My experience of using Homestay.com
I decided to save a bit of money whilst travelling and did my first set of homestays booking independently with Homestay.com. I have done a few homestays in India and Cuba during my tours with G Adventures and really enjoyed the personal touch I got and enjoyed interacting with people who live in the places that I visited.
During my trip to the East coast of USA I used homestay 3 times. I would have used more but due to not booking accommodation until a week before my visit I was a little limited in Washington and New York so had to go with hotels in these places.
Before I did my homestay via this website I was concerned if homestay would be a good idea but I found it to be a great way to save money on accommodation when travelling. Sometimes when I am travelling I know that so much of my time is going to be spent sightseeing that all I am looking for in my accommodation is a basis clean place to sleep. If I am doing slower paced travelling where I will want to spend time around a pool and have someone cook for me then homestay will not be the right option.
I am not sure if I have just been lucky, but I had excellent hosts and accommodation and will be using this for future trips. It worked out nice that I had to use hotels for some of the trip because I do still find it easier to relax in a hotel as I don’t feel as though I am intruding. Now obviously the people who set themselves up as hosts are happy for people to be staying in their homes, but I still feel like a visitor and must be on my best behaviour. Not that I don’t behave well in hotels, but it just feels slightly different.
I have decided not to show the pictures of the houses I stayed in as at the end of the day these are still peoples homes. You can however see details of the homestay on the website.
Where did I use Homestay.com
3 nights in Boston
This was my first homestay and my host welcomed me with a hug, invited me into her living room to get the formalities out of the way such as payment and then showed me to my room.
I had a large room with 2 single beds on the 3rd floor which did mean I had 2 flights of stairs to climb but since I only had hand luggage this was fine.
There were 3 other rooms with 2 students staying long term we all had to share one bathroom, and this is what put me off for so long as when I need to go to the toilet I need to go so I worried I would have to queue, but I never did in fact I never saw one of the students and the other was quiet so I didn’t even know he was there.
We had access to a little kitchen which was just for us and I liked this even though I didn’t do any cooking I used the kettle to make a cup of tea.
The only downside to this stay was the air vent carried the noise of a heavy snorer and one night it was so loud I thought there was a monster in my room. But I just thought of the money I was saving and put my headphones on and Adele sang me back to sleep.
My host said she doesn’t offer breakfast apart from on Sundays. I said I didn’t eat breakfast anyway she said well at least come and have a cup o tea with me on Sunday morning before I go to church. I totally forgot and went out and she came to me at night to ask me why I didn’t come for breakfast. It made me feel guilty, but I am also an independent traveller and I don’t want to be tied down to things like this. I didn’t realise it was a genuine offer I just thought she was being polite.
She gave me a leaving gift of a Boston T-shirt and a picture of her family with a farewell letter, it was sweet considering I had only been there for 3 nights.
New York 2 nights at Night Hotel
Philadelphia 2 nights
This time the host didn’t welcome me with a hug, but she was still very friendly. She had a dog that I had to be introduced to, I knew of the dog before my arrival as she said she would need to greet me by the door so the dog could sniff me. I am not used to dogs as I don’t have any pets and even though she was not a huge dog she did jump up at me excitedly. At one point she even growled but this was because I had a hat on and once I removed that and she sniffed me a few times she settled down.
This was a smaller house than the first home stay with one other Spanish guest on the first floor and I was in the basement. I knew I was going to be in the basement as the host warned me that it was a low ceiling but since I was only here for 2 nights I wasn’t that bothered the thing that made me book this homestay was I would have my own toilet, and this is quite important to me.
I had two airbeds that I could take my pick of. I didn’t like the sound of sleeping on a airbed at first, but I had my best night’s sleep in a long time here. I had my own toilet and sink which was great. I also had access to the kitchen and she said I could help myself to some food and she pointed out what I could have but I never did as this just feels cheeky I did however use the kettle and 1 teabag.
This was an excellent location, I used the local buses to get into the city centre which was only 15 minutes away and it was easy to find. I would stay here again if I was in Philadelphia as I really liked the neighbourhood and wish I had more time to explore.
I think this host does homestay for company as she mentioned she also started Uber driving to meet people and she liked to chat which was nice but she also gave.me.my own space.
Washington DC 2 nights at Skyline Capitol Hotel
Boston 4 nights homestay
Back to Boston before the last leg of my stay and this time I stayed in Dorchester a suburb of Boston. It was further out of the city but 5 minutes from the train station and 10 minutes to a subway stop which I used both. The train was best for me, being every hour taking only 15 minutes to get to the city centre.
Again, my host welcomed me with a hug and this time my room was on the ground floor off from the living room.
I arrived on a Sunday afternoon and she was preparing meals for the week and her husband was watching TV in the living room my bathroom was also off the living room and I thought it was going to be awkward going to the toilet if he was watching TV especially at night, but this was the only time he was in this room. I think their main living quarters were on the 1st floor.
My host said I could use the living room and watch the TV and in fact came to find me one evening to remind me to feel at home and use these areas. I had a double bed and I was the only guest staying at this time, but she did say another couple were arriving in a couple of days. The hosts were lovely, and we chatted about our day, again I would return here next time I am in Boston.
Would I use Homestay.com again?
I was really impressed with homestay, it is easy to use, and I had no problems with any of my bookings. A fee goes to the website for the booking and then I paid the hosts in cash when I arrived. I didn’t cancel any of my trips but there is a cancellation policy if this is required.
I would definitely use Homestay.com again and the next solo trip I do I will probably go to homestay.com first when I am researching my trip to see if they have anything in the area.
Have you used Homestay.com? What did you think?