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Bed and Breakfast Guest Etiquette

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Bed and breakfast sign
David C. Tomlinson/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images

Many travelers have discovered the charm and warmth of most bed and breakfast type inns, so they have gained in popularity over the past couple of decades. While staying in a B&B is similar to being in a hotel, there are some additional etiquette rules you should know and follow.

Remember that many people who run this type of establishment generally live there, so treat it with respect as you would anyone’s home. The furniture, glasses, towels, and other items belong to them, so never remove these items from the premises.

If you treat the establishment and the hosts with the respect they deserve, they'll welcome you back and may even give you preferential treatment when you call to reserve a room. You don't want to have them dread seeing you return.

Additional rules of etiquette you should follow:

  • Don’t expect to check in before the listed time unless you have made prior arrangements. When it is time to check out, make sure you have removed all your belongings from the room. The innkeeper needs to change the sheets and get the room ready for the next guest. Many B&Bs stay booked, and you should never infringe on someone else’s time.
  • Ask about house rules and follow them. The rules were established for a reason. If you have an issue with them, discuss your concerns with the owner. You might learn the reason the rule was made.
  • Don’t make noise while others may be sleeping. Keep your voices down in the early morning hours and late at night. During the day, walk in soft tones.
  • If you have children with you, make sure they behave and follow all the rules. Don't allow them to run down the halls, jump on furniture, or bother other guests. 
  • Show up for meals and other planned activities on time and dressed appropriately. Don't go to breakfast still wearing your pajamas.
  • Don’t take more than your share of the food or drinks during meals or tea. Make sure there is plenty for other guests. After everyone has been served, you may ask for more if you can see that there is enough left.
  • Feel free to ask the innkeeper questions about the area, but don’t monopolize his or her time. There may be other guests who need attention.
  • Never smoke in the bed and breakfast unless you ask permission first, even in the rooms. You may think you can get away with it without the innkeeper’s knowledge, but they will find out. Telltale signs of smoking such as smells, ashes, or discarded cigarette butts may have the host asking you to leave.
  • At the end of the stay, leave a tip with a short thank you note letting the innkeeper know what you liked about your visit. If you are feeling generous, send a small thank you gift after you return home.

Always exhibit good everyday manners. Everyone will have a much nicer time if proper etiquette is followed.

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