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The simple joy of traveling to a remote location and finding a down-to-earth, homey accommodation to spend a few nights - sounds like a travel experience to remember.

A homestay can either mean an entire home or private rooms in a home rented out to tourists. In plenty of homestays, hosts keep a room to rent right in the homes they are living in, making for a unique cultural experience for tourists. Considering the authentic holiday experience, simple but snug accommodations, and budget-friendly getaways, there’s no reason why you should not ditch the regular hotel and book a homestay instead.

If you’re considering homestays and need more information, keep reading this extensive guide that will answer all your questions.

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The rising popularity of homestays

In the growing bid to experience local culture and promote sustainable tourism, homestays have been gaining popularity in recent times. Another factor contributing to the rising popularity of homestays is the increasing appetite for travel among people, which also makes tourists opt for budget-friendly accommodation options. Instead of splurging on one grand vacation, many today prefer to have multiple travel experiences on a budget. Moreover, in today’s digital age, when working from home is easy and common, an increasing number of people are going on workcations and staycations, for which homestays are the smarter and more obvious accommodation options.

How are homestays different from hotels?

Homestays are cozy, homelike accommodations without the luxurious amenities and endless services of a hotel. Even though homestays might not have the amenities of a hotel, they are full of comfort and ensure a restful stay. Unlike hotels, homestays let you immerse yourself in the local culture, allowing you to learn plenty about the destination you’re visiting. Homestays often allow you to stay close to locals and immerse yourself in their lifestyle. Often, these accommodations include meals prepared by the host, allowing you to savor the local cuisine in its best homemade form. All these factors make for a more authentic travel experience than you would have in a hotel, making homestays an outstanding alternative to hotels.

Types of homestays

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Depending on the location and setting, you can choose from a range of homestays that offer completely different experiences. For your next getaway, check out some common types of homestays based on different settings.

  • Urban homestays

If you are traveling for work or planning to explore a metropolis, you can always find homestays set in cities. These homestays make for brilliant budget-friendly alternatives to pricey hotels and allow you to stay in expensive metropolises for as long as you want without breaking the bank. Given their setting, urban homestays are especially well-suited for students looking to travel and explore.

  • Rural homestays

If you want to travel to a remote area or explore a less-trodden path, homestays are one of the only accommodation options you are going to find. Often set on farms, rural homestays allow guests to collect fresh farm produce for daily meal recipes, making for a farm-to-table experience and promoting agritourism. Rural homestays also allow you to get away from the city bustle and witness the magical countryside.

  • Cultural and community-based homestays

While a majority of indigenous communities around the world don’t let in outsiders, there are plenty of communities in naturally stunning, unspoiled areas that thrive on sustainable tourism. Given that you follow basic rules and etiquette, you can always stay among these communities and volunteer with them for the betterment of their homeland.

Accommodation types usually offered in homestays

Depending on your needs and preferences, you can find different types of homestays. Read on to learn about the most common types of homestays, differing in budget and privacy offered:

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  • Homes:

If you’re traveling with your family or a large group, you can book an entire home for yourself. Even if you’re a couple looking for a romantic escape, you can find a charming one-bedroom apartment. Private homes often feature kitchens, allowing you to cater for yourself. Other amenities might include washing machines, TVs, and dedicated workspaces, among others, allowing you to have a comfortable stay. So, for those who want large spaces and maximum privacy, renting an entire home is the best option.

  • Private rooms:

If you’re a solo traveler or a couple on a budget, you can also opt for a private room. You may stay in a private section in the host’s house or in a holiday home shared with other guests. Private rooms offer shared access to amenities, if any, such as kitchens and washing machines. Depending on the property, you might have access to a private bathroom attached to your room.

  • Shared rooms:

For those comfortable with staying in a co-living space, shared rooms are one of the most budget-friendly accommodation options. Shared rooms are also ideal for students looking for short-term accommodations before moving somewhere more permanent. While these rooms lack privacy, they allow you to meet and interact with new people from different parts of the world.

Why you should choose homestays

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  • Budget

Homestays are one of the most budget-friendly accommodation options you can find. Even though you can also find upscale homestays nowadays, most are down-to-earth establishments that allow you to have a simple and affordable retreat. Moreover, many homestays offer access to kitchens, further allowing you to cut the cost of eating out.

  • Location

If you’re planning to travel to a remote location, sometimes the only accommodations you’re going to find are homestays. While hotels are only available in mainstream tourist destinations in most cases, homestays are available in all kinds of destinations, offbeat or mainstream.

  • Authentic local experience

Whether you travel to big cities or remote locations, homestays are run and operated by local families. The way the locals run their homestays makes for an authentic travel experience, allowing tourists to witness the best of the local culture. For instance, when staying in a farm homestay, you can pick fresh vegetables and savor farm-to-table recipes prepared in local fashion.

  • Supporting local communities

When staying in homestays, you’re also opting to support the local communities instead of paying your money to big hotel conglomerates. While hotels do offer comfort and convenience worth the money that you spend, homestays, especially in remote locations, cost way less and allow you to support local businesses, also making for a worthwhile experience.

  • Sustainability

Using way fewer resources than other accommodations, homestays are usually much more sustainable. Especially in remote areas where resources are harder to reach, homestays rely on sustainable practices, such as using local produce for food. So, if you prefer accommodations that use sustainable tourism practices, homestays are one of the best options for you.

