When it comes to responsible travel, where you choose to stay on your trip contributes significantly to your impact on a destination as a tourist. At Explore, we are committed to providing our customers with responsible travel opportunities.
To us, this means supporting travellers in having a positive impact on the places and communities at their chosen destinations, while minimising the impact on the environment and respecting the customs of people that live there. Our homestay trips are just one of the many ways that we promote responsible and sustainable travel, while also creating an unforgettable travel experience. Find out more below.
What are homestays?
Homestays are a form of eco-friendly accommodation, where residents from the trip destination open their homes to guests as part of our Explore holidays. Homestays can range from a single night to whole holidays spent in a local home. Created to help provide a fully immersive travel experience, as well as help local communities, homestays are one of Explore's most popular accommodation options, thanks to the unique experience they offer.
The benefits of a homestay
Homestays have been a big part of Explore trips since our founding days, not only because they provide a more positive impact on the country you are visiting, but also because they provide a unique, immersive travel experience that allows you to really get under the skin of the place you're visiting.
If you choose a homestay with Explore, you get to experience a destination in a new, authentic and unforgettable way. As a traveller, the benefits of a homestay include:
Meeting new people
A homestay allows you to meet new people and build lasting friendships with the individuals or family you’re staying with, and ask questions about their country, culture and way of life. It’s also a great option for solo travellers, who are taking an adventure on their own, but would like to make new friends along the way.
For example, on the Explore Kerala Backwaters
trip, the host families often teach people to play caram
, an Indian board game (we have a board here in the office too!). You're unlikely to get an opportunity to engage with the local community in this way in a hotel, where you may only briefly meet people from that destination and not see the full richness of the local culture.
See places that are off-the-beaten track
Homestays allow you to step away from the more regularly visited attractions, as you can take advantage of the host’s local knowledge and get the 'inside info' on the best places to visit. You get to find hidden gems favoured by locals, which are not likely to appear in official travel guides or regular city tours.
Develop your language skills
One of the best ways of getting to know a language is by fully immersing yourself in it. Staying with local people will help you to pick up phrases quickly, and make you feel more confident in testing out your new-found language skills. You will also learn colloquialisms and turns of phrase that are unique to the area, so you can communicate with those around you in a far more natural manner.
You quickly get to grips with local customs and etiquette
One of the key roles of being a responsible traveller is being observant of the customs, etiquette and religious considerations of that area; from dress codes to behaviour, you need to be familiar with how to conduct yourself during your stay (don't forget to check out our guide to find out how to avoid the most common travel faux pas)
. If you live with a local family, you will quickly learn about the customs of the area, and they can advise you on anything you don’t know or may not otherwise have been aware of. Find out more about responsible travel etiquette
using our handy guide.
You get to try the authentic cuisine
A definite perk of homestays is the opportunity to sample authentic cuisine from your destination, cooked for you by your local host. Some hosts may also be willing to give you a cooking lesson, so you can recreate those mouth-watering new dishes at home, long after your holiday is over. Sharing a meal with your hosts is a great way to get to know the family and local culture, and can help to create lasting bonds.
One of the greatest benefits you get from a homestay is memories that will outlast your trip. When you are welcomed as a part of a family, you have the chance to form long-lasting relationships and enjoy experiences that will remain with you forever.
How are homestays eco-friendly accommodation?
Homestays organised by Explore are arranged with local hosts through our expert agents working in the area. Not only does this make sure that we select the right properties from our contacts, but it also allows us to put the cost of your stay back into the pockets of the local community, preventing money being spent in larger businesses and hotel chains. Read more about our work with the local communities.
Homestays are an eco-friendly accommodation choice, so are the right option for you if you're interested in carbon offsetting
. This is because they operate on a much smaller scale than larger hotels. There are no huge rooms to heat, no added costs of fresh linen every day and no expensive air-conditioning. The food is provided on a smaller scale too, so there are no big kitchens to power, and food is bought at the local market, supporting regional economies and sustainable food-sourcing.
At Explore, we aim to provide the option of a homestay, or something similar, in every destination we travel to
we offer. If you are interested in other methods of carbon offsetting, our team has compiled a list of the most eco-friendly places to visit
, so start planning your next trip today.