

Getty Images/Luis Alvarez

Baked Goods 

When hosting someone for multiple days, it can seem daunting to plan out every meal for each day, including breakfast and dessert. For that reason, it’s never a bad idea to arrive with a box of breakfast pastries from a beloved local bakery, homemade muffins, or a batch of brownies. While it’s easy to assume that breakfast or dessert might be planned for most of your visit, it can eliminate some stress for the host to have a backup plan. Our Most Decadent Bar Cookies are a great place to start.

Board Game or Puzzle 

This gift can also serve as inspiration for entertainment during your stay, especially if you are staying for longer than one night. You should never expect a host to have plans to keep you entertained constantly, so you can offer up a fun activity instead. It will give the host some relief, and you can perhaps share a lesser-known board game that you love, a fancy deck of cards, or a puzzle for a rainy day. Even if it does not end up being used during your stay, the host will have it to enjoy after. 

Movie Basket

Crafting a personalized movie basket is both creative and considerate towards your host. Choose items such as artisanal popcorn, your host’s favorite candy, cocktail napkins, or perhaps a serving bowl for popcorn that can be used again. It sets any movie night up for success without any effort needed from the host. 

Best-Selling Book

This goes both as a gift and for yourself. Bringing a book along makes it very clear that you do not expect to be entertained at all times, but you can also bring a highly-rated book (tailored to your host’s taste if you are familiar enough) or even a coffee table book in lieu of a more traditional host gift. 

Specialty Snack

A host will always appreciate anything that can be fit on a board for snack hour, which inevitably sneaks up on any Southern household. Make a batch of cheese straws or spiced pecans, or bring a bag of snack mix or chocolate-covered nuts. Just consider something that can be easily set out in a bowl or included on a cheese board. Furnishing snacks helps the host not be concerned about guests getting hungry. 


You can never have enough cozy blankets, especially when you’re hosting guests. Put a pretty bow around a fluffy Barefoot Dreams blanket, and the host will be thrilled. Not only will it ensure there’s enough comfort to go around, the host can use it after you’re gone. And they will! 

Honorary Mention: Your Own Toiletries 

This might fall more in the category of house guest etiquette, but it’s surprisingly common for house guests to forget to bring common toiletries such as a toothbrush. While you can expect for there to potentially be things like shampoo and hand soap, try not to rely upon your host for every little toiletry. There should be no knocking on their door late at night just for floss! 

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