Homestays & Local Immersion - Best Tours & Trips 2019

2,520 Homestays & Local Immersion tours from 152 tour companies. 6,279 reviews. 4.6/5 avg rating.

For a truly immersive experience, homestays are a tried and true method. You are welcomed into someone's home and learn how a typical family operates day-to-day. It's a truly unique way to experience a country. You come away with a deeper appreciation as cultural subtleties reveal themselves in a way that is simply not possible when staying in a hotel or hostel.

All Homestays & Local Immersion tours, river cruises, expedition cruises, and adventure trips. Find the best guided trips and expert planned vacation and holiday packages.
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Travel Style Travel Style Relaxed A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers.
Full on For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included.
Mixed You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included.

Trip Type Trip Type Group Tour Groups are between 25-60 people, typically ~30-40. Usually there will be many opportunities to split off and enjoy meals and excursions in smaller groups. This is the most economical way to travel, saving up to 40% versus booking the same itinerary yourself.
Small Group Tour Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
River Cruise These vessels are smaller than most ocean cruisers, limiting which amenties are available. Passenger counts can vary. One of the biggest advantages of a river cruise is the ability to dock at smaller ports and local villages.
Small Ship Cruise Small ship cruises usually have a max passenger count of 500. The primary purpose of these trips is to spend time off the vessel in local ports (e.g. Mediterranean) or experiencing nature (e.g Galapagos or Antarctica). Cabins can vary from budget to luxury.
Private Guided Private tours give you the undivided attention of a guide, and often involve special access to sites and unique experiences not available to larger groups. This is a great option for families, couples, and small friend groups. Expect to pay a bit more for the extra service.
Self Guided / Independent Tour A travel company plans your itinerary and arranges all the logistics including lodging, local activities, and transportantion. You have the flexibility of a solo trip while still getting the convience and time savings of expert planning. Get 90% of the benefits of a tour, without a guide.
Vacation / Holiday Package Similar to a self guided tour, this usually involves a home base, such as a hotel or resort, with packaged activities and day tours as a part of the stay.
Large Ship Cruise This is the "floating city" experience, with multiple ways to enjoy your vacation aboard the ship as much as on land. Ships are multiple floors, provide several activities, culinary, and shopping options. They often make fewer stops and have less time available for shore excursions.

Itinerary Focus

Lodging Level Lodging Level Camping Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges.
Basic - 2 star You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping.
Value - 3 star Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Premium - 4 star 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Luxury - 5 star The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays.

Price From*

$ 0 $ 10,000+

Price Per Day

Trip Length

Countries

Physical Level Physical Level Very Easy Minimal walking - motor vehicles available for all major parts of trip.
Easy Normal generally flat walking in urban or suburban environments.
Moderate Walking or physical activity half to most of day - no carrying equipment.
Strenuous All or most of day hiking or biking, hills included.
Extreme Very challenging all day hiking and backpacking carrying significant equipment.

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Solo Friendly Solo Friendly Good for Singles Trips that specifically cater to travelers looking to meet other singles.
No Single Supplement Trips where single supplement is usually not required for solo travelers.

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Local Living Mongolia—Nomadic Life

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
10 days
$ 108 / day
$ 1,079
From : $ 1,511
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Sleep in a traditional mongolian ger
  • Ride a horse across the mongolian countryside
  • Learn traditional crafts and skills from nomadic hosts
  • Compete with mongolian nomads in archery
Visits:
Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
View Trip

The Olive Harvest And Homestay

Evaneos
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
7 days
$ 120 / day
$ 660
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Visits:
Heraklion
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Thailand: The Untraveled Northeast – People, Na ...

Myths and Mountains
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 309 / day
$ 3,395
From : $ 4,090
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore Bangkok
  • Visit the Grand Palace
  • Enjoy Grand Pearl Cruise boat on Chao Phra River to the Summer Palace
  • Visit Khao Yai National Park and Mahawirawong National Museum
  • Visit Sukhothai Historical Park
Visits:
Ayutthaya, Bangkok, Vientiane, Thailand
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Tale of Two Cities: China Locally Hosted Tour of ...

