Guests - is there an ideal one?

having lived here in the Pyrenees for just over 3 years we are now in the 3 rd holiday season with friends and family falling over themselves to ' book the best dates' and secure what they clearly think is their almost free holiday with us.

dont get me wrong - I really do love to see them , hear their news, show off our lovely house and enviable lifestyle for a few days and nights, but we are now struggling to be as accommodating and open house as we were as we have realized that guests clash with our lifestyle, exploit us mercilessly, expect us to holiday with them and that they are costing us a lot of time and money collecting them from the airport ( for us a 5 hour round trip) and returning them after driving them all over the place, introducing them to our friends, feeding and accommodating them.

with this in mind I am interested to hear from others if there is indeed such a thing as the ideal house guest and if so how are they defined? Maybe being less of a generous host on our part would be a good start?

The word you are looking for is 'NO'. If you don't want them there then don't invite them.

You must insist that your guests hire a car (or travel down by car), they'll then have the freedom to go out and about without you providing a taxi service.

We've been very lucky; we're delighted to see all our guests and do tend to treat their visits as a holiday for us also. However, we have the sort of guests who like to do their own thing for some of their stay as well as happily muck in with shopping, cooking (especially on the BBQ or firepit) and clearing up..

You'll really have to lay down some ground rules when your visitors book their flights, and ask for a contribution if you think they're taking the pi** :-)

I have a similar issue. It started with an old school aquaintance wishing to visit then my being unable to exclude her smoking friend, and then two others that cannot be excluded. I agreed relunctantly, and suggested dates when they might book to fly here. They would be here two nights I thought. However, with no consultation with me they have booked planes that will mean they will be here for 5 nights. I am amazed. I hope they intend to contribute to their upkeep.

My car is really too small for four passengers and luggage and I suggest they hire a car from the airport. Apparently this is beyond the wit of any of them. That means two hour round trips each way for me as well. They think it is a good idea for me to hire a car for them, but they expect me to drive the darned thing, and there has been no mention of who foots the bill.

Last weekend my old friend arrived for three nights. In the vegetable shop, at the checkout, she handed me a 100 euro note in an envelope to help out. She insisted. She would clear the table, and stack and unstack the dishwasher, and she cleaned the counters. When I emptied the bin, she already had found the new bin liner. She even fetched a load of logs in from the barn, and frequently tidied the hearth.

She kept all her clutter out of my bathroom, and left the place clean, and she stripped her bed when she was leaving. She was the exemplary guest we all crave.

I love seeing family and friends, enjoy cooking meals for them and have no problems normally, but then all our family and most friends fit in with our lifestyle as they know us so well. Kids are less flexible and if they had to stay in an hotel they'd never eat anything: that's the parents' problem, though, not ours. The only problems arise when a visitor says "what have you planned for us today?" and I suggest he might like to do the ironing for me, or nip to the supermarket. A family who expect every day's itinerary to be planned in advance for their entertainment won't be invited back (although some come anyway) and must understand that this is THEIR holiday, not MINE and we are not going to accompany them on every outing. For some, a trip to Carrefour is an outing in itself, as is a picnic in "our" forest or a long walk with our dog. We have left one family exploring the Cerdon caves while we bought plenty of the local wine in peace, so combining their outing with ours.

Family tend to entertain us to a few meals (both daughters in law are excellent cooks) and friends like to treat us to a few meals out (with our dog, of course).

We used to have a spare Peugeot - which was great during winter holidays as visitors could commute to the piste in that, but we have disposed of that car so do provide transport sometimes, leaving the visitors at the lifts to get on with their skiing while we visit a bit further afield.

Depending on the visitors, we do save up jobs for their visits: two amateur car mechanics get to change the seasonal tyres, swap suspension on the MG, etc. and engineers tend to be happier when busy. One couple are coming over next week to help with cladding the rear wall of the house. That's true friendship!

The only contribution we ever request is UK bacon!

Not bragging, just saying, sort of. I often hear that I am an ideal guest. The reasons? I rent my own car. I make sure their frig is as full when I leave as when I arrived. I bring a nice bottle of wine. I pick up the check for at least one meal out. I have ways to keep myself entertained. I keep my stuff picked up and in my room. If I am there for very long, I find my way around the kitchen and help with the cooking. In short, I do my best to make my visit a bit of a holiday for my hosts, too.

Minimum, if I were you, I would tell guests they have to rent a car. Asking you to drive ten hours to ferry them to the house is asking much too much.

It sounds like you have the wrong guests. I collect family from the airport, or they hire a car, but they always help around the house without asking. They always want to take us out for a meal, and they always fit in with our lives, so we make an effort and try to show them interesting places. Except two ! They no longer visit, because i made it clear they are not welcome. Without exception, our friends have been great guests, and always tailor their visits to our lives, as we do when we visit them. You have to make it clear to all, when it is convenient and for how long. If they don't behave how you want them to, don't have them to stay again. If they don't like it they won't come, which will be a good result for you. :-)

Like others I emphasise* that guests bring their own transport or hire a car.

*emphasise = we tell guests that we will not drive them around France. It's as simple as that.

Just put up a very visable sign saying ' Visitors are like fish, they tend to go off after a few days'

'To go off' could of course be a positive or a negative statement, and would encompass both if the ' friends' had planned on a surprise long stay...

Had some similar issues early on, now our airport runs are confined to our sons and parent. Everyone else needs to make their own way to use, and if they fly, then that usually means hiring a car. We also when we have guests have a kitty and split the shopping by the number of people eating and drinking. The only folkks who no longer visit were full on freeloaders.....we found out that we had to get tough and say no because we are often not on holiday when our guests stay and have other things to do. Good Luck

Suggest they hire their own car! We've had a place in the Pyrennees for 16 years with guests arriving frequently. We only invite ones we're not sure about for 3 days max. Good friends (who load the dishwasher, stock up on wine, take us out once a week for a meal) can stay for a week! Works quite well.