Homestay Pros And Cons
When you are travelling in Asia there are lots of different options for accommodation, from hotels to hostels and guesthouses to homestay’s. We opted to stay in hotels for most of our journey, mainly because it just made more sense financially and we were working a lot whilst travelling so we needed our own privacy.
We’ve noticed a lot of controversy around homestay’s! For those that don’t know what a homestay is, it’s basically where you are a guest in someones home. You live with the owners and stay with them at their home. You can normally get your meals included for a little extra, so it’s a great way to see how the locals live and a good opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture.
We stayed in a homestay for one part of our journey in Hoi An, Vietnam. Truth be told we didn’t know it was a homestay until we arrived, we thought it was a guest house when we booked on www.booking.com but it was an experience.
So I’ve noted down some of the pro’s and con’s when it comes to staying with a family (below). Hopefully this will help you decide if it’s something that you want to do.
*Bare in mind that this is just our experience and I’m sure other homestay’s are different!
The pool view from our balcony at the homestay in Hoi An.
Pro’s to a homestay:
- Homely – I think this one speaks for itself. With a homestay you get that extra homely touch that doesn’t come with a hotel or hostel. You get to meet the family that owns the place and you can ask them lots of questions and get to know more about the local area and culture.
- More involved with the locals – Living with a local family gives you a completely different perspective on the place that you are visiting in comparison to staying in a hostel with lots of other backpackers. We ate a lot of the food that the family were eating, the wife of the Hoi An homeowner just asked what food we didn’t like and didn’t include that in our meals. It was very friendly that way and we had a few beers with the family at night along with the other guests.
- We found it to be a little cheaper – When we were searching for accommodation the homestay we booked looked amazing and very clean like it had just recently been built. Our stay entire stay only cost us £55 for the whole week, for 2 people to stay in a double room. The room we stayed in was really big, had a balcony with a pool view and air conditioning; The location was perfect, it was just outside of Hoi An; It had a swimming pool; We could use the bikes free of charge.
Blanaid exploring the streets of Hoi An.
There were quite a few positives about the place we stayed it wasn’t all bad, but here come the con’s:
- We found that staying in a family home can get a little intense – As I mentioned a little further up we didn’t realise it was a homestay that we were staying in. We thought it was a guesthouse and that the owners were just very polite however it started to get really intense really quick. The owners were constantly asking where we were going and if we wanted to go anywhere; They were knocking on our door every morning to wake us up; Every night they wanted us to sit at the pool and buy beers from them, they turned quite sour one night when Jade brought out a bottle whiskey that we bought from elsewhere; Another guest rented a scooter from someone else and the owner got quite angry about this; Every morning at breakfast the wife of the owner would stand over us whilst we were eating which got a little uncomfortable; It literally felt like we were living at home with parents.
So to sum it up I’m sure not all homestay’s are this intense and also we hadn’t done our research correctly. The family was quite nice to begin with but it just became way too much when we were almost sneaking out to avoid being interrogated! But there you go, that was our experience. Unfortunately I don’t think homestay’s are really for us, we just enjoy our independence too much.