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What is a homestay? Unlocking the local experience with Worldpackers

Explore the world of travel with us as we delve into 'What is a Homestay?', its benefits, how it works, and tips for an amazing stay.



Ever wondered what is a homestay? Picture this: you're exploring an unfamiliar city, but instead of staying in a sterile hotel room, you're sharing meals and stories with a local family. 

It's not just about having an affordable place to sleep—it’s about cultural immersion and genuine connections.

Your hosts are eager to share their world with you—local cuisine at the dinner table, secret spots off the tourist trail—and help guide your journey. 

It transforms more than just staying; it's about truly living and experiencing life like a local. Keep reading to discover what a homestay is and everything you need to know about it

What is a homestay?

What is a homestay

Staying with a local family while you travel is what's known as a homestay. But it's more than just an accommodation option. It’s about making friends and getting immersed in the culture of the place.

In a nutshell, a homestay involves spending time living with host families who open their homes to travelers from around the world. 

These can be individuals or even entire families wanting to share their home and lifestyle with guests seeking genuine travel experiences. This immersive experience allows one to gain valuable insights into local customs

It also provides firsthand knowledge of language skills when traveling abroad to places where English isn't commonly spoken, helping to break down potential language barriers. 

Benefits of a homestay

What is a homestay: benefits

Now that you know what a homestay is, let's explore its advantages. Homestays offer a myriad of benefits for travelers, whether they're on vacation, relocating, learning a language, or seeking a long-term "home away from home." Let's delve into these advantages:

Genuine travel experience

Homestays offer more than just affordable accommodation; they provide real experiences that typical tourist trails miss. 

Staying with a local family allows guests to delve deep into the local culture and lifestyle. Plus, hosts often have unique interests and hobbies, adding another layer of richness to your journey.

It lets you taste homemade meals not found on city break menus while gaining insights about hidden gems around town from people who know it best.

Building relationships

Staying with a host family offers a unique opportunity for travelers to forge lasting relationships and friendships with locals, significantly enhancing their overall travel experience. 

Local knowledge

Your homestay hosts serve as living guidebooks brimming with knowledge about their locale. 

From advising on lesser-known attractions off the beaten path to helping navigate currency exchange rates or language barriers - they've got you covered.

Their recommendations are far more personalized than any internet browser could give. 

They'll tell tales behind historic sites, share their favorite eateries away from crowded hotspots and even teach some phrases in the foreign language spoken locally.


Homestays can be more budget-friendly than hotels or serviced apartments, making them an excellent choice for travelers seeking affordable long-term accommodation.

Language learning opportunities

For those looking to improve their language skills, homestays are an excellent option. 

Living with native speakers allows for constant language practice and faster language acquisition.

Safe and secure

Homestays are typically safer and more secure than some other forms of accommodation, as travelers are living with a local family who can provide guidance and support.

How to choose a homestay

What is a homestay: how to choose

Selecting the right homestay is a crucial decision that can greatly influence your travel experience. To help you make an informed choice, consider the following factors when deciding on a homestay:

  • Research the location: Determine where you want to stay. Consider factors like proximity to attractions, public transportation, and safety.
  • Understand your goals: Define your travel goals. Are you looking for cultural immersion, language learning, or a comfortable place to stay?
  • Read reviews and ratings: Check online reviews and ratings from previous guests. This can provide insights into the host's hospitality and the condition of the property.
  • Evaluate host profiles: Review the profiles of potential hosts. Look for details about their family, interests, and expectations from guests.
  • Communicate with hosts: Reach out to potential hosts with questions about the homestay. Clear communication is essential to ensure expectations align.
  • Check amenities: Consider the amenities offered, such as Wi-Fi, meals, laundry facilities, and private or shared accommodations.
  • Cultural compatibility: Assess whether the host family's lifestyle and values align with your own. This can contribute to a more harmonious experience.
  • House rules and expectations: Understand the house rules and expectations set by the host, including any curfews, guest policies, or specific responsibilities.
  • Trust your instincts: Ultimately, trust your instincts. If something doesn't feel right or if you have doubts about a particular homestay, consider other options.

Stay in a homestay for free using Worldpackers

What is a homestay: volunteer

You might be asking, "What's the secret sauce that lets me stay at homestays without breaking my bank?" Well, let us introduce you to Worldpackers, your golden ticket to free homestays.

Understanding work exchange opportunities

The magic behind this idea is simple: work exchange. You offer some of your skills and time helping out around the place and voila! Your accommodation costs are covered.

No matter if it’s gardening, teaching languages or social media marketing – there’s a chance someone needs exactly what you can give. 

Remember though- as amazing as this sounds, Worldpackers isn’t just a free ticket to travel. It’s about cultural exchange and making connections with your hosts. This means spending time getting to know them, their routines and even learning from them.

Note: The type of work required varies greatly depending on the host family but generally includes light tasks like housekeeping or cooking meals.

Exploring homestays through Worldpackers

A world full of options awaits as you dive into the diversity offered by WorldPackers' platform. Whether it's living with locals in a quaint Italian village or experiencing life off-grid on an organic farm in Australia - these opportunities abound.

