This summer most of us have had to cut costs when it comes to vacations and travel. Instead of living it up at luxury resorts and four-star hotels, we’re sleeping on the pull-out couch at Aunt Judy’s, or taking advantage of an old friend’s guestroom. Visiting friends and family is a great way to reconnect while saving money, but don’t show up empty-handed or forget to return the favor. Always, always send a thank you card after your visit along with a thoughtful host/hostess gift to thank them for their hospitality. A few suggestions:
Martha Stewart for 1-800-Flowers.com Floral Arrangements: Drugstore carnations just won’t do, so opt for a tasteful bouquet from Martha instead. From roses to hydrangeas, these beautiful blooms—artfully presented in bamboo vases and silver julep cups—will earn oohs and ahhs from your host
Sucre Macaroons: This sweet boutique specializes in chocolates and tempting pastel-hued Parisian macaroons in a variety of flavors, from pistachio to orange.
Eleni’s NY Cookies: If your host has a sweet tooth, treat them to a box of these almost-too-pretty-to-eat cookies, available in a countless assortment of themes. Want to thank your pals for letting you use their Hamptons beach house? Send them a box of seashell cookies. Just want to say thanks? Send them the “thank you” cookies.
-A gift certificate to a local restaurant they love. Did they take you out for a memorable meal? Return the favor with a generous gift certificate for them to enjoy.
-A stocked fridge. Provided they’re not going to be out of town (in which case a fridge full of perishable food = a cruel joke), hit the market for goodies you know they’ll love—perhaps some nice cheeses, olives, cornichons, a couple of bottles of wine, and milk, butter, bread and coffee to replace any staples you’ve depleted during your stay.
-Gifts from home. If your hometown is known for a particular delicacy, bring some along for your hosts to enjoy. It could be a Maine lobster, New York bagels, New Orleans beignets—yum!
-Dinner. Try to reserve a night where you either take your hosts out for a nice meal (fast food or the local burger joint doesn’t count), or grab an apron and make them dinner.
Just don’t underestimate the importance of a good host gift. Forget one and they’ll feel slighted and underappreciated, but go the extra mile and they’ll be begging you to visit again!