QI’m planning a round-the-world gap year with a limited budget for hotels. Along with hostels, I’ve looked into couch surfing services and Airbnb, but they’re not available everywhere, plus my family are concerned about the quality and safety of this type of accommodation. What else would you suggest?
Homestay.com is an online community, featuring homes in over 150 countries, and a review system that helps guide your choices. The places on offer are distinct and welcoming, with the added bonus that many hosts will prepare home-cooked food, act as your tour guide and give you hints and tips on local customs and cultures. Plus homestays are great value for money, with the average overnight stay costing £29.
They’re available worldwide but Peru, Bhutan, Nicaragua, Colombia, South Africa, China and Fiji are growing in popularity for gap-year travellers. Southeast Asia, New Zealand and India are long-standing favourites with students while top destinations include Thailand, Sydney and New Zealand.
When it comes to staying safe, a good rule of thumb is to find out as much information as possible about your hosts and destination. Homestay.com offers a video chat service where you can talk face-to-face to prospective hosts before deciding to book with them.
Get in touch: If you’re in need of travel advice, email our team – firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the November 2015 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)