Rentsifu App Intro - Booking Rental House Homestay, Hostel, Hotel, Travel Room
How to Book a Travel Homestay
A travel homestay is a great way to save money and immerse yourself in local culture. Choosing a homestay instead of a hotel means you will have expanded opportunities to experience your travel destination from a local perspective. Before booking a travel homestay, make sure you are utilizing a reputable agency, have contacted the host’s references, and have asked the host important questions about the homestay.
Choosing the Right Travel Homestay
Utilize a reputable agency.Your best bet for a safe and successful travel homestay is to book it through a reputable agency, company, or website. You should choose an agency that has been booking homestays in your destination for a considerable period of time and has high ratings from customers. Reputable resources for booking travel homestays include:
Try the local tourism board.If you can’t find information on a homestay in your travel destination from a reputable homestay resource, you can try contacting the local tourism board or chamber of commerce. These entities will often have lists of homestays in the region, or may be able to connect you to families and individuals offering homestays in your destination.
Read online reviews.If you are booking your travel homestay through a reputable online agency or company, read online reviews of your host. Many sites, like airbnb.com, have built-in review systems that allow you to read reviews of your potential hosts. Pay attention to bad reviews, even if there is only one of them.
Ask for references before booking.You should always ask for references from other travelers before booking a homestay. If the booking agency does not have a built-in review system, ask for contact information of former guests and contact them yourself. Do not rely on the agency to send you written reviews from former guests. Make sure you contact former guests yourself.
Talk to friends and family.If you have friends, family, or acquaintances who have previously traveled to your destination, reach out to them. Ask them where they stayed, and if they have suggestions for you. Sometimes the best travel homestays are found by talking to those already within your networks.
Meet with your school’s study abroad department.If you are a student seeking a travel homestay, you should take advantage of resources at your school. Chances are your school has existing homestay networks in your destination of choice. They can also connect you to other students that have had successful travel homestay experiences in the region to which you will be traveling.
Arranging the Details
Ask questions about your host family.Before booking your travel homestay, you will want to have a good idea of who your hosts are and precisely who will be living in the house or on the property with you. Email your hosts or message them through your booking agent and ask:
- Who are the people who live in the house?
- How old are they?
- What languages do they speak?
- Will there be other boarders in the house or on the property?
- Who, exactly, will be there during my stay?
Ask your hosts questions about the home.The last thing you want to encounter on your excursion are accommodations that are not what you expected. Before you book your travel homestay, email your host or send them a secure message through your booking agency or site. Questions you should ask include:
- What type of shower is in the home?
- Does the shower have hot water?
- Where is the toilet located?
- What type of heat does the home have?
- Does the home have air conditioning?
- Does the home have fans?
- Are there animals on the property?
Ask about your sleeping arrangements.Before you solidify your travel plans, you will want to ask important questions about where you will be sleeping. Getting a better picture of sleeping arrangements can help you decide if a particular homestay is a good fit for you. If possible, request your hosts send you photographs. Email your hosts and ask:
- What type of room will I be sleeping in?
- Will I be sharing the room or will it be private?
- Whom will I be sharing a room with?
- What type of bed will I be sleeping on?
- Do I need to bring my own bedding?
- Is there a secure place in the room for my belongings?
Make sure your dietary needs will be met.Before you decide on a travel homestay, take the time to ask your hosts important questions about the meals you will be eating while staying with them. This is especially important if you have special needs, such as food allergies or dietary restrictions. Email your host family and ask:
- Are meals included in the homestay?
- Can specific dietary needs be accommodated?
Identify your access to phone and Internet.While you are residing at your travel homestay, it is important to identify ahead of time what your access to communication via phone and/or the Internet will be. Do not assume that there will be Wi-Fi on site simply because your host is using the Internet to book your homestay. Contact your host and ask:
- Is there Internet access in the home?
- Will I have access to a phone in the home?
- If I won’t have access to phone or Internet in the home, where is the nearest place I can access each and how would I get there from the home?
Ask your host about transportation.It’s important to know how close your potential travel homestay is to transportation. Contact your host and ask specific questions about where the homestay is located in relation to bus, train, and air transport. Questions to ask include:
- How close in the nearest bus stop?
- How far away from the home is the airport?
- Do taxis come near the residence?
- How long does it take to walk to the train or bus station?
Stay in communication with your host.After you book your travel homestay, make sure you stay in communication with your host. This is especially important in the weeks and days leading up to your arrival. You will want to make sure you have a way on contacting your host once you arrive at your travel destination in case any issues arise.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
Understand you will be a guest in someone’s home.Booking a travel homestay means you will be sleeping in the home or on the property of someone who lives in your travel destination. You might have little personal space, and will be asked to abide by the rules of the household. You might even be expected to help with cooking and cleaning tasks, depending on your arrangement.
Read contracts carefully before signing.Before you book your travel homestay, you will need to make sure you read the fine print. Read every word of all contracts. Pay specific attention to what your recourse is should you become unhappy with your homestay. If this information is not included, ask your host or agency to amend the contract and include it.
Beware of paying in advance.If possible, you should not pay the full balance of your travel homestay before arriving at your destination. This is especially important if you have not seen current photos of the dwelling or read recent reviews. Ask your host for an arrangement that allows you to pay a deposit ahead of time, and then pay the balance upon your arrival.
Make safety a priority.When you book a travel homestay, you should make sure that safety is a priority. For example, if you are a single woman, you should avoid homestays where you will be staying alone with a male host. You should also take the location and its safety into consideration. For example, you should not book a travel homestay that is too far away from public transportation or forms of communication such as telephone or Internet service.
Trust your instincts.Whether you are in the booking process, or have already arrived at your travel homestay, you must always follow your instincts. If your gut is telling you a situation is unsafe, or a homestay seems too good to be true, it probably is. Remove yourself from the situation immediately if your instincts tell you that you should.
Considering the Benefits of a Travel Homestay
Think about the financial incentive.One of the benefits of booking a travel homestay for your next trip is economic. In general, a travel homestay will be cheaper than a modern hotel room in your travel destination. The economic benefits of a travel homestay increase if you are planning a more extended stay on your next trip.
Consider cultural immersion.When you book a travel homestay, you will likely be interacting with your hosts on a regular basis. This means you will be communicating and eating with locals. This can provide opportunities to become more immersed in the local culture than is afforded by more traditional hotel lodging.
Think about language opportunities.One of the possible benefits of a travel homestay comes in the form of language. When you are living with or near local people, you will have more opportunities to learn and practice the local language. This can be especially beneficial if you plan on being in a region or a country for an extended period of time.
Don’t forget about the food!When you arrange for a travel homestay, there is a good chance you will have an opportunity to eat with your hosts. This means you will get to enjoy local food as prepared by local people, rather than food you might find in restaurants near hotels that are geared toward tourists. Some travel homestay hosts might even provide you with an opportunity to learn how to prepare local food!
Decide if a travel homestay is right for you.Travel homestays are not for every traveler. If you value privacy, anonymity, and personal space, a travel homestay might not be the best accommodation choice for you. Home stays are also not usually the best choice for those with limited travel time, as many homestays have a minimum length of stay that can range from 3 days to several weeks.
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