Homestays offer unique and intimate accommodation experiences for long and short-term travelers. Exchange students, leisure travelers, and world explorers can all benefit from choosing a homestay over a hotel or Airbnb. Homestays are widely regarded as a cheaper, more exciting alternative to more traditional accommodation options.
Before choosing a homestay for your next adventure, it’s important to understand the tricks of the trade. While homestays are becoming increasingly popular worldwide, everyone’s experience is different. Ultimately, educating yourself can help maximize your experience.
This article will offer a myriad of insights, tips, and advice for travelers and potential homestay hosts. Here’s what you need to know!
Homestay Tips for Travelers
Homestays create an opportunity for strangers from different cultures to form intimate friendships. In many cases, these friendships can create a bond that lasts for years.
While this can be a beautiful side effect of choosing a homestay, there is no guarantee that travelers and hosts feel that sort of connection. That’s why it’s so important to take the time to understand the homestay process before making a commitment.
Here are some homestay tips travelers should consider before choosing a host.
Finding Your First Homestay Host
Some travelers choose a homestay because it is often the cheaper option. Others choose them because they want to learn more about a new culture and practice speaking a new language.
Whatever the reason, it’s crucial to remember that you are a guest in someone else’s home. So, here is what experienced homestay guests have said you should do before choosing a host.
- Take the Time to Fill Out Your Online Profile: To be matched with a good host, be sure to show them who you are. While some potential homestayers want to skip this step and reach out directly to hosts, this may cause problems in the long run. Not having a fully formed profile may cause hosts to reject you for someone with a detailed page prematurely.
- Do Your Research Before Contacting a Host: Choosing a homestay can be very exciting. However, experienced homestayers say not to let that excitement get the best of you. Before reaching out to a host, be sure to read what previous guests have to say. Failing to read comments or reviews may lead to a negative experience.
- Ask Questions, and Don’t Settle: Where you spend your time and who you spend your time with is essential to your travel experience. Be sure to ask potential hosts plenty of questions before making your choice. While you might be afraid of irritating a potential host, your questions will help ensure that you are a good match. Settling for the first person that accepts you may not be the wisest decision.
How to Ensure a Great Homestay Experience
A great homestay experience is all about understanding interpersonal dynamics. Here are some important details to consider when entering a host’s home.
- Pay Attention to Social Cues and Respect Boundaries: While it may not always be easy to read someone's body language, it’s best to err on the side of caution. When in a host's home, be friendly and social, but be sure to respect their privacy. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you are unsure what your host’s boundaries are. It may take a few days or weeks to find a balance, which is why communication is so important.
- Be Flexible, Curious, and Open-Minded: If you are staying with a host in another country, it’s possible that your host lives a very different lifestyle. Routines, food choices, and religious customs may be much different than you're used to. Be sure to be respectful, humble, and flexible to this change of pace.
- Remember That It’s Not Your Home: Even if a host tells you to “make yourself at home,” remember that you are still a guest. While you may be welcome to common areas in the house, try not to overtake the space. This may cause uncomfortable conversations or resentment over time.
- Be Honest Before, During, and After Your Homestay Experience: Honest feedback is vital to the homestay process. This includes leaving a detailed review after the experience is over. Feedback can help the host in the long run and educate potential guests in the future.
Tips New Homestay Hosts Should Know
To have a positive homestay experience, hosts also need to be flexible and open. Here are a few tips homestay hosts should know before opening their homes.
- Make Your Guests Feel at Home from the Start: When it comes to homestay hosting, first impressions are really important. Guests may have traveled a long way, and they may be nervous or exhausted. Welcoming a guest with open arms is a great way to ensure a positive homestay experience.
- Thoroughly Clean the House Before Your Guest Arrives: One way to make guests feel cared for is to have a clean and fresh space waiting for them. Arriving in a clean room can help guests feel safe to relax and unwind.
- Research Your Guests' Culture Before They Arrive: Knowing a bit about where your guest comes from can open the door to connection. If you and the guest both take the time to learn about the other’s background, that can create a long-lasting bond over time.
StudentRoomStay: Find the Homestay You’re Looking for Today
Are you looking for a homestay abroad? StudentRoomStay is here to help!
At StudentRoomStay, our mission is to help students and travelers find a host family that meets their needs. Whether you’re looking to stay with a host family, a group placement, or off-campus housing, StudentRoomStay has you covered!
Let StudentRoomStay help you find your home away from home. Explore our homestay options and find a host family today!