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Travel Tip: Vacation Rentals vs. Home Stays

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One way to really get a local experience when you travel is to stay in someone’s home instead of a hotel. But that can also make for a truly awkward experience if you don’t come prepared.

A homestay can come in a lot of different forms. You might arrange to stay in a local’s home through friends.

Or you could use an online service like, or rent a room through and Or it may be arranged through an official school or tour program.

Regardless of the setup, there are some basic rules. Ask questions to make sure the home is the right place for you.

Will there be other travelers sharing the space? Where is it located? Does it matter if the host doesn’t speak English? Find out what amenities will be available to you. Are the laundry facilities and kitchen open for your use?

Don’t assume that your host will also be your tour guide. If you’re not comfortable establishing that in advance, you’ll have to be flexible upon arrival.

And lastly, don’t forget that a little thoughtfulness can go a long way. Bringing a small gift, washing the dishes at night, and other little touches can make a good stay … a great one.

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