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The Top Five Tips for When Your Friends and Family Visit You in the USA

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As an expat living in the USA, one of the most exciting moments is when your friends and family decide to come and visit. It’s your chance to share your new home, culture, and experiences with them. However, hosting visitors can also be a bit overwhelming, especially when you want to ensure they have a fantastic time. To help you out, here are our top five tips for making your loved ones' visit memorable and stress-free.

I've written before about planning your trip back to your home country and all the things you should consider in advance, so I thought it was time to write about the inverse: Having everyone arrive in your new home country.

Plan Ahead and Keep Them in Mind

Everyone's different, so for some of you it's going to be a walk in the park and for some of you this might be more stressful to think about than enjoyable. The obvious place to start, therefore, is to remember your audience, and don't build up the idea in your head beyond what's realistic.

Take my brother and I, for example. We've got a great relationship, and we love each other very much, but I have the funny habit of telling myself that “we'll then spend the day just hanging out” which is something that we've never done in our lives. Don't pretend that just being on holiday is going to make you or your guests into different people.

Everyone's interests and energy levels vary, so it's important to plan activities that cater to the individuals visiting you.

Maybe your parents prefer quiet museums and local cuisine, while your best friends are keen on adventure sports and nightlife. So, consider their preferences and ask for their input when planning. Remember, the goal is for them to enjoy their visit, not see every tourist attraction.

With your planning ahead, it's also worthwhile to think about clothes, weather, and nourishment along the way. Explain to your guests (before they leave their homes) what you've got in mind so they can make sure they pack correctly. If they've never visited before, they won't know the first thing about what's required, so be gentle and helpful as far in advance as you can.

Don't Plan Too Much

This one is worth reiterating but is an easy one to fall into: While it's tempting to fill every day with exciting outings, this can be exhausting for your guests.

Travel can be tiring, especially after long-haul flights, and trying to cram too much into each day can lead to burnout. Ensure to schedule in rest days or relaxed activities where your guests can unwind. Remember, they're on vacation!

Don't plan anything for day one of the visit, and don't ramp up too quickly in day two. Start light and build over the course of the trip, and you'll find that everyone will have more fun long-term. If you start too hard and exhaust your visitors, then you'll find the later days much more of a trial.

I like to pick one big thing per day, and one smaller activity for that day, and leave it there. You can always have a B-List of things that you want to do if there's time and your guests are getting antsy.

Connectivity is King – Right From the Start

In today's digital age, staying connected is crucial, especially for visitors navigating a foreign country. Whether it's to check maps, make bookings, or simply keep their social media updated, your guests will appreciate having easy access to the internet.

Consider helping them get a local SIM card for their mobiles or ensuring they can connect to your home Wi-Fi. This small gesture can significantly enhance their comfort and convenience.

We've got a recommended SIM card that you could plan in advance for them, here.

Create an Overall Checklist and Map for Ideas Grouped by Location

Instead of planning activities for each day, create a list of potential activities and group them by location.

This allows you to be flexible and adapt to changing circumstances, like weather or your guests' energy levels. If you find yourselves in a particular neighborhood or area, you'll have a list of options to choose from right at your fingertips.

As I said above, I like to pick one big thing per location to focus on and then find a few options around that for each day. Depending on where you live, there'll be more or less to do in each location, but sometimes that's ok. Again, plan your trip by ramping up and then down again before they leave (nobody likes flying out completely exhausted).

Keep your distance where needed

While spending every waking hour with someone you haven't seen in some time can sound exciting, it also wears off quickly.

If you can afford it (and trust me, I know sometimes this just isn't possible), try to find somewhere nearby for your guests that means they don't have to wake up each day under your nose. It's nice for you and your mornings that you get some semblance of normal for a few hours before you meet up again, and your guests get to do some exploring on their own which adds to their adventure.

Most importantly, though, this means that when you come together each day, you do so by choice and not necessity. This tiny little difference means that you're excited for another day of adventure and not trekking out the front door again just because.

At the very least, if you can't actually do that, try to work out a plan for you both to have a few brief moments of alone time each morning. Go get a coffee, go for a walk, anything to keep the excitement fresh and the trip positive.

Enjoy the Experience with Them

Last but not least, remember to be present and enjoy this unique time with your loved ones. It's not every day you get to show off your new home, so make the most of it.

Share your experiences, introduce them to your favorite local spots, and create new memories together.

Your favorite restaurant, and your favorite spot in the park are more fun for your family members than just ticking off sights. Get a photo of yourselves together in those places and then when they're back in their home country talking to you on the phone, they'll have a reference for everything you talk about.

Josh Pugh

Josh Pugh

Josh is a business founding, digital marketing focused, charity driving, community builder from South Australia, living in New York City. After moving in 2017, Josh realized that there was an opportunity to curate and help the community of expats who moved to the United States – and launched America Josh. Josh is also the President of Variety – the Children's Charity of New York, Secretary at The Mateship Foundation, and Founder & CEO at Fortnight Digital.View Author posts

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