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Right now I am writing this from Shillong, Meghalaya. And I am sitting beside a large window, taking pause and enjoying the view of the mountain range and the town beneath. Clouds are hovering like mountain sheep. The coffee is complimenting my me-time.
Come on don’t be jealous. I just couldn’t resist my urge to share this with you. See, how lovely it is!
Well, Today I am going to tell you guys, why I always choose Homestay over a Hotel!
But honestly speaking, I am not against of Hotels. There are many lovely hotels and guest houses I know. In fact, right now I am in a guest house. Maybe I will share my Shillong experience in some other time.
Homestay has become a common term in travel dictionaries nowadays. But a large number of travelers still feel unsure about this option. Maybe they do not have enough reasons to choose a homestay over a hotel. We always feel confused and afraid before trying something new, it’s a basic human nature. Isn’t it?
Don’t worry I am here to share my own reasons, I hope these will help you to think and decide.
When my friends suggested me to try homestay, I was concerned about security, privacy, luxury, and food. But then I finally decided to give that a try. And trust me that was one of my best decisions. After that, I always tried to stay in homestays.
Here are, 12 reasons to choose a homestay over a hotel
- Because it’s a ‘Home’
“To feel at home, stay at home.”
I think this one simple quote has already conveyed the entire thing, I wanted to state under this point. As I have already mentioned, hotels are not bad. But when it comes home, there are few sentiments and care in every corner of the room. There is a human touch in everything you enjoy.
You are actually staying with a family person or a family in fact. Eating whatever they are eating (If you wish to, otherwise they will not force you to do so). Staying just like them. You will feel the “liveliness” in each and every small thing. All of us experience few things which are inexplicable, staying at a homestay is actually one of those kinds of experience for me.
- Safer than any other option
Solo traveling is in. And I am fond of solo traveling. It is really hard to search for likeminded people for a journey. So I love to travel alone. But staying alone in a hotel can be a difficult part for many solo travelers. But if you choose to stay in a homestay, you are actually choosing to stay with a family or some simple local person.
So, the owner’s concerns and arrangements for your safety will be equivalent to his concerns and arrangements for his family’s security. Think about it!
“All my memories, gather round her
Modest lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye.”
-Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver
Simplicity has its own warmth. Starting from the way of reception to the served bed-tea, you can feel the love and care of the host of the home. Their smiling face, their genuine behavior, and approach will definitely melt your heart.
Actually, I have noticed a common thing in almost every homestay owners. They love to take your responsibilities in every possible way. The hosts would become so close to your heart that you will develop a new kind of relationship with them. You will come back with a feeling that you have a relative or a friend in a far land.
Homestays allow you to know the culture of the place more closely. Basically choosing a homestay is equal to choosing the local life to live temporarily.
Being a part of a different culture and customs for few days is really refreshing. You can witness the daily life, their mornings and nights. Their struggles and smiles. You will learn to be humble and grateful as well.
Dancing with the local tune, enjoying the sun-kissed field and chatting with the owner these all are part of homestay experience.
- Sometimes it’s cheaper
In case of budget hotels, you are bound to feel the lack of some essential amenities. For me, a luxurious bar, a relaxing spa, continental breakfast or Wi-Fi is not essential. Being soaked in nature is far more relaxing than a spa for me.
Homestays doesn’t come with unseen costs and a million types of taxes. Homestays provide you the scope to feel a part of nature, their custom, and local life for free actually. You are getting your privacy, enjoying customized services, good food, and luxury as well at a cheaper rate. And, guess what! You are just paying a single amount for all of these. Isn’t it great!
- Your happy guides
As I have already mentioned, you are actually staying with a local person or family. So, no one can be a better guide than them. You do not need to search for a reliable guide. The owner of the homestay is not a professional guide, so you will never face any kind of scam or misguidance.
