Gift basket for guests

I want to start leaving some snacks for the guests. Either just put out a basket and fill it with snacks each time, or a gift box they can take. I want to include things like snack bars, chips, gourmet coffee ground sample pack, bottled water, ect. I’ve looked at places online that offer these as pre-made boxes, but they are mostly $20-30 a box. I was hoping to spend around $3-8 per guest if possible.
Are there any companies people know of that offer pre-made boxes in that price range? If not can anyone recommend the best place to get bulk snacks, coffee, water, ect. that my cleaners could put out for guests? And any ideas for stuff to leave?

We do several nice amenities as standard:

  • breath mints by the entrance in a bowl - individually wrapped
  • artisan teas (many kinds), bags and loose leaf, with an infuser
  • fresh roasted coffee, 1-2 types
  • fresh half and half in the fridge
  • several pitchers of chilled water in the fridge
  • Usual condiments (sugar, artificial sweetener, honey, salt, pepper, olive oil).

When we started, we gave a bottle of wine. Then we read a few stories about liability and stopped. It’s a shame - we would greatly prefer to “do what is more hospitable” but good deeds can be punished. A guest could be in recovery - and that is also a consideration.

For a party of 3 who stayed with us at Thanksgiving (a couple and their teenage son), they were from New Hampshire. We wanted them to have “a taste of local” and put together a basket with Amish treats and cute decorative napkins. Little cakes of different kinds with icing in the middle.

We probably should provide a few bottles of water for each stay. If we have 2-3 guests for 3 or more nights, we consider doing something extra.

IMO, it makes more sense to provide a little basket than a “to go” concept. Others will have better ideas probably.

I bought a large pretty plastic serving bowl at the Dollar Store. I buy boxes of chocolate chip cookies on Amazon (60 packs) which come out to 30 cents each. They’re called Grandma’s cookies. They are three different flavors. I use about 6 packs (2 of each flavor) of cookies in the basket. I add 4-5 bananas, 2 apples and 2 oranges. I also add a bag of coffee beans that I can buy on sale at Target or Amazon for about $4-5. The basket will cost about $8- $10. I keep re-using the serving bowl, so far no one has taken it. I top it off with a thank you card. I do weekly rentals. If the guests paid a bit more due to smart pricing, then I also include a bottle of wine.


There’s really no one size fits all. For example, although the monetary amount remains the same, we leave different things for guests from the USA for instance than guests from France.

For similar reasons the pre-made gift boxes don’t work either. Guests #1 eat everything except the chips, then guests #2 do the same. If that goes on for a couple of weeks you’ve got a huge box full of chips. Sometimes I get a run of guests who don’t eat the yogurt, for instance, so end up having loads of it to eat up at home.

Another issue is where you are and the local laws. For example, if I was to bake something for guests (as Airbnb hosts used to do in the early days) I would need to have a professional kitchen with regular inspections. A few miles away and in a different county and that wouldn’t apply.

I only leave products for guests that are sealed by the manufacturer and fruit that is obviously not tampered with such as apples, oranges and bananas. I also only use products that have a use-by date so that the guests can be assured that it’s fresh.

I think that most hosts leave bottled water, coffee, tea, creamer and a few arrival snacks - usually it depends on their pricing and how much they are budgeting for per guest.

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I leave a basket of assorted snacks out for my guests - it might include pretzels, crackers, popcorn, pistachios, peanuts, candy, moonpies, granola bars, cookies… I just buy the packs from Publix and stock up when something is on sale. I add a “welcome” card to this basket.

If I know my guests will be bringing kids they get animal crackers and goldfish. Those bringing dogs get dog biscuits and those bringing cats get cat snacks.

I do the welcome basket in addition to my usual chips, coffee, tea, and assorted breakfast staples. Oh, and a bowl of fresh fruit.

Some guests empty out the basket, some don’t touch it, and most just pick their favorites and leave the rest.

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I think leaving bottled water usually depends on whether the host wants to be environmentally responsible , rather than to do with pricing. Having a container of filtered water that guests can avail themselves of is what more and more hosts are doing. We really need to get away from single-use items, especially plastic ones.


Absolutely we do. Which is why we have a water filter jug in each fridge and, as I’ve posted here today, leave San Pellegrino water for guests which comes in recyclable glass bottles.


I can’t imagine you would get ready made, filled gift boxes for that price @coolerkid or even if you could what sort of quality that would be.

I would never provide plastic bottled water I provided filtered water in a fridge.

Why not provide one or two quality local items if you have that sort of budget. Or just decent fresh coffee.

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We don’t do individual baskets. Instead, we always have an assortment of fresh fruit in a bowl on our kitchen counter. We also have one shelf in our fridge of individual drinks (juice, sparkling water, soda) as well as milk, and there is water/ice through the fridge door. There’s almost always a pot of coffee in a Thermos carafe on our kitchen counter, with mugs and sugar nearby. During guest orientation, we point out that they’re welcome to have a piece of fruit, a beverage, or a cup of coffee. If they like tea, we put out a tea box of assorted types and our electric kettle. We ask them to let us know if anything runs out.

