Homestay.com General FAQs

What is Homestay.com & how does it work?

Homestay.com is a global accommodation booking website for people seeking a real and genuine travel experience. It allows you to book a room in another person’s home.

What makes a homestay so unique is the people. Each homestay has a host there to welcome guests into their home and offer guidance and assistance during the stay. At the core of the homestay experience is a host being present to welcome the guest into their home. Our guests meet the people from the community they’re visiting and enjoy a genuinely local experience.

  • Bookings on Homestay.com can be made after sending a message to the host to check their availability for specific dates, and once the host confirms that they are available.
  • A host lives in every homestay listed on Homestay.com – none of our homestays are vacant properties.

Homestays offer guests the chance to live like a local and experience what life is really like in that place. They can immerse themselves in the local customs and traditions, practice speaking a foreign language and spend time with the people that really make the place what it is. With their host’s local knowledge they’ll see beyond the usual tourist trail.

A homestay is an affordable accommodation alternative. It is ideal for independent leisure travellers or tourists who want to experience the local community and culture of the place they’re visiting, people who are on a short city break and want affordable accommodation, and others who are travelling to an event (eg. London Marathon or conference, concerts, etc.). Our hosts all have their own unique interests and hobbies and guests may find a host with similar interests which further complements their homestay experience.

What is a homestay?

A homestay provides an opportunity to stay with a local family for a fee.

A homestay is an affordable accommodation alternative. It is ideal for independent leisure travellers of all ages, interns, gap year students, students living abroad and anyone seeking a real and genuine travel experience as it allows them to experience the local community and culture of the place they’re visiting. Our hosts all have their own unique interests and hobbies and guests often find a host with similar interests which further complements the homestay experience. Hosts can help their guests find their feet in a new place, whether it’s help with local orientation or places to eat. It’s also a convenient, value-for-money way to book accommodation when attending an event or conference.

Who are our guests?

Homestays are popular among tourists, gap year travellers, university students, interns, volunteers and language students. Homestays are a relatively new but growing concept for tourists who want to experience the local community and culture of the place they’re visiting, people who are on a short city break and want affordable accommodation, and others who are travelling to an event (eg. London Marathon or conference, concerts, etc.). For leisure travellers, it opens up a world of local travel experiences, where they get to meet the people in the place they’re visiting. All our homestays have a host present.

Who are our hosts?

Hosts are what make a homestay experience so unique. They welcome guests into their home and offer guidance and help during their stay. With a host’s local knowledge, guests see beyond the usual tourist trail. Hosts can also help their guests find their feet in a new place, whether it’s help with local orientation or places to eat.

Some of our hosts are connected to a Local Partner. The Local Partner will have visited and verified the homestay and provide ongoing support to these hosts.
Other homestays are listed directly on Homestay.com with no Local Partner connection.

Our hosts vary and include young couples, retired couples, families (mother-father-children), single parent families and hosts who live alone.

Our hosts all have their own unique interests and hobbies and guests often find a host with similar interests which further complements the homestay experience. Homestay.com hosts will do what they can to make your homestay as enjoyable as possible and provide you with a local authentic experience beyond the usual tourist trail.

Do you have to be a certain age to use Homestay.com?

The site and services are intended solely for persons who are of legal age to use this website. Any access to or use of the site or services by anyone under sufficient legal age is expressly prohibited. By accessing or using the site or services you represent and warrant that you are of suitable legal age.

How do I sign up as a host?

You simply register your details with us by clicking here to sign up as a host on Homestay.com, and complete your homestay profile with information about you and your home, including some photos which potential guests can view on the site when choosing a homestay to book.

As a host you set and manage your own room rates. You will receive requests regarding your availability for specific dates from potential guests and you can confirm your availability prior to the guest making a booking online. You can view all your bookings from your own Homestaymanager account - the system where you manage your Homestay.com profile. We will do the marketing of your homestay and optimise your profile page for search engine ranking. Have a look at some existing profiles on Homestay.com to see what hosts include in their profiles.

We will do the marketing of your homestay and optimise your profile page for search engine ranking.

Why not have a look at some existing profiles on Homestay.com to get a flavour for what hosts include in their profiles?

Can anyone signup as a host?

We welcome people from anywhere in the world to sign up as a host on Homestay.com.

However, you must be 18 or older to host and if you are renting a property, we suggest you always check your rental agreement and secure your landlord’s permission if required. You need to ensure your home insurance policy covers accommodating short-term guests within your home.

How much does it cost to signup to Homestay.com?

It’s free to sign up as a host on Homestay.com.

How do you verify hosts?

