Homestay Traveller Services – Stay for free, exchange culture and experience!

During the past 20 years, the tourism market exploded through the apparition of online platforms like Booking.com, Airbnb and more. But also many other platforms, generally cost-free, offer another form of experience: travelling and staying in a local’s home for the night. In exchange for the free bed, the host can learn about a new culture, while the guest lives an unfiltered travel experience being hosted by their new-found friend.

The most well known of these platforms is CouchSurfing, a worldwide network that has been working very well since 2004.

But there are also some other platform which have their own personal approach like BeWelcome, TrustedRoots or more specialized ones like WarmShower that is dedicated to bikers.

What all these platforms have in common is that they are specifically designed for people who are eager to meet new people, travel in a differently, save money and explore the city in an authentic way. 

The platforms are simple and user friendly. All you to do is create an account and start planning your stays by contacting people directly. 
 
Here is an example: 

I’m looking for somewhere to sleep in Copenaghen at the end of March. 

 I search on the platform by signing in and exploring all the people available to welcome me on these dates. 

 I look at the profiles, read them, then I choose Johanna Doe because we have several common interests. In my request for accommodation I share my own motivations to meet her. Johanna receives my request, goes through my profile and decides to welcome me or not. At this point there are 3 possibilities: 

– If she does not accept, I look for another host. 

– If she’s undecisive, she would ask more questions about my stay or who I am. 

– If she accepts, we start organizing everything. On the set date, I go to her place and we decide to have dinner together! 

 The next day after a restful night on the bed or sofa, after preparing a a full and good breakfast for both of us, I take my backpack and continue my journey, while Johanna is on her way to work. But perhaps I’ll ask for a little longer stay, there is so much to see here! 

Pros

  • Meeting new potential friends, with whom you can stay in touch
  • Meeeting the locals who know the city, the country, the people
  • Expense-free thanks to the exchange
  • Return to simplicity with a lot of spontaneity and exchanges
  • Registration is usually free on the site
  • Rediscover the welcoming of strangers, as it is still present in many cultures

Cons 👎

  • Some of the platforms like CouchSurfing have set a small registration fee
  • In large cities it is sometimes difficult to find a homestay on the first try simply because they receive hundreds of requests per day and therefore they might be more selective
  • It takes time to read each person’s profile in order to send personalized requests.

Based upon encounters, sharing culture and discoveries, these networks are global networks with hosts and travelers coming from all over the world: a beautiful, fresh community. 

 

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