The first most important thing I like to do is be ready for when my guests arrive rushing around when your visitors arrive will make them feel as if they are a hindrance to your families routine. On the day, get as many of the routine daily jobs done as early as possible this may include feeding pets, washing on/off line, garden watered - all the everday tasks.
Of course in the days leading up to their arrival I make sure I give the house a good clean and stock my fridge, freezer & pantry so I needn't be rushing out for any last minute items. Obviously before I go shopping I menu plan what meals we will be having during our guests stay. Now is also a good time to make any restaurant reservations if you intend to eat out.
Some of us are lucky enough to have a guest room that can easily be set up, many of us- specially the ones with children are not so fortunate. Regardless of where you decide to "put" your guests make sure the beds are comfortable. A good few years ago I bought a sofa bed for my visitors to use when they stayed. They were the in thing at the time so I thought "hey this is fabulous for me in my little house" One day I totally rearranged & spring cleaned my bedroom not getting finished that day I thought I would sleep on the sofa bed, well lets just say I have never let another guest sleep on it since. The moral of the story is sleep in your guest beds with the linen they will use and see that it is comfortable. Don't forget extra pillows and some magazines on the bedside table will probably be gratefully received.
I like to give my house guests a torch.
If your ever tried to find the loo in the middle of the night in a strange house without turning on every light (hey!! Where are the light switches anyway??) you'll understand what I am getting at!!!
When I stay at motels I never use the toiletries provided, instead try bringing them home and making up a basket for your guests to use. If your visitors have babies find out ahead what food they will need & either buy or prepare this. Disposable nappies are easier to use when you are travelling with babies however these are bulky things to pack so have a supply ready. You will need to child proof your house if you no longer have young ones. It is terribly stressful for the parents if they have to worry about their young charges damaging or breaking something. While you are doing that don't forget to remove poisons or medications that may be in reach.
Tourist information centres are not places local residents tend to visit. Try getting down to your local centre though and pick up some brochures of whats available in your local area. Most people don't even know what's in their own backyard (so to speak) Try it. We have done this and found many activities for ourselves. Lately we have found a lovely little B&B set in a nice garden setting. It has a fabulous cafe where we now sometimes go for lunch. A fantastic find.
Show early risers where they can find tea/coffee etc. the night before. Don't forget to tell them to help themselves and show them where the snacks are found. Restocking the fruit bowl with all our yummy stone fruits this time of year is lovely for everybody.
Try and be easy going during your guests stay don't panic over the house and keep meals fresh and simple. Enjoy yourself this will then flow through to everyone and lastly remember your guests have come to see you not your house of what you have.
So kick back open a good bottle of wine and give a toast to "GOOD FRIENDS"