Looking for an affordable home-sharing and hosting service but tired of Airbnb and Vrbo? Homestay is a long-term accommodation option for both students and travelers with friendlier hosts and better prices. Are they legit, and are they worth it? Find out now.
Disclosure: Pilot is supported by our users. We may earn a small commission fee when you click on affiliate links on our website, and all recommendations are independently reviewed.
One of the most important aspects to nail down is your accommodation when you're traveling. There are so many different options out there. Still, it ultimately boils down to what you're looking for: a hotel, your own studio, or even a homestay in someone's house.
We've reviewed some alternatives to Airbnb, but what if you want to stay with someone local while traveling? That's where Homestay comes into the picture. Curious if this might be perfect for your next trip? Read on for all you need to know!
What is Homestay?
Founded in 2013, Homestay is an online booking service that allows travelers to book a room in someone's house so they can stay with a local host while traveling. In turn, the site will enable homeowners to rent out spare rooms, and the site allows for both short and long-term accommodation.
Homestay's goal is also for their rentals to be "wallet-friendly," so travelers of all budgets can partake in their accommodation model. Homestay hosts can list their rooms for travel, students, or even professionals, making the concept available to more than just those visiting for a short time.
Not to be confused with Homeaway, now popularly known as Vrbo, Homestay provides the service for travelers to stay with locals while Vrbo provides vacation rentals services.
While in general, Homestays are designed for you to stay in someone's home, that doesn't mean that you can't seek out a host who has similar interests to you or caters to your travel style.
Using Homestay's Inspire Me page, you can browse and filter hosts speaking specific languages, living in certain homes, or having similar hobbies to you. This fun feature allows you to personalize your experience a little and make a good match with a potential host.
To speak with hosts or make a booking, you will have to account with Homestay. You'll need to provide your first and last name, as well as an email address and password to get started. You can also choose to log in with Facebook or Google.
To make a booking, you also must be over 18 years of age.
Homestay has rooms available all over the world.
Using their search function, you can browse through all the hosts and rooms available in your target destination and then reach out to the hosts to see who fits best with your plans.
Top destinations currently include: London, Edinburgh, Sydney, Rome, Boston, New York, and Vancouver, to name a few! They claim to have over 63,000 rooms in over 176 countries, so there are many locations.
Unlike Airbnb, Homestay hosts are expected to welcome and greet their guests, and they are also likely to advertise the kind of host they are on their profile. Hosts can specify the following: if they live in the house full time, if they're friendly/resourceful, and any other host services they provide (including meals, tours, etc.). Homestay hosts can only rent out a room in their house, not the whole house.
When you find a homestay that interests you, you can click on the host to read more about their rules and home. You'll also be able to read reviews of other travelers to help you decide if that Homestay is a good fit for you.
How much does Homestay cost?
Nightly rates for staying in Homestay properties will vary based on where you want to travel and when you're looking to stay there. That being said, Homestay does boast that their average price per night globally is $38.
Looking at payments, Homestay does have a nice feature where you can pay upon arrival. This means that when budgeting for your travels, you can push that payment date to when you arrive, rather than having to bundle it into your pre-departure expenditures.
Homestay's website allows you to search through Homestay options in your local currency. However, be sure to check the host's profile to see if they require payment in the local currency of the country you're visiting.
Homestay also markets itself as an option for students studying abroad or those who need to rent a place to stay Monday-Friday while attending online school away from home.
They can also be used as an excellent opportunity to immerse yourself in the local language, especially if you're using a study abroad experience to work on a second language. If you're curious about what staying in a Homestay might be like as a student, check out Homestay's blog!
As with any accommodation booking, it's never a bad idea to have contact information if you have any questions or run into any issues. Most of Homestay's departments can be reached via email, and you can find the various department contact information here. You can also head to their FAQ page for commonly asked questions!
Is Homestay worth it?
While there are tons of other vacation rental sites out there, Homestay is one that we can confidently say stands out. They aim to provide guests with a better and friendlier experience through affordable prices, sociable hosts, and accommodation varieties.
While they have their limitations, we recommend you give Homestay a try if you're looking for an Airbnb alternative with better prices! Their services are free so it doesn't hurt to look through what they have to offer.
Our review: 4.0/5
- Short and long-term accommodation.
- Pay upon arrival feature.
- Host reviews.
- Inspire Me search page.
- Not helpful with the booking process.
- Email-only customer support.
- No map search function, only targeted search location.
- Hosts may misrepresent their properties.
While Homestay can be a fun way to plan your accommodation, it's not the only option! If you don't think Homestay's the exemplary booking service for you, check out all the other best vacation rental sites to use for some more inspiration!
Plan your next trip with Pilot
As you plan your next travel adventures, make sure you check out Pilot.
With Pilot, we will help you discover, plan, and relive your trips, all in one platform. Our collaborative travel planning app will allow you to discover travel inspiration and plan cool, fun adventures with your travel buddies!
Above all, our travel planner is currently free, but not for long. Join the waitlist now!