In addition to international travel experiences, there are also countless local options available right within our own country. Perfect for those who want to explore more domestically while keeping their wallets happy.

Are you curious about the homestay opportunities you can find with Worldpackers? Here's a glimpse of 10 exciting opportunities around the world:

1. United States

Immerse yourself in American culture by staying with a host family in the heart of the U.S. Spend your time assisting with daily tasks and looking after their dogs while living with a family in Seattle. 

Seattle is a wonderful city to use as a base for exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The family resides in the University District, which is conveniently within walking distance of parks, grocery stores, and public transportation.

The exchange consists of 16 hours of volunteering per week in exchange for accommodation and all mealsCheck more details here.

What is a homestay: U.S.

2. India

Experience India's rich and diverse culture through a homestay with the Bihar Project. The project's primary objective is the development of an affordable, sustainable housing prototype in a town dealing with waste management and a rapidly expanding population.

In this role, participants have the opportunity to contribute their skills in childcare, animal care, gardening, and maintenance. 

The exchange program involves 20 hours of work per week in exchange for accommodation and meals. For more details, click here.

3. Australia

Explore the Land Down Under while living with an Australian host family. 

If you're interested in renewable energy, water conservation, and sustainability in general, consider staying with that family that resides in the heart of the Australian rainforest

There, you can assist with maintenance, construction, and painting. The exchange involves 25 hours of volunteering per week in exchange for accommodation and all mealsCheck more details here.

4. United Kingdom

Discover British traditions and way of life through a UK homestay. Volunteer in Family Home with many dogs and a productive garden. 

Their home is a wonderful place to reside as part of their family. They spend ample time together, both working and socializing. 

For dog enthusiasts, their home is a paradise, and for those who cherish the countryside, it's a perfect match. If one enjoys staying active and engaged, their home is an excellent fit.

The exchange involves 25 hours of volunteering per week in exchange for accommodation and all meals. For more details, click here.

5. Canada

Enjoy the beauty of Canada and connect with Canadian hosts. Assist with household tasks while living in a rural home situated on a small lake with a Canadian family. 

They also have a diverse array of animals, including pigs, chickens, dogs, cats, and bunnies, making a love for animals a crucial quality for anyone interested in becoming a part of their household.

The exchange involves 18 hours of volunteering per week in exchange for accommodation and all mealsCheck more details here.

6. Mexico

How about living in the heart of Puebla, Mexico, while working in a 17th-century mansion?

This homestay is located in the Historic Center of the City of Puebla, a highly culturally rich area with all types of businesses, making it an ideal place to live. 

In this position, you can assist with various skills such as cooking, painting, organizing, among others. In exchange, you will receive accommodation and breakfast. Liked? Know more here.

7. Brazil

Immerse yourself in Brazilian coastal culture. Assist with various tasks in a homestay and enjoy the nature around you. 

Over there, the volunteer would have plenty of activities to enjoy during their free time, such as hiking and exploring the nearby beaches.

The exchange consists of 25 hours of volunteering per week, and you receive accommodation, breakfast, and free hiking tours. For more details, click here.

7. Thailand

Experience an authentic immersion in Thai culture. Teach English to children and live life with a Thai family. 

This unique position offers an immersive experience for learning the Thai language, immersing in the local culture with monks, and assisting others in English empowerment within a community context. 

Furthermore, it provides an affordable and joyful way to travel and gain new experiences, conveniently located near Donmuang Airport for day trips to cultural destinations like Bangkok, Prathumthani, and Ayutthaya. 

In this opportunity, you can contribute with various skills such as teaching English, assisting with social media, and gardening for two hours a day. In return, you will receive accommodation and meals, in exchange for a fee to support the project. Check more details here.

What is a homestay: Thailand

8. Guatemala

Experience a tropical paradise in Guatemala by living in a homestay while assisting at a local bar. 

It's a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture and beauty of this stunning destination.

In this position, you'll assist at the bar and reception for 30 hours a week, and in return, you'll receive accommodation as well as discounts on parties and drinks.

Check for more details here, or explore other opportunities in Latin America.

What is a homestay: Guatemala

9. Kenya

Dive into African culture and hospitality through homestays in different African nations. How about a homestay where you can help at a children's shelter in Kenya? 

If you are seeking a tranquil place abundant with natural beauty, Upendo Face Orphanage is an ideal choice for you. They are situated in a rural village, surrounded by nature and immersed in Maasai culture.

In this environment, you can assist with various tasks, including animal care, teaching English, childcare, and more. In return, you will receive accommodations and mealsCheck for more details here.

What is a homestay: Africa

Ready to experience a homestay?

Now that you know what a homestay is and how it works, what do you think about experiencing it?

It's more than just an accommodation option. It’s about cultural immersion and making friends with locals. Your hosts are your guides, helping you navigate the local area while sharing their unique interests and insider knowledge. 

But it doesn't end there! You also get to experience life as they do, away from the tourist trail, and pick up some foreign language skills along the way.

Embrace this affordable accommodation alternative! Subscribe to the Worldpackers Community for free and start saving your favorite volunteer positions until you are ready to get verified.

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