Managing visits from friends and family

As soon as you arrive in Spain, expect to be inundated by requests from friends and family to come and visit!


Most expats will have plenty of friends and family visiting throughout the year, and its not uncommon to feel like a bed and breakfast! Once you are used to living in Spain, spending your days lounging by the pool won’t be as exciting – or even possible, if you are working! But your visitors, who are on holiday, may want to do just that!

We have put together seven tips to help you cope with these visits:

1. Never forget that it is YOUR HOME
You are not a B & B, but are no doubt happy to welcome your family and friends when they come to visit. However, when first arranging their visit, make a point of letting them know that you have work commitments or regular activities that you will need to do. Most visitors will understand that they need to fit around you and your schedule, but it never hurts to remind them!

2. Seek out local activities
Try to have as much information as possible about what is going on in your town or area during their visit. You will, of course, be happy to include your visitors in events to which you are going, but also find things for them to do whilst you are otherwise occupied. Suggest a trip to the local daily market, or to the sea (especially if there are sailing or other aquatic events) - anything that doesn’t necessarily require your presence but that you can join in with if you have some spare time on your hands.

3. Share the catering
Unfortunately it does become expensive if you are constantly buying food for a large number of people, and it is also time-consuming preparing meals for largish numbers. No doubt your visitors will suggest making a meal or want to chip in by buying the ingredients or by making it. You never know, if you drop enough hints about a particular meal that you have been missing, they might just make it for you!

4. Know your visitors
Have think about who is visiting and what they might actually want to do whilst your are otherwise occupied, and this can help you make sure their stay is a happy one for both you and them! If, for example, they like jazz or classical music, find out if there is a gig or concert going on while they are with you and buy tickets for you all. If they are expensive, say so-and-so is playing nearby, are you up for tickets and tell them the cost.  You will win brownie points by having sourced the event!

5. Make visitors feel at home
It is helpful to you if you have ensured that your visitors have most of what they might need close at hand. The spare rooms and bathrooms should have plenty of towels, loo paper, little bottles of shower gel, shampoo, cotton buds and so on to hand. This will save you being asked for such basics when you are busy preparing meals or are otherwise occupied. A hairdryer to hand is always useful and even a pair of scissors. Apart from making your guests feel welcome, these little touches save you lots of time running around looking for them at often inconvenient moments.

6. Suggest quiet time
We all know that Spain has a “siesta”, so why not suggest that your guests indulge in this too! Sleeping, reading, catching up with emails, whatever they want. You will all be more energised for your evening activities and you, as the host, will be able to get the things done that have been stacking up during the visit – or get some well-deserved rest!

7. Enjoy your visitors
For most of us, having family and friends to stay should be a pleasure. It gives us time to be with those we love, and to catch up with their lives and they with ours. Taking them to places of local interest, or even further afield, should be pleasurable for all concerned, and help them to better know all about your new life. The key has to be giving each person personal space and that definitely applies to us too, as the hosts. Arrange the visit with this in mind and you should, all being well, be sorry to see your visitors leave!

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Further reading for Living In Spain


Finding work

There are a number of ways that UK expats can fund their lifestyle in Spain.

Read more..


Social life in Spain

Find out as much as you can about your new community and find new friends.




Arrange health insurance and locate your new local hospitals and practices.



Education in Spain

Emigrating with school-age children? Learn more about schooling in your local area.