- We have cash on hand which allowed us to purchase things at the last minute which we hadn't anticipated such as a few extra tanks of gas to drive the guests around with, a half dozen pizzas for late night snacks, a couple of extra runs to the grocery store for perishables, and a birthday gift for one of the guests who celebrated their birthday here.
- We have lots of food stored for a disaster. When this many people descend on you it can feel like a financial disaster, but lots of meals can be created easily and cheaply if the bulk of the food you need is sitting in the garage instead of having to be purchased when it isn't on sale at the grocery store.
- We have extra blankets and sheets stored in the garage. Although we no longer use these items, we keep them aside in case of a power outage during the cold days of winter (at least we will be warm); as a bonus, we can issue all of the guests blankets and sheets and they can pretty much bed down anywhere.
- We have plenty of disposable goods stored too. Since it is usually just the two of us, it is hard to image how much toilet paper and paper towels a big group can go through on a daily basis (and it's a lot!). Also, a forgotten toothbrush didn't mean a run to the store and some coloring books we keep in our game box worked well to keep a couple of the littlest guests occupied.
- Maps came in handy. We have a variety of maps for our city, county, and state. One family (the low maintenance house guests) pretty much take care of themselves as soon as they get here. They rent a car, stay at the house to sleep and take showers, then borrow some maps and they go off and explore the sights around our area. Simple.
- I keep poster board and markers on hand as a basic communication tool that can be used during a disaster. We used one poster board to set a schedule so everyone would know what was coming up: Tuesday at 6 birthday party at a local cousin's house, Saturday at noon lunch at a local restaurant. This way people could plan their days but still meet up for group events.
- We had a de facto leader. It can be pretty scattered when you have 15 to 20 people all coexisting together even for a short period of time. With a sister who used to be an actual drill sergeant, she tends to assume the leader role and makes sure everything remains relatively clean and organized and chaos is minimized (so I can kick back and enjoy my guests).
- We made some preps as soon as we heard everyone was coming. One group flew in about the same time as another couple so they were able to ride together from the airport which saved some extra trips. Another group was interested in visiting a particular tourist destination so we suggested another couple who had never been here go with them--basic logistics that made planning less confusing.
Overall we have had a wonderful couple of weeks. A little bit of planning ahead rewarded us with a nice time for everyone and lots less stress than we would have had if we weren't prepared.