Imagine waking up on your first morning in a new place, with the assurance that you already know at least one person. Your host shares a meal with you and offers to show you around the city. You see the best sights and taste the best cuisine, all from a local’s perspective. You start getting excited to return to this place, even before you’ve left – because beyond having a cool place to come back to– you now have friends to visit.
There are endless reasons to stay with a host through StayMarta while you’re traveling, but we’ve narrowed it down to the top five:
Worldwide, hotels and hostels make megabucks on tourists passing through. A host-stay can change your whole trip, by providing lower costs-per-night. You can also save on meals and sight-seeing when you befriend your host and they show you the best local spots. A homestay is an especially good option if you plan to stay somewhere longer than a few days. In the end, the cash you save staying with a host could help you afford a longer stay.
There are some things you will just never find in a guidebook or on the internet. For example, I went on weekend trips with my host family and experienced their world on the back of a motorcycle. I befriended their friends, worked out at their gym and learned how to make traditional dishes. Furthermore, I also got an excellent education in haggling and a deeper history of the area. I established trust with the people I stayed with and found a safe place to make language mistakes, ask endless questions and share my own culture. I had the privilege to experience those places less like a tourist, and more from a local lens.
Choosing a host experience, over a hotel or hostel, will get you out of your comfort zone. You’ll get the chance to try more, learn more, be challenged more, laugh more, and experience more. You’ll come away with great stories to tell…probably some funny ones too.
Not all homestays include a meal plan. But chances are, hosts will invite you to share a meal with them. This likelihood is especially high if you’re traveling in a foreign country. It’s a great opportunity to learn a new recipe, offer to help cook – or provide moral support and conversation – bond with your host, and try a local dish. It may not always prove the case in U.S. cities, but in my own foreign travel, all of the best meals were in local homes, not the tourist-packed restaurants (I had plenty of envious friends who craved authentic food like my host mom made, and periodically got themselves invited over for dinner). If you prefer to eat out, your hosts are often the best people to recommend tasty establishments nearby.
This speaks to those who are considering foreign travel: if you want to learn a language fast, go stay with a host family. Even study abroad students struggle to improve their language skills, if they don’t spend the majority of their time with people speaking their target language. The fastest proven way to learn a language is immersion. Also, immersion is more fun than learning from a textbook or an app. It can be challenging, but many new language learners are surprised by how quickly comprehension increases. Even if you don’t know the language is spoken in a location, your attempts to learn and relate to people will help foster more meaningful connections.
Hopefully, this gives you more reasons to plan the next adventure, pack your bags, and experience a place you’ve always wanted to go! When you do, it’s easy to find a great host through StayMarta.
Now, off you go!
Written by Katherine Allan for StayMarta
StayMarta is a Christian hospitality marketplace, connecting travelers with local hosts and various accommodations and adventures. We provide safe lodgings and experiences with Christian values, which travelers can book through our online platform.
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