You’re off on a long awaited trip to visit your favorite aunt and uncle in Atlanta. Or maybe your college roommate is finally coming to visit you in New Orleans. Whether you’re playing the role of host or guest, you want to make the most out of the experience. Here are a few tips on how to be everyone’s favorite host or houseguest.

Wilkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!

When hosting friends or family, here are a few things you can do to ensure they have a wonderful visit.

First Impressions: Turn down the guest bed linens. Place a single gardenia cut from your garden in a vase by their bedside. And stock plenty of towels and toilet tissue in the guest washroom.

What’s On: Everyone loves to “live like a local,” so write a personalized list of your favorite spots in town for your guests to reference while they are in town. “I have a stock email of restaurants and other activities that I send to anyone coming to stay,” said JLNO Active member, Ann Kirk Jacobs. “This email contains restaurant names, website links and my commentary on each. I find that most people come to New Orleans to eat and drink, so having a list like this on hand is always helpful.”

Work/Life Balance: It’s not always possible to take time off from work, so set aside at least one night to entertain your visitors. “I love to cook with guests, especially New Orleans favorites,” said Liz Creel, former JLNO President and Sustainer and owner of Parkview Historic Hotel. “This gives us something to do that also breaks up the routine of going out for every meal, especially if they are with us for more than a night or two.”

Bon Voyage!

When you’re the house guest, make sure your host knows how much you appreciate their generosity.

First Impressions: A welome gift is always appropriate. A bottle of wine is a favorite standby, but gifts with a local flair are especially thoughtful. NOLA themed suggestions include a box of pralines, a cookbook or even a jazz CD.

Chipping In: The best houseguests leave nary a trace they were there. That means leaving your room tidy when you leave for the day, putting wet towels in a hamper (not left on the floor), and rinsing your dishes before placing them in the sink. And it never hurts to offer to make your host a cup of tea or walk their dog.

Extended Stay: We all know the saying about houseguests and fish. How do you avoid that dreaded trap? “I think it’s most important to be a very easygoing guest,” said Ann. “Whenever I visit any friends, I try to be as easygoing as possible. I always tell people that I don’t need to be entertained all the time.”

So pack your bags, change the sheets, bring your walking shoes and your appetite for fun. Summer is on its way, and this is your year to shine!