7 days
$ 500 / day
$ 3,497
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Beijing has strong historic roots and Shanghai is a contemporary city on the move.
  • Independent "locally hosted" vacation, has all the goods of an escorted vacation, but you can depart any day you like.
  • You'll be able to climb a section of the famous Great Wall of China and walk along the Sacred Way
  • Stay in beautifully modern 4- and 5-star hotels.
  • Immerse yourself in the culture - by trying the different cuisines of each city and shopping for locally made goods.
Visits:
Beijing, Great Wall of China, Shanghai, The Forbidden City, Tiananmen Square, China
View Trip

Eastern Europe Explorer

Intrepid Travel
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
18 days
$ 169 / day
$ 3,050
From : $ 4,118
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Rich in history, art, architecture, cuisine and nightlife, Budapest is a hot European destination. The Museum of Fine Arts offers free English tours that reveal the famous artwork of Monet, Manet and Goya, just to name a few
  • A home-stay with a family in the Saxon village of Viscri in Romania offers insight into local life and the chance to sample some delicious home-cooked food
  • This trip takes you to a mix of exciting capital cities and quaint mountain villages, allowing you to see the many sides of Eastern Europe
  • Transylvania is drenched in history and myth. Discover the medieval city of Sighisoara, the birthplace of one of Romania's most infamous figures, Vlad the Impaler - better known as the inspiration for Count Dracula
  • Journey deep into the forested valley of Rila to find the Monastery of Saint Ivan. Over 1,000 years old, this spectacular building is one of Bulgaria's most important cultural, historical and architectural monuments
Visits:
Brasov, Bucharest, Budapest, Romania, Sofia, Transylvania, Istanbul, Bulgaria, Hungary, Turkey
View Trip

Pyramids, Petra and Promised Land 2019 - 19 Days

19 days
$ 194 / day
$ 3,695
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Jerusalem (West Bank) - explore the sacred sites of the Old City, including the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and Via Dolorosa
  • Petra - discover this spectacular UNESCO-listed Nabataean city, which is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World
  • Cairo - marvel at the legendary Pyramids of Giza, explore the Necropolis of Saqqara and see King Tut's treasures at the Egyptian Museum
  • Wadi Rum - explore this vast red desert with its rolling dunes and dramatic rock formations in a 4x4 and camp under a blanket of stars
  • Luxor West Bank - discover exquisite tombs in the Valley of the Kings, the towering Colossi of Memnon and the beautiful Temple of Queen Hatshepsut
  • The Dead Sea - spend a night at the Dead Sea, float in the famously buoyant, mineral-rich waters and smother yourself in Dead Sea mud
  • Luxor - roam around the colossal Temple of Karnak and take an optional tour of the beautifully illuminated Luxor Temple at night
  • Aswan - take leisurely boat trip to Agilika Island to explore the romantic Philae Temple and wander around the colourful souqs
  • Nile felucca cruising - sail the River Nile on board a traditional felucca, visit islands and spend two nights sleeping under a blanket of stars
  • Hurghada - relax at the Red Sea, swim and opt to snorkel or scuba dive in the clear coastal waters
  • Kom Ombo - visit the Nile side Temple of Kom Ombo
  • Edfu - explore Edfu Temple, dedicated to the falcon god Horus
  • Wadi Mujib - go canyoning in the lowest nature reserve in the world (included on tours departing April to October)
  • Jerusalem (West Bank) - admire incredible views of the Old City from the Mount of Olives and wander through the Armenian, Christian & Jewish Quarters
  • Shobak - visit Shobak Crusader castle, perched dramatically on a hill top
  • Bethlehem (West Bank) - visit the Shepherd’s Field, Church of the Nativity and Manger Square
  • Haifa - walk through the beautiful terraces of the Bahai Gardens, set on the slopes of Mount Carmel, and see the UNESCO listed Bahai Shrine
  • Caesarea – discover Roman and Crusader-era ruins
  • Jaffa - stroll around the picturesque fortified old town
  • Tel Aviv - independently explore Israel's "City That Never Sleeps", with its long stretch of beautiful beaches
Visits:
Egypt, Israel, Jordan
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Touring South India: Hyderabad, Houseboats and Go ...

