Homestay.com Guest 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 someone 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 will 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.
When a guest books a homestay, they get 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 the independent leisure traveller or tourist who wants 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 guest often find a host with similar interests which further complements the homestay experience.
What is a homestay?
A homestay provides an opportunity to stay with a local family when travelling 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 independent adult leisure travellers, gap year travellers, university students, interns, volunteers and language students and our bookings so far support this. Homestays are a relatively new but growing concept for the independent leisure traveller and are ideal 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, 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.
I'm a Homestaybooking guest. What does this mean for me?
It means a bigger and stronger global homestay community, driving more bookings and offering more choice.
For now though it’s business as usual while we prepare for the changes, which may take some weeks to complete. During that time, both Homestaybooking.com and Homestay.com will continue to operate completely separately and there will be no immediate change to your day-to-day relationship with the websites.
We’ll keep you regularly informed of progress and rest assured we are committed to making the transition as easy as possible for everyone.
Do I need to manage two accounts, one for HomestayBooking.com and one for Homestay.com?
Yes, initially you will need to manage two accounts until we move all guest accounts over to Homestay.com. We’ll keep you regularly informed of progress and rest assured we are committed to making the transition as easy as possible for everyone.
Do I need to create an account on Homestay.com?
You don’t need to create an account on Homestay.com, we will move your account over to Homestay.com. This may take a few weeks to happen. We’ll keep you regularly informed of progress and rest assured we are committed to making the transition as easy as possible for everyone.
I have an upcoming booking that I did on Homestaybooking.com. Is my booking still valid?
Yes. Bookings made on Homestaybooking.com for upcoming trips are not affected by the changes. Hosts will honour all bookings as usual.
Is the booking process the same on Homestay.com and HomestayBooking.com?
Yes, both websites have a similar booking process. Guests send a request with their specific travel dates to a host to check availability. Once the host replies and confirms they are available, the guest needs to complete their booking online. Guests pay a booking fee when they book online to secure their booking.
How do guests book on Homestay.com?
Guests pay 15% of the total booking amount when they book online as a booking fee to secure their booking. This is retained by Homestay.com. Hosts receive the balance of the total booking amount directly from their guest either on arrival or in advance by arrangement.
Do I need to agree new Terms and Conditions?
Yes. When your account moves from HomestayBooking.com to Homestay.com, we’ll ask you to agree to new Terms and Conditions.
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.
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.
Once approved, the Local Partner continues to have a relationship with the host, giving them assurance of their support on the ground. 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.
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.
Why is there a non booking period?
Given that homestays are run by local individuals, there is a non-booking period of three days from any given date. This is to give a host adequate notice to prepare your room.
How is my booking confirmed?
After you have received notification that the host is available for your chosen dates, you can enter your own details and complete the booking process. Your booking is confirmed immediately by email with a unique booking reference number. You’ll also see the booking confirmation on screen which you can print out with your host’s full contact details including their address, contact telephone number and email address.
If the homestay you have booked is matched to a Local Partner, your booking confirmation will also include contact details for the homestay’s local partner, who has approved the host and their home. You can contact them directly for immediate support should you have any issues that you cannot resolve directly with your host. However we encourage that you firstly liaise directly with your host and try to resolve any issues you may have.
If your booking is not connected to a Local Partner but is direct with Homestay.com, your booking confirmation will include the contact details for Homestay.com. You can contact them directly for immediate support should you have any issues that you cannot resolve directly with your host. However we encourage that you firstly liaise directly with your host and try to resolve any issues you may have.
How do I pay?
To secure your booking with the homestay, you are required to pay a 15% non-refundable online booking fee of the total booking price. The booking fee is automatically calculated when you book online and included in the booking payment information.
You have a choice of payment methods for paying the booking fee; Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Maestro, Laser, JCB or PayPal.
You pay the balance owing directly to your host, either on arrival or in advance. Your host will let you know how they want you to pay them the balance when the booking has been confirmed. What currency do I pay in? When making a booking, the online booking fee is currently charged in either Eur€, GB£ or US$. You can pay the outstanding balance to your host in the host’s local currency.
How do you store my payment card details?
All credit card or other payment information is transmitted using SSL 256-bit encryption. All payment information details, including credit card numbers and bank details are stored and encrypted in a PCI compliant data centre. Homestay Technologies Limited do not store credit card details on our servers.
Why is the price on the booking page different to the price on the search results?
Prices shown in the search results list are based on the number of people sharing a room and do not take into account your specific criteria. To get the most accurate rate, you need to enter your travel dates and number of guests on the booking page. It will show you the total price per room and bed configuration based on the details you've entered. Some hosts have different prices in their calendar for certain days of the year, like weekends, seasons or holidays. The exact price breakdown will be available before you click ‘Book Now’. You will also see the booking fee amount, which is payable immediately, and the balance amount that you’ll pay directly to your host.
What does the price include?
