Tips for Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

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Travel Tips: Always Knock Before Entering!

Tips for Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

By Cheryl Smyth

Tips for Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

Tips for Staying at a Bed and Breakfast

This summer, while on vacation in Newfoundland, I stayed at a Bed and Breakfast for the first time. After making a couple of blunders—arriving too early and walking right into the house — which the owner politely refrained from commenting on, I decided to look into the subject of B&B etiquette for future travels. Most of what I found is common sense; however, for those of us not used to lodging in a stranger’s home, it helps to be prepared, especially when your brain becomes road weary and sleep deprived like mine had.

Always knock first:

Only thinking about the relief I felt from showing up at a suitable time — our ferry had been behind schedule—I walked right into the living room expecting an office. Why would there be an office? It’s somebody’s home.

B&B’s aren’t necessarily like other accommodations, where you usually enter an official reception area. I immediately realized what I had done and walked out again.

Totally disoriented, I walked back in again, as I couldn’t think of what else to do. By this time, our host arrived. I apologized and we moved on to business. I remembered to knock when we returned to the B&B on our journey home.

Respect check-in/check-out times, along with meal times:

My muddled brain had misread the note on the door, interpreting the check-in time to be before 6:00. It actually stated after 6:00.

Heed the B&B’s policies on children and pets:

Some B&B owners want to offer tranquility to their visitors; or simply savor it themselves. Luckily, the place I stayed at welcomed dogs, since mine was travelling with me. I was charged extra, but that is common. Most of the B&B’s I contacted don’t allow pets.

By the way, if your welcomed animal or child makes a mess, let your host know, so they can clean it right away. It does nothing for future acceptance if you hide accidents. Tessi had rubbed against my leg causing some of my coffee to slosh onto the doormat. I admitted the accident to our host. I guess that’s why we pay the additional amount, though I was annoyed at myself for giving him a reason to charge it.

Take your shoes off at the door:

I usually have no problem with this courtesy, as I hate wearing shoes, yet on the other hand, we were in and out a few times transferring our luggage. I can’t remember if I removed my shoes. I’m sure I did—I think?

Below are some other points I learned. Though I didn’t have issues with them, they are worth mentioning:

  • Enjoy pleasant chats with your hosts, but don’t dominate their time. Keep in mind they have other responsibilities
  • Ask about policies regarding the fridge and freezer – Some B&B’s allow you to refreeze your freezer packs or store some food
  • Call if you’re running late; or if you need to cancel, let the B&B owners know as soon as possible
  • Some of your hosts’ personal belongings, such as towels, are offered for your use – Don’t filch anything that doesn’t belong to you
  • A small business will likely notice missing items, which can’t always be inexpensively replaced – You may later find a charge for them on your credit card
  • You may need to find out where to park your vehicle – A house full of guests could result in a tightly filled driveway
  • Sometimes B&B’s are difficult to locate so to avoid the possibility of getting lost and turning up late, ask your hosts for specific directions to their place before your arrival.
  • Take one of their business cards with you on an outing, so you can find your way back again
  • Owners of each accommodation will have their own preferences, so always check with the one you are interested in for any specifics. Remember, you’ll be lodging in someone’s home and to act respectfully.

We stayed at the Oceanview Bed and Breakfast in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, Canada on our first and last nights on the island. We were brought to this beautiful town by ferry from Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia.

Port aux Basques with its treeless rocky hills, offers assorted outdoor excursions, such as Grand Bay West Beach with its boardwalk skirting white sand and slivers of outcropping; as well as assorted attractions, such as nightly entertainment at Scott’s Cove Park just off the Harbour Boardwalk.

WJ Contributor Cheryl Smyth

WJ Contributor Cheryl Smyth

Cheryl Smyth has been a photographer for 20 years and has recently added writing to her repertoire. The desire of having her dog, Tessi, with her on her travels has inspired her to discover all that pet travel has to offer. Some of her travel stories and photography can be found on her website

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