So far, plenty of guests have partaken, but no one has cleaned out the fruit bowl or the beverage selection.


That looks GREAT


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Thanks for the suggestions. I manage my place remotely so I would need to order everything and wouldn’t want to do fruits or anything that needed to be bought locally. Can anyone recommend specific products that are decent quality and can be bought in bulk online? If you had a link too that would be helpful. Also, any good quality coffee sample packs that can be bought in bulk? I would probably just leave everything in a basket to make it easy for the cleaner.

That is a bit tricky since you manage remotely. Fresh-roasted whole bean coffee lets off CO2 and stays pretty fresh for nearly 3 weeks. Once ground, it ages much faster unless immediately sealed up air-tight (mason jar / heat sealed foil / etc).

Honestly, the vast majority of “coffee sample packs” are just not good at all. They are often packaged after aging off and are quite stale by the time you get them.

What you might consider is a small but decent grinder - and have the cleaner put some fresh beans in it every week or so. The beans will stay nicely. It looks like you might be in Florida?
If so, I can recommend a good grinder for $50-60.

Also I’ve found that many people who aren’t particularly finicky in other areas can be very very choosy about their coffee. I quite often have guests asking me in advance what sort of coffee we supply, whether we have a grinder, a cafetiere, etc.

It’s not unusual for guests to bring their own even! Although we supply plenty of coffee, there are those who are so fussy that they must have their own brand/type even just for a short stay away from home. :coffee:

Yes, us coffee drinkers can be a very finicky lot. I cringe, for instance, when I read a host saying they provide powdered “creamer”. That’s just a bunch of chemicals that I wouldn’t touch at all. I’d sooner drink my coffee black, altho I wouldn’t really enjoy it that way.
If I found a host didn’t provide actual cream, I’d go out and buy it, or might even message the host before arriving, asking sweetly if if they would mind having enough there for at least my first morning. They could skip any other breakfast amenties, but not that.
As far as brand, I wouldn’t be so fussy or entitled, and while I prefer a dark roast, I’d settle for a medium roast and still be happy. But I wouldn’t be pleased with some cheapo coffee and flavored coffee is the non-alcoholic equivalent of wine coolers- drinks for teenagers.
And as far as the coffee maker, I’d be good with a French press, and espresso pot or machine, but not some Mr.Coffee-type. And yes, I’ve been known to travel with my own emergency coffee stash, just in case I couldn’t find anything palatable.

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We provide a large number of “basics” in our home, such as coffee, tea, creamer, sugars, etc. I also provide hot chocolate mix, pancake mix, brownie mix, instant oatmeal packets, syrup and jam.

I leave a bottle of white wine or Prosecco (Costco Kirkland wines are a favorite at $6.99 an $7.99/bottle.)

I usually leave a salty snack and a sweet snack. We’ve learned that snacks relate to stains, so we no longer provide red wine or anything with chocolate. I have a Trader Joe’s nearby and I use their sesame snacks, seasonal biscuits, TJ’s pop tarts, butter cookies, etc. I try to get things with a long shelf life, because people don’t always eat what we leave.

I usually stick to a budget of 5-10% of the first night stay. For high dollar stays I provide a fruit and cheese plate w/ crackers and bread. In the summer we often provide local tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil from our garden.

We have two new bakeries in town and I’m going to try using their fresh products as a welcome gift this month. I love promoting our small town businesses and their fantastic products.

I would be concerned about buying prepared kits - make sure you like the contents, because you may be eating them.

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I leave a bottle of red wine for guests and haven’t had a stain problem ever. (Mind you, I’m accustomed to getting red stains out of my own laundry so perhaps I never noticed :slight_smile: )

I’m always surprised though by hosts who say that they leave chocolates on the pillow for guests. Not only is that a bit of an old time cliche, they’re also inviting chocolately marks on the pillowcase.

I know that some hosts don’t leave wine because they think that people in recovery might be tempted but that’s like assuming that someone who lost a load of weight can’t go near food. Or like me as a recovering nicotine addict being near someone smoking - we recoverers can cope with these things. At our prices, wine is appropriate.

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If you have a Costco membership, check here:

I would buy these types of variety packs in bulk. Chex mix has been a big hit for us - chips also (but they expire quickly.)

These cookie options are great too.

We use to provide the Milano cookies. The Biscoff or Fig Newtons would be nice. As a guest, I’m happy if there is anything to snack on, it’s a nice touch.

What a beautiful bowl and arrangement! I do something similar, but more rustic/beachy.

Thank you! We were excited, because we won the bowl on Facebook. We never win things.

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Lol. This was one of the weirdest “feedbacks” I have had. I had a guest mention in the private feedback that it would have been nice to have some powdered creamer. Doh. We provide organic half and half as well as some milk and milk alternatives (almond, soy). But they wanted friggin powdered creamer.

I just ignored that feedback. That’s not the kind of place I’m running :wink: