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Homestays

If you want the chance to really get to know a place from the inside, what could be a better way than staying with a local? A homestay is a unique experience that goes beyond the warm welcome of a bed and breakfast to offer you the chance of staying in a real home, alongside friendly hosts who want to share their knowledge and advice, as well as their house, with interested visitors. What a homestay offers in terms of accommodation can vary from a simple bedroom with bathroom access to almost free run of a house - you can choose whether you want just a base, the chance to self-cater or sometimes even benefit from hosts who will cook for you. What's more, the price is usually low and sharing with hosts offers a lower environmental impact than a traditional hotel set-up.

Homestays are found in a huge range of locations across the world, with (predictably) larger concentrations in urban areas and major cities - including big tourist destinations such as London, Paris, Barcelona and Amsterdam. The concept has been popularised by websites such as couchsurfing (a more basic form, where guests may well find themselves on a couch) and crashpadder. For more information on homestays check out Anouk van den Eijnde's blog on Homestays, the cheap, local way to travel and greentraveller founder Richard Hammond's post on the World's Best Homestays. We've also got a selection of fantastic homestay possibilities in exciting destinations listed below - from the Chianti Hills near Florence, Tuscany, to the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, Portugal.

Fraoch Lodge

Fraoch Lodge, Cairngorms, Scotland

Come and share a home away from home at Fraoch Lodge in the Cairngorms. Andy, a qualified mountain leader, is happy to advise on routes; Wee Gregor, at 5, is also happy to share his experiences & help out; and Rebecca is a great cook & gardener.
£21 per person over 12; £10.50 per child (age 5 - 11);...

More Homestays

Harvey - your carriage awaits!

Harvey, Cornwall, England

The golden age of steam travel is revived in Lizzy and Dave's sensitively converted '50s railway coach, now a wonderful place to stay with all mod cons, outside St Ives and close to Cornwall's miles of sandy beaches.
2 doubles, 1 quad, two living/sleeping rooms

High season - 1 week sleeping up to 13 £1350, but much lower outside of school holidays. Couples have option of renting only one end. Weeks at low season begin at £445.

Fraoch Lodge

Fraoch Lodge, Cairngorms, Scotland

Come and share a home away from home at Fraoch Lodge in the Cairngorms. Andy, a qualified mountain leader, is happy to advise on routes; Wee Gregor, at 5, is also happy to share his experiences & help out; and Rebecca is a great cook & gardener.
7: 5 twins/doubles; 1 triple; 1 single

£21 per person over 12; £10.50 per child (age 5 - 11); under 5s free - based on min 2 night stay and including a light breakfast.

Homestay Cologne, Cologne, Germany

Perfect for those who want to experience the area like a local, Homestay International pairs up visitors with hospitable locals for both short-term bed and breakfast accommodation and longer-term lodgings. It aims to match your interests and needs.
Usually one room, sharing bathroom and kitchen with host.

Variable

Beresford Terrace 2, London, England

A different kind of homestay, this provides guests with a hotel experience but in a private home, and also offers a pick-your-own vegetable garden. Experience London like a local, and with a much lower carbon footprint than staying in a hotel.
2 double bedrooms
The inside of the Travelling Post Office

The Travelling Post Office, Cornwall, England

The Travelling Post Office is a piece of history now converted into a beautiful and unique place to stay: this historic railway coach broke the 100mph barrier in 1904 and now boasts stunning views of the surrounding Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
1 double, 1 twin, 1 lounge/diner/2 extra beds, bathroom

from £295 for a winter short break, to £789 for a week in high season

Zmar Eco Experience, Zambujeira do Mar, Portugal

This property is temporarily closed until further notice.
200 accommodations, with capacity from 2 to 6 people

Prices between 30€ (camping pitches) to 240€ (eco bungalows for 6 people)

Communal living room in the Marseille homestay apartment.

Homestay Marseille, Marseille, France

Experience Marseille like a local by renting a room in someone's house or apartment. This stylish apartment in the bohemian Cours Julien area is owned by Maxime and Gabriel who can also give advice on where to eat and what to do in the city.
One double room

€50 per night (4 nights minimum stay)