One of the cheapest ways to travel around a country is by home stay. Home stay is popular for older people, couples, students, and most particularly girls, because there is some assurance of having a host to provide support. Most backpackers offer similar support, however a host offers a more homely experience, though in all probability, not the professionalism, and perhaps not all the services. You will in most respects get better services in terms of furnishings, bedding, and many hosts offer food and travel. You might find yourself becoming a member of a family.
Another benefit for guests is that you are able to ensure that the person has police clearances. Any person who reports bad service is likely to see a bad host stricken from their membership base, offering some assurance to you. I would advise anyone who wants to make payment to pay via Paypal because at least you have some recourse if they don't provide the service you require. It is common to pay a deposit before you arrive, say of $200, and then the balance upon arrival.
Personally, home stays do not always work out because there are many people who are looking for extra income. The problem is often in the form of:
1. Differing standards of cleanliness
2. Different expectations in terms of services offered, i.e. You might have expected your own bathroom, greater privacy, you might not have expected any men to be there. You might have expected wifi internet, or access to a computer.
3. Differences in terms of food style or preparation, i.e. If you host is offering food, you want to inquire as to the types of food they eat (i.e. fatty foods, takeaway or vegetarian), and whether you will be able to prepared your own.
4. Isolation from transport, i.e. You might have expected the location to be close to transport, and you might have expected more transport.
In order to avoid these problems it might be preferable if you have a trial night, but this is not always possible. It is better to simply ask questions.
For more information of home staying in any country - see the HomeStay.com website.
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