Once you move away from home, you learn the value of out of town guests. Whether you live 30 minutes or 3,000 miles away, nothing beats a piece of your old home coming to your new home. A few weekends ago, my sister came to visit for a long weekend. It was nothing short of wonderful, except for the part where winter storm Stella cut it short (dumb snow!).
As close as we are, we definitely know ourselves too well. If we didn’t plan for activities, we would have inevitably spent the weekend sitting on the couch staring at each other (which to be honest isn’t always a bad thing). But in light of our indecisiveness, we decided to make some plans.
Here are 10 things that worked for us and, hopefully, will be helpful to you next time you have friends or family in town.
If you know yourself well enough and know you’ll have a tough time making spur of the moment decisions, then plan ahead. This was incredibly helpful for us. It not only helps you maximize the time you have together, but it gets you excited in the days and weeks leading up to the visit. This is also a great idea if there is that one thing that everyone has to do when they visit your city or if you’re planning to attend an event that sells tickets ahead of time, like a concert or a sporting event.
Shopping, Shopping, Shopping
I mean we’re girls; shopping is our innate form of cardio. In all honesty, my sister lives in a small town in Upstate NY and does not have the luxury of five shopping malls within 20 minutes of her house. There were a few stores she wanted to hit up when she was in town (there we go again with the planning). So if you have visitors that enjoy a good trip to the mall, this is an easy way to pass the time.
Try A New Restaurant
All of that shopping will work up an appetite. So try out a new restaurant (even if it’s only new for one of you). Maybe there are a few hot spots in town you’ve been wanting to try or your guest wants to expand their palate. Regardless, we all have to eat. I took my sister to her first thai restaurant (Basil Thai) and it was a success!
Go Out And Have A Beer
Try out that new bar in town and check out some local sites on the way. Charlotte has a large (and growing!) brewery scene. This is typically not something two gluten-free sisters can enjoy, but Charlotte is not typical. There are multiple breweries with gluten-free beer, kombucha, and wine. And boy, did we take advantage of that. It was great to show her the local scene, while enjoying the luxury of beverage choices.
Stay Home And Drink Wine
It’s great to show your guests a good time, but there is nothing wrong with a relaxing night in. When it’s been months since you’ve seen someone, you want to talk and catch up. It’s the best feeling in the world to talk and interact in person, especially in today’s society where a majority of communication is through technology. And why not do it with a glass of wine in hand!
Watch A Movie
Along the lines of staying in, watching a movie is a great relaxing night idea. If you’ve been out sight-seeing and shopping all day, it’ll feel nice to plop down on the couch and watch that movie you said you were going to watch months ago. Or if you want a low-key night out, hit up your local movie theater. We watched The Edge of Seventeen and loved it!
Meet Up With Your Friends
I’m sure your guest has heard you talk about the people you hang out with and only knows who they are through social media stalking. So why not meet up and introduce everyone! In my case, my sister is my maid of honor and a few of the groomsman live in Charlotte. It was a great way for her to meet other people in the bridal party before the actual wedding.
Go To A Sporting Event
This is always a fun option, especially if you have a huge sports fan visiting. Check out the baseball team in town or the college football team. My fiance coaches junior varsity baseball and his team had a game while my sister was in town. While they may not be the most well known team, it was a great way to give my sister a glimpse of his day to day (I mean he is her future brother-in-law).
Include Them In A Special Event
Speaking of the wedding, no one in my family had seen my wedding dress. Crazy, I know. I found and purchased my gown with family approval only from pictures. I had been looking for a veil and one had arrived at the bridal boutique the week before my sister arrived in town. It was perfect timing, so we put it on our to-do list. Including a family member or friend in an important life event like this means everything when you live so far apart. It’s moments like these you really need to cherish.
Take Time To Enjoy The Present
Their time with you will be gone before you know it. You spend months planning for the vacation and then you blink and it’s over. So really take the time to relish each day you have together. While it’s great to stay busy and show them your life in your new home town, remember to slow down and enjoy the time you have together. While those new shoes you bought may be temporary, the memories you’re making are permanent and priceless.