Recently, travellers sought a homestay – a way to engage with local communities and discover the heart of a country’s culture. Take Malaysia as an example – due to social travel networks that have become increasingly popular such as TikTok and Instagram; local travellers have a rising interest in experiential and responsible tourism.
In simple terms, they are becoming a trending topic for the views on their social media presence but still acting like decent human beings.
The homestay experience would be the answer these travellers seek – a way to gain a genuine insight into their destination.
Besides becoming a viral hit, what are the other benefits of staying in a homestay while travelling?
1. Experiencing the local life
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 stay with them. Staying in a homestay is a way to experience the destination instead of only visiting.
You’ll learn all about the local cultures and customs you can’t find in standard travel guides during your stay. 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 truly experience the country you are visiting.
2. Exploring hidden gems
Homestays allow you to get to know a destination you probably wouldn’t have explored otherwise. Not only could you find a neighbourhood, town, or village yet to feature on the tourist map, but you’ll learn about local customs and traditions, from eating habits to family routines.
Hosts will give you the scoop on the hidden highlights and unusual attractions. They might tip you off on the best place to watch the sunrise, share their favourite cosy café, or help you find the city’s most astonishing bar scene.
Many homestay hosts are 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.
3. Enjoy the memorable local meals
Many hosts will rustle up a traditional meal or include breakfast in the room’s price. If you want to put your culinary skills to the test, offer to help out, and you’ll likely head home with a new recipe or two up your sleeve. You could even cook a traditional dish from your own country to share with your host, making the experience one of genuine cultural exchange.
There is a high chance your hosts will be able to cook traditional local dishes like no other. When staying with a family, you 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 at home yourself, but you can also 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. Embrace moments of a language lesson on your homestay
Hanging out with a resident means ample chance to practise your language skills. Many hosts inevitably speak English but will happily support you as you learn. This is an excellent chance for you to understand the local language better and pick up some new phrases.
If you’re on the road and trying to pick up the language along the way, you need to speak it everywhere you go. What better way to do this than staying in a local’s house when you travel? Or, if you’re a student attending a language school in another country, stay in a homestay, and you’ll get to speak the language every day with your host family.
5. Embark on providing a vital source of revenue in the countries’ economies
Staying in homestays is a great way to contribute to local families directly. About 1.2 billion travellers worldwide last year, but their spent money often leaks back to the Western economies.
You know where your money is going with a homestay as the family directly receives your payment. The family or community directly benefits by sleeping in people’s homes. It is incredible to see what your money can do locally, while we had the best time staying there. Win-win!
Have you booked your next homestay journey?
Have you ever stayed in a homestay? Did you enjoy the local experience, or is this not for you? Eager to try it yourself now? Homestays are not only for the adventurous traveller. Homestays are a fun experience for everyone, whether travelling with friends, partners, or children!
You will have the best local experience you can get, and you’ll also start to appreciate your wealth.
Originally published on IQI Global
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