Myths and Mountains
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
15 days
$ 446 / day
$ 6,695
From : $ 8,235
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore ‘Garden City’, Bangalore, including Tipu Sultan’s Palace, The Botanical Garden and a drive past Vidhan Soudha.
  • Explore Kerala
  • Visit Cochin and enjoy canoe in narrow channels
  • Visit Hyderabad
  • Explore Hampi and its surroundings
  • Discover Badami via Pattadakal And Aihole
  • Explore Goa
Visits:
Kerala, Kochi, India
View Trip

Northern Spain Summer 2019

Trafalgar
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
11 days
$ 232 / day
$ 2,575
From : $ 3,137
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • CITY TOUR of Barcelona, Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and Madrid
  • ORIENTATION of Pamplona, San Sebastián, Bilbao, Santander and Oviedo
  • VISIT the Holy Cave of Covadonga, the fishing village of Luarca, St. James Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela and the Prado Museum in Madrid
  • VIEW La Sagrada Família in Barcelona, the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, the Cathedral and University of Salamanca
  • SCENIC DRIVE through the Picos de Europa
Visits:
Barcelona, Madrid, Pamplona, Salamanca, Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain
View Trip

Local Living Nepal

G Adventures
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
7 days
$ 68 / day
$ 479
From : $ 647
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
Highlights
  • Visit a local market and pick up cooking ingredients
  • Learn about nepalese cuisine with an included cooking lesson
  • Trek through tamang village
  • Enjoy a meal with a local family as a group
Visits:
Kathmandu, Nepal
View Trip

Tibet: Beyond Everest Base Camp

Myths and Mountains
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
22 days
$ 463 / day
$ 10,195
From : $ 13,559
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : Typically involves most nights sleeping in tents (sometimes permanent tented sites) or in rustic cabins and lodges. Camping
Highlights
  • Visit Wenshu Yuan,
  • Visit the Panda Breeding Center to see the adult and baby pandas.
  • Visit the Norbulinka, once named Jewel Park and now Peoplems Park.
  • Visit two of the most interesting ofthe  Buddhist  monasteries.
  • Enjoy a 5-day trek to Everest Base Camp
Visits:
Tibet
View Trip

Luxury Chile Explorer

14 days
$ 519 / day
$ 7,266
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : The highest level of comfort and service. All accomodations are in four or five star hotels, boutique lodges or high-end homestays. Luxury - 5 star
Highlights
  • Explore Torres del Paine
  • Exploring the Wine Region
  • Visit the Atacama Desert is one of the world's driest, fifty times more arid than California's Death Valley,
Visits:
Punta Arenas, Santiago, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
View Trip

Amazonian Immersion

13 days
$ 269 / day
$ 3,495
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Full day hiking or trekking over medium to long distances. Moderate expectation of physical fitness. Strenuous
Lodging Level : You'll stay in no-frills, but clean and comfortable, hotels or guesthouses. A 'Basic' trip might also involve a few nights of camping. Basic - 2 star
Highlights
  • Discover Achuar Culture
  • Connect with Andean Cultures
  • Visiting Ecuador’s Amazon and Andes
  • Travel the Avenue of the Volcanoes
  • Explore Achuar Territory
Visits:
Andes Mountains, Avenue of Volcanoes, Ecuador
View Trip

Australia & New Zealand: An Adventure Down Under

30 days
$ 306 / day
$ 9,190
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Visit Cleland Wildlife Park
  • Visit to the Royal Flying Doctor Service
  • Enjoy a casual dinner of Australian cuisine
  • Explore an array of native plant, animal, and bird species
  • Discover the deep spiritual and cultural connection the Aboriginal people have to the land.
  • See the effects of millions of years of erosion by rain and wind.
Visits:
Melbourne, Uluru (Ayers Rock), Australia, New Zealand
View Trip

