5 reasons why you should stay at homestays during your next trip

More and more travellers are looking for more authentic tourism experiences, and where better to experience true local culture than in people’s homes? Homestays are becoming a popular form of hospitality and lodging where travellers sleep in the home of a local family and for a moment become part of their lifestyle and daily work activities.

When we were travelling Sri Lanka a few years ago, one of the highlights of the trip was spending a few nights at a homestay. For a short time, we were part of a Sri Lankan family where we were included in the family and learned about their culture and way of life!

This blog describes five main reasons why you should stay at homestays during your next trip!

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1. Connect with locals

When you stay in a family home, you’ll have an experience you won’t have in any other accommodation. You’ll get to know regular, genuine locals personally and get to stay with them too. Staying in a homestay is a way to really experience the destination instead of only visiting.

During your stay you’ll learn all about the local cultures and customs you can’t find in standard travel guides. By experiencing them first-hand you will be given insight into local life that is unique, interesting and groundbreaking. For a few days you will become part of their family, and trust me, this is the best way to broaden your horizon and to truly experience the country you are visiting.

2. Authentic experience

By staying in a homestay, you have the chance to experience the daily activities of your hosts. You no longer have to que up to see the inside of family homes or have to pay high touristy fees to experience local celebrations. It makes sure you interact with the family and learn about their culture and habits, and it gives you the chance to familiarise yourself with local customs!

During our first homestay experience we were staying with a local family with two younger daughters who asked me if I wanted to try on a traditional Sri Lankan dress. For the next hour I was treated like a doll when they put on the dress and did my hair. I felt like a bride being prepped for her big day the Sri Lankan way and it was a wonderful experience.

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3. The best local food

There is a high chance your hosts will be able to cook traditional local dishes like no other. When staying with a family you personally witness the cooking of the most delicious local dishes. Your hosts will take you to the market where you’ll have a personal guide explaining all the foreign products.

Back in the homestay you can help your host cook dinner and not only will you learn how to do this as home yourself, you can now easily connect with your host when doing this together. A homestay provides the possibility to experience the best local dishes cooked with tradition and love and then shared

4. Direct positive impact

Staying in homestays is a great way to directly contribute to local families. There were about 1.2 billion travellers around the world last year, but their spent money often leaks back to the Western economies. [See my other blog the dependency of Western capital].

With a homestay, you know where your money is going as the family directly receives your payment. By sleeping in people’s homes, the family or even a whole community directly benefits. The family in Sri Lanka we stayed at used the money to send their daughters to school. It is amazing to see what your money can do locally, while we had the best time staying there. Win-win!

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5. Off the beaten tracks

Many homestay hosts are more than happy to show you around their local area, which allows you to get off the beaten tracks, avoid large tourist groups and experience the destination like a local. Your host will know everything about their area, and with their insider tips and connections you will have the most authentic local experience.

In Sri Lanka, our hosts’ son took us out on a day trip with his tuk-tuk, which we were allowed to drive ourselves. During the day, we had the opportunity to go wherever we wanted, and we had a great time talking to our host along the way. We avoided the larger touristy temples and went to places where we could enjoy Sri Lanka’s finest in a quieter atmosphere.

Go for the most authentic local experience

Eager to try it yourself now? Homestays are not only for the adventurous traveller. Homestays are a fun experience for everyone, whether you are travelling with friends, partner or with children!

Not only will you have the best local experience you can get, you’ll also start to appreciate your own wealth. When staying in a homestay when sharing your bathroom with many frogs (we did!) you will realise how clean and luxurious your bathroom is at home.

Have you ever stayed in a homestay? Did you enjoy the local experience or is this not for you?

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