One of the important aspects of travel that can really devour the money in your wallet is paying for accommodations. Most travellers, unless they do intend to pitch a tent, opt to stay in hotels and resorts where they can bask in comfort. But even the most budget-friendly hospitality establishment can cost you more than you are supposed to shell out. Consider this: you may be paying at least GBP 20 or 40 each night in a comfortable hotel. But as a traveller, you’re not going to stay there all day anyway. You’ll be out there, visiting the region’s attractions.
Even if the rate is appears to be justified because it includes the use of the accommodation’s facilities, you’re still at the losing end; are you really going to swim all day in the hotel’s swimming pool? Or spend hours in the pool? Or take all your meals in their restaurant?
A cheaper way is to go for ‘homestays’. Homestay is an alternative form of acquiring accommodation that involves staying or renting a room in a local family’s room. The traveller may even have dinner together with the host’s family members, help in household chores, or go out with the family. Now, the idea of having a complete stranger in someone else’s home and allowing him to join personal activities may be quite radical, but several countries are now encouraging both residents and travellers to try out homestays. Such form of accommodation is a win-win situation for both parties: the tourist has a place to stay without having to spend a lot while the host earns income.
However, the benefits do not stop there. The traveller learns and takes part in the local lifestyle and culture. He can improve his ability to speak and understand the local dialect. How? Well, through his day-to-day interaction with the host, of course. The host is also take an ideal guide, considering that he has lived in the region all his life and knows the ins and outs of such place, the local culture and language, and everything else the traveller needs know. For both parties, sharing cultures and information is a rich and rewarding experience. Now, that is certainly more than a value-for-your-money deal, isn’t it?
Cultural differences between the traveller and the host are normal and can be a source of contention. Thus, during the “booking” stage, both parties may sign a written agreement. The agreement should outline what is expected of the traveller such as but not limited to:
- Rules on the use of the Internet, TV, or phone
- Rules on drinking, smoking, and inviting guests
- Rules on meals
Are you now tempted to stay at someone else’s home in another corner of the globe? Then log on to the Internet and check homestay websites to find residents and families who are eager to take you in. I guarantee you, you are in for a REAL traveller’s experience.