Nepal: Portrait of a Country

Myths and Mountains
Preferred
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
13 days
$ 204 / day
$ 2,650
From : $ 3,260
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : A lot of free time, with very few inclusions. Ideal for independent and/or low-key travelers and cruisers. Relaxed
Physical Level : Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Explore Kathmandu
  • Visit Swayambunath and Pashupatinath temple 
  • Visit Patan and Bhaktapur
  • Explore Pokhara
  • Visit Lumbini temple
  • Visit Royal Chitwan National Park
  • Explore Janakpur
Visits:
Chitwan National Park, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Nepal
View Trip

Best of Bavaria & Berlin

SmarTours
Premier
Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
12 days
$ 275 / day
$ 3,299
From : $ 7,797
The strike-through price reflects either the high season trip price or the average price a traveler pays for a similar itinerary when the components are booked separately.
Travel Style : You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level : Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level : 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
Highlights
  • Story of Berlin Tour
  • Optional Potsdam Tour
  • Nuremberg City Tour
  • Rothenburg ob der Tauber
  • Bamberg
  • Regensburg
  • Danube River Boat Excursion
  • Munich City Tour
  • Optional Visit to Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site
  • Neuschwanstein Castle
Visits:
Bamberg, Bavaria, Berlin, Munich, Neuschwanstein Castle, Nuremberg
View Trip
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Top Homestays & Local Immersion Experiences and Attractions

Top Homestays & Local Immersion Experiences

Enjoying an authentic homemade meal made from farm fresh ingredients in Romania

Learning to make pasta from scratch in an Italian home

Studying abroad in Hungary and walking to school along the Danube every day.

Chatting with a Moroccan family in a Kasbah over a spread of olives and mint tea.

Waking up to the sights, smells, and sounds at a traditional farmhouse along the Mekong River in Vietnam

Helping out at a Yak farm in Nepal

Staying at a family farmhouse in the Himalayan Syangja district of Nepal, and enjoying the incredible views and the warm Nepali welcome.

Living with a Lepcha family in northeast India, and learning about a culture and way of life that are thousands of years old.

Staying with a friendly local in Cordoba, Argentina, and enjoying a taste of the Argentine nightlife.

view more

Homestays & Local Immersion Trip Reviews

6,279 Homestays & Local Immersion Tour Reviews - Summary 95% Recommend

4.6 out of 5
Excellent 4,376
Great 1,571
Average 239
Disappointing 62
Terrible 31
Value
4.6
Guide
4.6
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.6
Transportation
4.6
Meals
4.6

Tour Reviews Write a Review

Guide in Cambodia was very informative

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Excellent balance of things to see/do and free time afterwards. Guide in Cambodia was very informative..

Read more
Operator Ritz Tours

Fabulous Tibetan tour to Everest Base Camp

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We have been fortunate to travel many places around the world, but Tibet counts as one of the most touching, authentic, and moving travel experiences that we've had.

Our family of four (including two children, ages 9 & 12) booked a 8 day tour which included Lhasa and several other cities and major sights on a round trip to Everest Base Camp. Great Tibet Tour worked with us on our itinerary and provided us options that worked for children.

Read more
Operator Great Tibet Tour

Great memory of Vietnam

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

We have just backed from our 12 day trip to Vietnam via Go Asia Travel.
This is one of our most enjoyable trip so far. Mike Nguyen our assistant came to see us at hotel to ensure we got all the info.

Everything goes smoothly. Our driver and guide always wait for us at hotel, train station or airport. No hassel.

We meet different friends each tour and all of them are great. It is nice to make friend during the trip

We enjoy Hoi An so much, would love to spend 1 week relaxing in this lovely town
Thank you Mike and team for everything

Read more
Operator Go Asia Travel

The best experience in Marrakesh

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

The best experience in Marrakesh. Ouidad and Noura are the best female guides in town. They are knowledgeable, sweet, and a lot of fun. It changed 100% our experience in Marrakesh being guided by them!