They can take you to the house of the eldest person of that area to learn about the interesting folklore. They can show you the group of singing maidens while picking tea-leaves. And trust me, these can never be a part of professional “sight-seeing packages”. They can also help you with provincial information about things and places. Moreover, they aren’t part of any organizations or companies that might try to con you. In fact, your host can assist you in finding fair-priced deals for all the activities you look forward to doing.
- A Different Experience
Living in a homestay is like living with a well-known friend from another culture and area. If you are a solo traveler like me, then you will understand it better than any other traveler. The sudden feeling of a loner will never appear if you are living in a homestay.
If you got a fever (unfortunately!), the lady of the house would give you warm soup. If your legs are swollen after a whole day trek, they can give you a pot full of lukewarm water to soak your legs or a lovely ginger tea to make you feel better. In homestays, you are treated as guests, not as clients.
- The Food
Food is one of the most important concerns while traveling. In hotels, you have to eat the oily Puris in breakfast (well I face the same in Assam, and it was horrible, ewww!), the spicy egg curry or if you are really unfortunate then you may have some unknown dish that would make you puke. You will never get any tailored food in hotels.
Homestays gives the freedom to have anything (if it’s available). Enjoy the local cuisine with the family if you are tired of having the same boring chilly-chickens and all. And yes! If you wish, you are allowed to have your favorite Maggi for breakfast. The chance of getting sick is less because you would have home cooked food.
The real delight is having your meal or your morning tea in the midst of nature. This is a wonderful experience, you trust me, dear!
If you are traveling to get rid of city cacophonies and clutter, then homestay is your place. There, you don’t have to tolerate the late night party of the next room travelers. The never-ending loitering in the hotel corridor, the cacophony of the adjoining streets and too many visitors.
On the other hand, homestays are actually the home of some native person. It may have one or two rooms as well. So if you are traveling for peace then what can be a better option than a homestay!!
- Hidden Delight
Delight is not equal to happiness. Delight is kind of feeling light at heart, a never-ending warmth.
Living in a homestay may give you this feeling. Delight. By choosing a homestay, you are actually helping a native man or a family to survive. The remote areas are not blessed enough with easy life. They struggle every day due to lack of facilities, water, and weather and so many things. Travelers are their only hope. Being a part of eco-tourism and doing something for a native person is really a matter of delight.
- An Escape- from the busy City Life
We travel to take a break from our mundane life, right! Moving from our four walls to another four walls again, is it what we want?
Hotels are really boring. There is a monotony in living in all kind of luxury, or in a common-place like hotels. Homestays are completely different, far away from cities and chaos. You might get a homestay made of wood or stone. The lack of urbanized décor is what you will enjoy the most.
When I was in Sikkim, I was so lucky that the owner had a furry beautiful pet. Zambo was his name. He was so adorable and cute, I just can’t explain. Cuddling him every day was a kind of real stress-buster. Ohhhh! I really I miss him.
- Feel the Freedom
Homestays are kind of a freedom from rules and norms, but that does not mean you can just roam around after 10 pm because your safety is their concern. But yes, you can do star gazing whenever you wish.
Hotels are too much professional with a lot of protocols. Most of the time, the polished behaviors of the manager to each and every step are mechanical (not applicable for all). Homestay owners are always happy to assist you, genuinely. There are no rules like all these. You can enjoy your me-time without any interruption.
In my childhood days, I was so much drawn to the countryside poetries of Wordsworth, Keats and many more. I always wished to experience a night in a wooden home midst of a field or a morning in a hanging Veranda midst of a jungle. And homestays are like the dream come true thing for me.
Explaining about homestays is a really tough job for me. Loving something and stating the reasons for loving that is really hard. I am no one to advise you but to add a whole new dimension to your travel experiences, you can try homestays once.
So I think I have already mentioned almost all the reasons for selecting a homestay. Homestays are calm, different, warm and lovely. Homestays let you feel like a ‘Roman in Rome’ and I love to feel so.