If you're toying with the idea of staying in a homestay, you're probably thinking to yourself 'Who exactly stays in a homestay? Is it suitable for my trip?'. Homestays suit all types of travellers.
You can't go to Berlin and not get your picture taken at the Brandenburg Gate, or Kuala Lumpur without seeing the Petronas Towers, and making your way to Dublin and not going to Temple Bar is simply a crime. But while it's great to see these iconic landmarks, I love seeing the hidden attractions too. Stay in a homestay and you'll discover these hidden gems as you're your host will know the best ones. On top of that, I like to live like a local in a city – catching public transport and going about my day like its offspring do. Stay in a homestay on a city trip and you'll get to experience this.
Moving to another country can be an overwhelming experience. On arriving you're in unfamiliar territory, and if you're on your own, or with your other half, it can be intimidating at first. Homestays offer that extra bit of familiarity which other forms of accommodation can't. Your host will be able to give you tips on you what parts of the city are suitable for settling down in long-term, how to find a job, what are the best things to do, what are the best ways to get around, where and what are the best restaurants and more.
To truly get an understanding of a language you really need to immerse yourself in the destination and the culture. This means going beyond attending your classes and trying to use it when ordering a slice of pizza. You need to speak it 24/7, you need to learn and experience the culture and you need to surround yourself as much as possible with native speakers of that language. A homestay provides all this and more.
A year or semester abroad when you're in college can be one of the most exciting parts of your studying years. You know you'll be going back to the place you call home, but you also know you're about to experience what it's like to live in a different country, possibly for the first time in your life. Exciting? Yes! Daunting? A little! If you want to eradicate any apprehension from your experience, staying in a homestay is a good way to achieve that.
I've been lucky enough to have travelled around the world and back again a few times. I once went around the world in 80 days. Genuinely. I stayed in many places that described themselves as a 'home from home', and while some were extremely welcoming, they weren't actually homes. Homestays are genuine homes. They're places that have families, couples and other people who are the hosts and they're waiting to welcome you to really, really offer you that home from home. So if you're in the middle of a round-the-world trip, if you're on a gap year, or you simply haven't stopped travelling for the last three years, I think you'd like a homestay.
Are you planning a trip to one of the world's top cities to run a marathon? Or maybe it's rugby you follow? Or perhaps you're in the early stages of planning a two week trip drinking Pimms and eating strawberries and cream in London's SW17 for Wimbledon? In this instance, a homestay is the perfect form of accommodation for you. Likewise, for other sporting events, conferences and even festivals – a homestay will provide those homely comforts that will be very welcome after a tiring day.
Some would argue that travelling solo is the best way to see the world. I've travelled solo and can say it's a good way to travel. There are certain things you miss though – a familiar face, sharing a meal and having a chat about your day. Stay in a homestay and your host can provide all this and more.
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