While enrolling yourself in adulting school may be a somewhat extreme method of getting better at the whole “being a grown up” thing, there are always new ways to empower yourself with skills, ideas, and go-to fixes that make you feel more independent and capable. Finding this feeling of confidence extends to fun things too (it’s not all bills and retirement plans!) — like hosting out-of-town friends for a weekend. We’ve already got our dinner party entertaining on lock and know how to throw an Instagram-worthy outdoor bash, but when it comes to longer-term hosting, we could use a little help. (How much together time is too much, anyway?!) Which is exactly why we put together this list of eight ways for you to easily slay the hosting game.

1.Plan it out. To avoid the “What do you want to do? I don’t care, what do you want to do?” phenomenon, have an (easily adaptable) plan for things to do once your guests arrive. We’re all for tailoring the activities to your friends’ interests while leaving room open for spontaneous adventures and needed downtime. Weekend festivals, art museums, hiking trails, neighborhood restaurants, and outdoor concerts are all awesome ways to give your guests an authentic experience that you’ll enjoy too. To help keep reservations, tickets, and schedules organized, we’re glued to our Brit + Co planners from Target. Since they’re super-customizable with yearly, monthly, and daily calendar pages, dry erase pages, and sticky notes, planning enjoyable events is even more fun.

2. Ensure bathroom amenities abound. There’s nothing worse than starting your period or realizing you forgot deodorant while you’re on vacation in someone else’s home. Help cut down on any potential awkwardness on your guest’s part by having self-care necessities like tampons, a razor, Advil, Tums, and an extra roll of toilet paper on a shelf in the bathroom so they can take care of their body in peace.

3. Stock up on local publications. Keep a current issue of a regional magazine and local newspaper out for your guests to look through while they’re staying with you. It’ll give them some insight into your city and offer suggestions for things to do you might not have otherwise thought of. Most local mags also come out with an annual “best eats” issue, which is always a crowd-pleaser (and will definitely mean less cooking for you!).

A group of friends eat snacks together in a kitchen

4. Snack time is all the time. Even when you tell your guests to “help yourself to whatever’s in the kitchen” a million times, chances are, they just aren’t going to feel comfortable rooting around in your pantry. Leave out a basket of bottled water, crackers, some fruit, and a few granola bars for your guests to grab without guilt. We also like keeping some pre-sliced cucumbers and cherry tomatoes in the fridge next to a tub of hummus for a healthy option that requires zero work.

5. Have fun playing bartender. You’re obvi going to be in major party mode once your friends arrive — so be sure to have the cocktail essentials ready to go. We like keeping tequila, vodka, bourbon, gin, and the accompanying mixers (club soda, ginger ale, tonic) on hand, with assorted glasses, a cocktail shaker, jigger, and ice bucket at the ready. We’ll also keep some fresh juices in the fridge that can double as mixers or breakfast options (or both, if we’re honest).

6. Invest in luxe guest linens. Even if the sheets are going on a blow-up bed, it’s important to give your guests fresh, clean linens — not only is it just polite, but it shows you were preparing for their arrival, which in turn makes them that much more comfortable. And sure, you’re fine with reusing those towels with the bleach stains, but your guests definitely deserve a fresh set!

A woman leans smiling on a kitchen counter

7. Perfect at least one killer recipe. Whether it’s a perfectly succulent roast chicken or a veggie lasagna that fools even the most dedicated carnivore, having an easy, no-fail recipe to feed a group is essential to your hosting duties. There’s no better feeling than successfully feeding your friends, everyone contented and full because of something you made. We suggest practicing a few times on your own before they arrive (lunch leftovers!) so you can perfect it without pressure.

8. Give ’em space. Of course, you’re all excited to see each other and can’t wait to catch up all weekend long, but everyone needs some down time. We suggest getting up before your guests to get the coffee on and take a seat on the back patio — that way, when they wake up, they can either come out and join you or grab a cup and head back to bed to fully wake up before facing the day. A pre-dinner rest is also another easy (and welcome!) time to give everyone a chance to breathe.

Do you have a tried-and-true hosting tip you love to live by? Tweet us @BritandCo to let us know what works for you!

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

(Photos via Getty)