Can I book and pay for meals on Homestay.com e.g. Half board, packed lunch, evening meal?
Not at the moment. All meals apart from an optional complimentary ‘light breakfast’ will incur an additional cost. Meals and any additional payment should be arranged directly with your host.
Are towels included in the price?
You will need to check this directly with your host. You can do this via the guest-host messaging system.
Is there a separate charge for self catering?
This is at the discretion of your host and you should check with your host prior to booking. You can do this via the messaging system. Any additional payment should be arranged directly with your host.
Is there a separate charge for laundry?
This is at the discretion of your host and you should check with your host prior to booking. You can do this via the messaging system. . Any additional payment should be arranged directly with your host.
Will my host organise language classes for me?
Organisation of language classes is at the discretion of the individual host. You can ask them after you have made the booking or pre booking via the messaging system. Any additional payment should be arranged directly with your host.
Do all homestays have wireless internet?
No but many do. You can filter by homestays that have wireless internet if you only want to view homestays with wireless internet.
Can I make an appointment to view a room in a homestay before I book it?
Unfortunately not. As with other global accommodation booking websites, bookings are made based on the host profile. All host profiles contain detailed descriptions of the homestay including pictures of each guest bedroom. You can however engage with the host on the messaging system or when requesting dates with them if you have any specific queries that are not covered in the host profile.
How can I find out how accessible a homestay is to a particular airport?
You can ask the host pre booking via the guest-host messaging system, when making a or email them after your booking is confirmed.
Can I bring my own pet?
This is at the discretion of each individual host and should be confirmed before you make a booking.
Can I ask a host for a discount prior to booking?
You can contact a host prior to booking via the guest-host messaging system but it is at the discretion of the host as to whether they update their room rates for your particular period of travel. Any host who accommodates long-term bookings is encouraged to set up seasonal rates and promotional prices for guests who book for a week or a month or more.
Who is responsible for organising my travel visa?
What information will be shared about me with a host?
Once a booking is confirmed, the host will receive details of the guest name(s), nationality, gender and age. They will also receive an email address and contact telephone number for the lead guest. Guests are not required to provide a photo at the time of booking but we encourage you to communicate with your host by email prior to your arrival.
Can I cancel a booking?
Yes. You can cancel a booking prior to arrival however please note, as per the terms and conditions you agree to on booking, the 15% online booking fee of the total booking price is non-refundable. In exceptional circumstances we will consider a refund of this booking fee, this is completely at the discretion of Homestay.com. To cancel a booking, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you've paid any or all of the balance owing for the booking directly to the host family in advance of your arrival, and you then cancel the booking at least 7 days before the arrival time and date, the host family will refund any money they've received from you immediately. If you've paid any or all of the balance amount for the booking directly to the host family in advance of your arrival, and then cancel the booking less than 7 days before the arrival time and date, you will not be entitled to a refund of any money you've already paid directly to the host family.
What if the host cancels my booking?
In the unlikely event that the host you've booked to stay with needs to cancel, don’t worry, the Homestay.com team or one of our Local Partners will contact you and find you an alternative, available host family of similar standard, type and location. Where the host cancels your booking we will refund your booking fee paid online.
What if I can’t find the destination I want?
Watch this space… we have lots more homestays around the world coming soon!
How do I know my host is real?
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% non-refundable 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. Documentation gives interested guests peace of mind and security when choosing to book and stay at your homestay so we encourage you to upload documentation whilst completing your profile.
What do I do if I have an issue with my booking before it commences?
Contact Homestay.com at email@example.com
How can I prepare myself as a guest?
Read the homestay listing information carefully. Make sure you understand any house rules and have checked that the homestay has the amenities you require. Make contact with your host by email before you arrive to introduce yourself, advise an estimated time of arrival and make sure you have all the information you require to get there. You will need to arrange how to pay the balance directly to your host. Show your host photo ID on arrival at their homestay. Print and bring a copy of the booking confirmation with you too. Send your host details for any other people in your booking (and pets if appropriate) who will be arriving with you to their home.
What should I do if I have a problem during my stay?
If you have any problems during your stay, we encourage you to first try to resolve them directly with your host. If, however, you are unable to resolve the issue with your host, you can contact either the Local Partner connected to the host or Homestay.com for further support. You will find contact details, including telephone and email, for the Local Partner and Homestay.com on the booking confirmation we send to you. What should I do if I wish to extend my stay with my host? You will need to check your host’s availability and create a new online booking through Homestay.com.
What should I do if I wish to shorten my stay?
Your host may not be able to get another booking at short notice so it is totally at the discretion of your host as to whether they refund you the days you wish to shorten your stay by.
Can I write a review of my homestay experience?
We would love to hear your feedback on your homestay experience and see any photos you have! A day after you check out, we will email you to ask you to review your stay and rate it on a scale of 1 to 5. This review will then be posted on the website in the host's profile page. You can email us with any other feedback to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com.