If you are planning to book home stay accommodation for the first time, take your time to look around and find the right destination and room to suit your needs.
One of the best ways to understand a new culture is to immerse yourself in it, and stay in a privately owned house. It doesn´t matter if you are a student enjoying a gap year, a retired person volunteering to help run the house, or a hippy looking for some peace and focus in their lives. Home stay suits every age group .. make the most of it by getting to know your host, and appreciate their hospitality at every opportunity. They will then be more inclined to have you back in the future.
2.Relax and chill out
Stress is as contagious and happiness and tranquility, so make a conscious effort to smile and relax when you arrive at your home stay accommodation, as you are all likely to be meeting up for the first time. In return they will feel more chilled out which will be a happier experience for everyone.
Throw yourself into the culture wherever possible, as the most enjoyable home stays happen when guests immerse themselves and embrace a new culture and language. You may be tempted to hang around with people from your own country, but make the effort to commit yourself instead to the local culture.
Never take yourself too seriously or others will too. You won´t be expected to have learned every part of a new culture, but if you drink the finger bowl or pour wine over your salad, laugh and make a joke of it. There is nothing better to break down cultural barriers than a good giggle.
5.Respect for your host
Always maintain a respectful attitude during your home stay, as you will be staying in someone else´s house. Always check what the local customs are, and if there are any house rules when you arrive, try not to break them.
6.Never arrive empty handed
Always take a small gift when you arrive at a home stay, something which is culturally acceptable. A gift from your home country will be well received, such as a local handicraft or a speciality from your region.
7.Ask for local travel tips
If you want to know about the best places to go, or the best sights to see, ask your host. They will have all the information about local events, attractions and the best restaurants, bars etc.,
Travel is a high energy pastime but don´t expect your host family to be at your beck and call all day. Take the opportunity to relax and observe the daily rituals of the house.
9.Explore the local environment
Take the chance to try different things such as cooking dinner for the host family, or joining in at a local event or festival, so you really feel part of the family. Making an effort will help you to fit in.
10.Keep in touch
If you have enjoyed your home stay, keep in touch with your host family when you return home, and share photos and facebook/e mail details so you can book another trip next year. Many home stay arrangements result in travellers making friends for life.
Home stay accommodation is one of the new kids on the block where travel is concerned, and millions of travellers every year are discovering unique travel destinations and amazing home stay accommodation throughout the world.