Destinations with homestays across the world

Even though you can find homestays in all corners of the world, Asian countries have a more prominent and thriving culture of homestays. Below, you can check out some of the best destinations with homestays around the world:

Top destinations with homestays in the USA and Canada

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  • Los Angeles:

While the ‘City of Angels’ is known for its upscale resorts and lavish mansions, it also features several homestays that offer a budget-friendly retreat in this high-end city.

  • Hawaii:

The charming archipelago state in the Pacific Ocean boasts plenty of stunning experiences and magnificent coastal landscapes. To witness the authentic Hawaiian culture and savor local cuisine, you can opt to stay in one of its many homestays.

  • Vancouver:

From several international restaurants to vibrant festivals and events, Vancouver has something for everyone. To explore it all on a budget, you can book your stay at one of its several homestays. The comfy homestays also make for hassle-free, homelike retreats away from home.

Homestays in top European cities

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  • Amsterdam:

The next time you’re in the Dutch capital, explore its buzzing food markets and witness its stunning street art. If you’re on a budget, you can find plenty of cheap restaurants for eating out. Moreover, you can also sample some traditional food while staying in its cozy homestays.

  • Barcelona:

Featuring iconic, famous landmarks and bustling markets, Barcelona is a stunning urban paradise. While staying in one of its charming and comfy homestays, you can explore its rich history and savor authentic Spanish and Mediterranean cuisines.

  • London:

The next time you visit the cosmopolitan UK capital, save your bucks on lodgings by staying in a homestay and instead spend it on having as many experiences as you can. When in the city, you can sample a range of cuisines from around the world or eat at one of its charming rooftop restaurants.

  • Reykjavik:

With several campsites right in the city, the capital of Iceland is perfect for both nature lovers and outdoorsy travelers. If you’re planning a getaway to Reykjavik, you can have a budget-friendly stay in one of its many homestays.

Top destinations with homestays in India

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  • Goa:

The former Portuguese colony in India boasts magnificent beaches and offers succulent seafood. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly getaway, you can book one of the many homestays in North Goa and the rest of the state. For a quieter retreat amidst lush greenery, choose any of the homestays in South Goa.

  • Andaman & Nicobar Islands:

On this group of islands in the Bay of Bengal, you can enjoy a range of attractions and activities, including limestone caves and scuba diving. For budget travelers, it also boasts several homestays that make for cozy vacations.

  • Manali:

The gorgeous hill town in the lower Himalayas boasts magnificent landscapes and a range of outdoor adventures. When planning your itinerary to Manali, save some bucks by booking a homestay. During your retreat, you can spend your saved money eating out in riverside cafes and going on outdoor adventures.

Top destinations with homestays in Malaysia

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  • Malacca:

Boasting a rich history and vibrant night markets, Malacca is a charming urban package. When staying in one of its cozy homestays, you can go cafe-hopping or explore the local art scene in the city.

  • Penang:

Whether you’re on Penang Island or mainland Penang, you can find a range of attractions and things to do in the state. For a homelike and budget-friendly stay, the state also features several homestays. If you’re going to stay in the state capital, you can find various homestays in George Town as well.

  • Kuala Lumpur:

Experience the best of Malaysian culture by staying in one of the top homestays in its capital city. Kuala Lumpur boasts iconic, famous buildings, lively night markets, and delectable street food, offering tourists an outstanding urban experience.

Other destinations with homestays in Asia

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  • Hanoi:

When in the gorgeous Vietnamese capital, you can embark on several food tours and enjoy the cheapest beer in the world. Moreover, if you book a stay in one of its homestays, you can have more authentic experiences and get to know the localities and the Vietnamese culture better.

  • Bali:

The gorgeous and lush green island state of Indonesia is one of the most popular tourist attractions in southeast Asia. For a traditional experience, you can stop by one of its warungs or explore its lively night markets. You can also stay in any of its snug and charming homestays and have a budget-friendly retreat.

  • Kyoto:

Considered one of the most gorgeous cities in Japan, Kyoto is known for its magnificent Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines, and lush gardens. Amidst its top-class and upscale Michelin-star restaurants, it also features several homestays that make for a budget-friendly retreat.

Practices to follow before booking your homestay

If it’s your first time booking a homestay, check out a few practices that you can follow to ensure a smoother and better experience:

  • Check reviews and ratings

To make sure that you’re booking the best homestay, go through the reviews and ratings of the options that are available. The reviews can also tell you about the little details that you can expect during your stay from a guest’s perspective, making you better prepared for your retreat.

  • Reach out to the host

If you have any queries regarding your stay, make sure to reach out to the host using the platform that you’ve chosen to make the booking. You can also always check with the host if you can’t find enough information on the property page.

  • Check the house rules

To check what you can or cannot do during your stay, make sure to go through the house rules. House rules can also answer specific questions, such as those about the pet policy, access to spaces and amenities, and quiet hours, if any.

Have a memorable stay in a home-like accommodation

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In the tourists’ bid to experience the local culture and support local communities, homestays have been regaining popularity over the years, and rightly so. Homestays come with their own perks and benefits, one of the best of which is offering an authentic local experience. So, whether you’re short on budget, traveling to a remote destination, or want to immerse yourself in the local culture, don’t hesitate to book a homestay. It will definitely make for a memorable and unique travel experience.

Homestays in the Americas

Homestays in India

Homestays in Malaysia

Homestays in Indonesia

Homestays in other Asian countries

Homestays in Europe

Other homestays across the world

FAQ's about Homestays

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