Any hosts that are connected with a Local Partner are visited by them before being listed on Homestay.com. Please note, Homestay.com do not visit or verify in person any homestays listed on the Homestay.com website.

We ask that hosts confirm their email addresses and phone numbers during the signup process. We review every profile in detail before allowing the listing to appear on the website.

Hosts connected with a Local Partner are required to upload ID/Proof of Address documentation or show it to the Local Partner during the homestay visit. Hosts who are not connected to a Local Partner are not obliged to provide documentation but encouraged to upload documentation whilst completing their profile. Documentation gives interested guests peace of mind and security when choosing to book and stay in a homestay so we encourage our hosts to upload documentation completing their profile.

Please note that documentation provided by hosts is never published on Homestay.com. If you provide documentation, we will put a note on your profile indicating that you have submitted documentation and this note will be clearly visible on Homestay.com to all interested guests. We currently store documents in Amazon S3. This storage complies with the safe harbour regulations. All documents are encrypted, and only accessible with private tokens dynamically generated.

Why is documentation required by Local Partners?

Some of our Local Partners also have additional and separate demand for hosts outside of Homestay.com. Becoming a host on Homestay.com may give you an additional opportunity to connect with a Local Partner and avail of additional bookings. If this additional opportunity is available in your area, Homestay.com may connect you with a Local Partner but you will be required to submit documentation and meet the standards of approval as required by the individual Local Partner including but not limited to a homestay inspection.

How do I make a booking?

Booking a homestay is easy. Select a destination and enter your preferred dates to check availability. Browse through the listed homestays, choose the homestay and host who is most suited to your needs and who you like the most.

Review your selected homestay details and price (make sure to review the host’s house rules) and, if you’re happy, click ‘Contact Host' to send them a secure message through our messaging system to check if they are available to host you on your specific dates of travel.

By clicking 'Send Message', your request and message will be sent immediately to the host you have chosen and you need to await their email reply if they are available for your chosen dates. If the host is available, you will receive an email reply advising you to proceed and book online. You will be required to pay a 15% non-refundable online booking fee to confirm your booking immediately. You can choose to pay this 15% by Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Maestro, Laser, JCB or PayPal. Enter your payment card details and that’s it! You pay the outstanding amount directly to the host either in advance of your stay or on arrival. Your host will advise you of their preferred method of payment when the booking has been confirmed. In circumstances where the host cancels your booking, we will refund your booking fee paid online.

Who are our Local Partners?

Some but not all of our homestays are matched to Local Partners.

Homestay.com works with a number of independent local partners worldwide. Local Partners visit a host’s home to inspect and approve their homestay and give advice on how best to promote their homestay profile on Homestay.com. Once approved, the Local Partner continues to have a relationship with the host, giving them assurance of their support on the ground. They can help hosts with advice on how to create a profile, upload photos and set rates. They’re also there to help should guests need it when booking or arriving for their stay.

We choose our local partners carefully. They all have experience in dealing with leisure travellers, many of them have experience working with host families. Our partners include homestay providers, student accommodation providers, language schools, internship companies, study abroad companies and travel companies pursuing a new business opportunity.

Some of our Local Partners also have additional and separate demand for hosts outside of Homestay.com. Becoming a host on Homestay.com may give you an additional opportunity to connect with a Local Partner and avail of additional bookings. If this additional opportunity is available in your area, Homestay.com may connect you with a Local Partner but you will be required to meet the standards of approval as required by the individual Local Partner including but not limited to a homestay inspection.

What does ‘visited and verified’ mean?

Any homestay which is tagged ‘visited and verified’ on Homestay.com means it has been visited and inspected by one of our approved Local Partners. The Local Partner will have verified that the homestay exists and that the profile listed is as described. They will also have verified the host’s identification. Please note, Homestay.com do not visit or verify in person any homestays listed on the Homestay.com website.

How does Homestay.com address trust and safety?

The safety of our hosts and guests is our number one priority. Any hosts that are connected with a Local Partner are visited by them before being listed on Homestay.com. Please note, Homestay.com do not visit or verify in person any homestays listed on the Homestay.com website.

We ask that hosts confirm their email addresses and phone numbers during the signup process. We review every profile in detail before allowing the listing to appear on the website.

Our hosts’ public profile on the website will show only their first name and will not give the specific location of their home. It will show only the general area in which their home is located. Guests will only receive their host’s full name, address and contact details after they have made a confirmed booking and have paid their 15% booking fee.

We currently store documents in Amazon S3. This storage complies with the safe harbour regulations. All documents are encrypted, and only accessible with private tokens dynamically generated.

We’re here to help!

If you have a question we haven’t answered, first check the other FAQs sections or get in touch at info@homestay.com.