Social Travelling and the Modern Tourist

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Every traveller will have an idea in their mind of how they would like their travels to be, with the various goals they wish to accomplish forming the shape of the trip. No matter what kind of traveller you are, the likelihood is that you would like it to contain a social element. Whether that might be partying at night in the craziest clubs in town, going out sampling various restaurants, or perhaps spending time with locals at an event in the area. Being social adds to any travelling experience but sometimes this can cost more than you bargained for.

A new trend becoming more and more popular in recent years is the notion of homestays, whereby your accommodation is in a local family home instead of a hostel or hotel. But what are the advantages to this option as opposed to the typical hotel or hostel? Below are 5 key points to consider to see if a homestay will be for you on your next trip!

1. Complete authentic travel experience

This is a great option if you are the classic backpack style traveller looking for the full travel experience. What better way to take in local culture, cuisine and history than have your accommodation and meals with one of the locals. On many websites, the different host families take guests on a tour of the area to ensure they are comfortable and settled in. Being able to socialise, eat and stay with locals all under one roof is an immersive experience that no hotel or hostel can offer.

2. Cost

A quick google comparison between the costs of a homestay vs. hotels and hostels quite often shows that the homestay option is the best value, although this is not always the case. Most websites such as homestay.com ensure breakfast is included with some options offering a full catering option. This, of course, means that all meals are included which could save travellers plenty of money in the long run.

3. Benefits the locals more

Although tourism benefits a great many countries’ economies, the impact this has on local people can at times be minimal. Homestays help to improve this as money spent on accommodation and food isn’t returning to chain hotels but is instead finding its way to the locals offering their home. The knock-on effect is the general population of the area becoming more wealthy.

4. Sustainable preservation of environment and culture

Staying with locals, there is far less waste and damage to the local environment. Chain hotels, especially those that offer all-inclusive deals, over-cater for their guests and as such the waste generated through leftover food and litter is very high. Equally popular resorts see new hotels spring up each year which requires more land to be built on, and results in a reduction to the local heritage and environment. Staying with families ensures that local heritage and the natural environment is far better preserved by making use of what is already there.

5. Break down that language barrier!

Staying with local families, especially for prolonged periods of time, will help to reduce the language barrier. Although English is commonly spoken by most nationalities and its people, the chance to learn a new language and interact with the local people is a great opportunity whilst staying with a local family. This will inevitably enable more close friendships to form with local people and the host family.

These are just 5 points to consider when choosing accommodation for your next trip abroad. With websites such as Airbnb, homestay.com and many others offering the chance to experience the full travel experience by staying with a host family, there is a wealth of choice available at a variety of budgets. With more emphasis on reducing the impact of tourism on local heritage and the local population, homestays offer the chance to tackle this issue head on. As well as the added bonus of benefiting the locals in a more direct way whilst preserving the natural environment and reducing waste. As a result, homestays are very flexible offering a unique experience for the modern traveller!

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