Here’s the Single Best Way to Welcome Overnight Guests

Stock the guest room with this special DIY gift of local delicacies, guides and simple comforts to make guests feel right at home.

Tray on a bed filled with Chicago postcards, guidebooks, maps and regional treatsPhoto: Taste of Home

When you have visitors staying with you—for the weekend or an extended stay—a few simple comforts left in their guest room can make a world of difference in making them feel welcome. Aside from making sure there are fresh sheets on the bed and the WiFi password on the nightstand (plus these other genius tips for hosting out-of-town guests), take an extra step and leave out a “hometown pride” tray. Load it up with local goodies, guides and comforts that will help your guests feel right at home. Here’s what to stock it with:

City Guides

If your guests have time to set out and explore on their own, set out a city map or local visitors guide to give them a taste of what you town’s all about. Or leave a list (plus addresses and contact information) of your favorite restaurants, coffee shops, stores and recreation destinations. Make sure to point out what’s walkable from your home.


Who doesn’t love receiving a postcard? Even if the guests have visited your town before, or they’re only there for a day or two, they’ll appreciate sending an old-fashioned postcard to loved ones, rather than a text. Even if they don’t send the postcard, they can take it home as a souvenir!

Local Treats

Does your hometown or state have a special local delicacy? Leave a bag or box of it for guests to snack on (and rave about to friends when they get home). Not sure what to offer? Check out this guide to the most iconic foods from every state.

Water Bottles

With lots of visiting, walking and eating, guests will work up a big thirst. Help them stay hydrated by including a couple water bottles on their guest tray. That’ll save them the midnight shuffle to the kitchen, looking desperately for a glass to fill. (Feeling fancy? Try any of these delicious infused water ideas. Your guests will feel so pampered!)

Coffee Mug

One of the first things guests will want in the morning is a fresh cup of coffee. Make them feel at home by giving them their very own coffee mug they can use throughout their stay. It can double as a guest gift and souvenir if the mug represents your hometown.

Fresh Fruit

Nothing’s worse than waking up before the host and being famished. Let guests chomp on something light and healthy in their room before breakfast is served. A banana or apple will be a welcome treat to stave off early-morning tummy rumbling.

Headache or Stomach Relief

Late nights, lots of food and an unfamiliar setting can often lead to monster headaches and stomach issues. Save guests a fumble through your medicine cabinet and stock the guest tray with headache medicine and stomach relief to help them feel better in no time.

Notepad and Pens

Whether they want to remember the name of that quaint diner, jot down a few memories or doodle first thing in the morning, guests will appreciate having some paper and pens in the room. And after all your hospitality, don’t be surprised if they use them to leave a heartfelt thank-you note.

From holiday gatherings to summer trips to just-because visits, these little touches of hospitality will make your guests feel right at home when they’re on the road.

Rachel Seis
As deputy editor for Taste of Home magazine, Rachel has her hand in everything you see from cover to cover, from writing and editing articles to taste-testing recipes to ensuring every issue is packed with fun and fabulous content. She'll roll up her sleeves to try any new recipe in the kitchen—from spicy Thai dishes (her favorite!) to classic Southern comfort food (OK...also her favorite). When she's not busy thinking of her next meal, Rachel can be found practicing yoga, going for a run, exploring National Parks and traveling to new-to-her cities across the country.