Homestay Holidays are becoming more and more popular these days especially in countries within the Asia and Oceania region. In Malaysia, Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Australia and many other countries, homestays for tourists are more than just an alternative.
What is Homestay?
The homestay – in the context of tourism – allows the tourist (or family) to rent a room or the whole house from a local family in the visiting country. This helps the visitors understand the local culture, lifestyle, food, custom and improve in the local language etc. (There’s another type of homestay in the context of education abroad. This student homestay aspect is not in the scope of this article)
In order for the home-stay system to work, the modalities regarding the contract between the host and the guest must be established in advance. This mainly includes the facilities (meals, recreation, family activities, Internet-phone usage, entertainment policy, pets policy and so on) that can be consumed by the guest, when to make payment, smoking rules etc.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Homestays
The main advantage of homestay is that it’s really like a home away from home as you get to stay with the host’s family. You will never feel like a stranger in an alien land if you have a few friendly faces out there.
The home stay host and his family can really help you to get accustomed with the new land, its rules and customs and that’s a big plus to hear and learn it directly from the local people than reading books etc.
Cost-wise most homestays are a lot cheaper than the hotel accommodation and it can get very cheap and affordable for long stays. Further, most homestays are in good residential areas than commercial areas of main streets. This means more peaceful and pollution free life.
In a homestay environment you hardly miss celebrating your festivals. Most hosts like to celebrate the festive activities with their guests and that’s a major positive as well.
However, homestays can have certain disadvantages too. Sometimes, there can be privacy issues when the host or his family members do not know where to draw the line. This is particularly an issue in certain Asian countries.
Very rarely there have been issues of cheating (or not respecting the contract) reported but that’s why you have to read the homestay online reviews etc to find the right homestay for you. Travel review sites such as Tripadvisor has so many travelers writing reviews on homestays. Browse such sites to pick your homestay for the next overseas holiday.