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Operator Morocco private expert

The safest Gluten free experience you could ask for

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

I had given up on the idea of a culinary tour of Italy after being diagnosed as being a celiac over 10 years ago but I am glad I found this options possible with these guys. During the tour we even had a chance to make gluten free Gnocchi and other traditional dishes that I would have never thought I could eat ( and let alone cook!). A marvellous experience overall, especially the feeling of not having to worry for an entire week about gluten contamination. Rylee, Perth

Read more
Operator The Italian on Tour

Everything about our trip was wonderful.

5.0
  • Value 5.0
  • Guide 5.0
  • Activities 5.0
  • Lodging 5.0
  • Transportation 5.0
  • Meals 5.0

Everything about our trip was wonderful. Cathy Hou did an amazing job of organising and supplied us with a wonderful guide Than in Hanoi and also Miss Noung in Ho Chi Min City Highlights were almost two many to mention but the Fisherman's Eco tour was outstanding led by guide Lily. Also the Cu Chi tunnels,the The Organic farm plus cookery lesson. Trip on the Mekong Delta. I will most certainly use Odynovo again.

Read more
Operator Indochina Odyssey Tours

Homestays & Local Immersion Tours and Travel Guide

Homestays & Local Immersion Attractions & Landmarks Guide

For a truly immersive experience, homestays are a tried and true method. You are welcomed into a local's home and learn how a typical family operates day-to-day. It's a truly unique way to experience a country. You come away with a deeper appreciation as cultural subtleties reveal themselves in a way that is simply not possible when staying in a hotel or hostel. Some tour companies frequently offer a night or two accommodation in the home of a local family as part of the overall tour experience. Most homes are quite authentic, which in some countries, may mean modest accommodations. If you go in with an open mind and a thirst for immersion, you will likely emerge with rich, unique memories.

What is a Homestay?

A homestay is, simply put, staying at someone's home. But there are different types of home stay, and the experience varies according to where in the world you are, and how you go about organizing it.

Typical homestays involve staying in a local family's house, and living how they live. You may be expected to pay for accommodation and food (even if you are not directly asked to do so). These homestays can be arranged through a tour, or you may be lucky enough to meet someone while traveling who invites you to stay with them.

Some homestays are businesses that are established for the purpose of tourist accommodation. The family will live in the building, but there will be fixed prices, dedicated rooms for tourists, and perhaps even a menu. There may be a sign outside advertising it as a "homestay". These types of homestays can still give a more immersive experience than staying at a hotel, but you may feel cheated if you were expecting to live as the locals do.

House sitting, that is, staying in someone's house while they're away, can be arranged through various websites. These arrangements are usually good value; some are cheap, while others are free, and some people will even pay you to stay in their house rather than leaving it empty. While some may not see house sitting as a homestay (that is, the residents of the house are not there during your stay), it is a useful option for people who would rather have their own space to cook and relax, rather than just having a hotel room.

Benefits of a Homestay

The main benefit of a homestay is that it offers an immerse experience. You are surrounded by a new culture and get to learn more about it than if you were staying in a hotel. You also get to spend your time with new and interesting people and gain insight into how they live.

Home tays also allow you to offer insights into your culture. Your host will likely be just as interested in learning how you live, whether it's by looking at pictures of your home or listening to some of your favorite music.

Living with people who speak a different language to you is also an ideal way to immerse yourself in the language and to pick it up quickly. Not to mention you'll have native speakers on hand willing to help you with any language problems you encounter.

Things to Remember

Follow local customs when you're living with your hosts. They may be too polite to tell you what you're doing wrong, so the easiest way to avoid a faux pas is to do as they do. For example, do they take their shoes off when entering the house? Do they avoid using their left hand? And remember, what is considered polite in your culture may not be so in theirs. Even if your mother taught you to always clean up after yourself, if your host insists on taking your dirty plate, it may be impolite to insist on washing it yourself.

Spend time with your host family and live as they live. If you spend your evenings alone in your room, or go out to eat at restaurants instead of eating with the family, then not only will you be missing out on the experiences that make a home stay so wonderful, you'll also likely be seen as rude by your hosts.

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