Question: If you’re staying at someone’s beach house but they’re not there, should you still send them a hostess gift? Can you leave one on, say, the kitchen table?
Answer: Yes, some sort of gift is definitely in order. As is, of course, a nice thank you note. I would probably recommend sending both the gift and note to their home, though, instead of leaving it at a vacation property, unless you know for sure they’ll be there soon.
Question: A colleague from my company’s West Coast office was in our office this week, and I took her to dinner. At the end of the meal, our waitress offered to box up our leftovers. My colleague said she’d take a box, which kind of surprised me, but I figured she might have a fridge in her hotel room. But after our waitress brought the doggie bags, my colleague handed her food to me and said, "I can’t take this, but it was great — you’ll love it!" Isn’t that kind of weird? It wasn’t like half a sandwich she hadn’t touched or family-style food that you spoon from a platter onto your plate — it was spaghetti. I thanked her and took the leftovers, but threw them away when I got home.
Answer: It is a little weird, but I think your colleague was probably just trying to be nice. You handled this the right way.
Email travel etiquette questions to Lesley Carlin at email@example.com.