As the world begins to reopen and more people are fully vaccinated, traveling to visit friends and family we haven’t seen in person for over a year is a top priority among the many things to enjoy again this summer. But it may take time and some deliberate planning to get back in the swing of being a houseguest or hosting loved ones in a post-pandemic world.
Individuals differ widely on what they feel comfortable doing after so many months of social distancing, masking, and refraining from close physical contact with anyone outside their immediate household or bubble. When visiting a friend or family’s home for the first time since the pandemic began, it is advisable to discuss in advance what precautions if any should be taken and ask what restrictions are in place in public spaces in order to be prepared. Some people will feel more comfortable when guests wash their hands upon arrival or wear a mask when visiting stores. Take the lead on handshaking or hugging from the host, or state your personal preference ahead of time.
Traveling and visiting is something we have been dreaming of for so long, but it’s been a year marked not only by a global pandemic but also by vast political and social divides. Not all friends and family members will have the same viewpoint on issues like healthcare, race, economics, or education – keep the conversation light and steer clear of controversial topics. Just have fun and make great memories.
With the lack of socializing over the past year, individuals may need to readapt to making small talk and interacting with others outside their immediate family. Because people are not used to spending extended time with others, visitors should bring reading material and plan to give their hosts a little space each day by going for a walk, running a few errands, reading in a separate room, or taking a siesta.
A good houseguest will help with food prep and dishes, keep their living space tidy, and not overstay their welcome. Short visits of a night or two at the most are probably a good idea as people ease back into a more normal social life. A small gift, especially food or an adult beverage, can also be a nice touch to thank your host for their hospitality. A handwritten thank you note never goes out of style.