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11 reasons I choose a Homestay over a Hotel, everytime!

Over the last few months, we’ve travelled to different parts of India, from its remotest corners to its most touristy belts. Our team of photographers and travel writers visited more than 700 homestays and personally interacted with as many hosts and locals.  We also discussed the concept with a lot of friends, colleagues and like-minded travellers to understand why they indeed travel, and what has prompted them to move from hotels to homestays.  All this has led us to believe that we are truly onto something magical.

So, while we at SaffronStays are busy curating our website with beautiful properties and travel experiences, I leave you with these reasons to choose a Homestay for your next holiday.

Reason #1 : “I travel to experience a place.”

Homestay Manali

The beautiful backyard of Sneh & Godwin’s homestay in the outskirts of  Manali

We believe that the concept of travel has tremendously evolved in India over the years. While you’d like to visit the Mehrangarh Fort in Jodhpur, you’d perhaps also like to dine at a historic restaurant that doesn’t feature in tourist guides. With the little time that we all squeeze into our lives for travel, it is only important that we make the most of it. A Homestay lets you do just that. When you live with a local, you are exposed to local sights, sounds and flavours. A brochure in a hotel’s reception will never match up to that.

Reason #2: “I feel safe”

Homestay Srinagar

Jyotsna’s homestay in Srinagar where you can stay safe with a family and enjoy your privacy as well.

Homestays are largely run by families or a small staff personally appointed by them. Whether it be a sprawling Farm House in Meghalaya or a simple two bedroom home in the mountains of Sikkim, the hosts themselves take care of everything. It is in their own interest to ensure that theirs is a safe place for travellers to have a pleasant stay in. While living with a family gives you company and makes you feel safe, hosts also ensure that you have enough privacy by letting out rooms in a separate floor or an adjoining building some times. Both safety and privacy are ensured here.

Reason #3: “We can savour home-cooked local delicacies”

Homestay food

A plate full of delicious home cooked meal in Sameer’s homestay in Coorg

The best part about staying in a homestay is undoubtedly the delicious home-cooked food. It allows you to understand local cuisine and even learn what goes into the preparation as most hosts willing share secret recipes with you. A lot of homestays in Rajasthan, for example, hold active cooking classes during meal hours. Without the effort of hunting for local restaurants, you can indulge in Pandhi (pork) Curry in Coorg, Gatte ki Sabzi in Jaipur and Malvani Fish Curry with Solkadhi in a quaint village called Parule near Tarkarli.

Reason #4 : “Sometimes, I need my own local Sherpa”

Darjeeling Homestays

Our host in Darjeeling, Ranju, guides us through her village.

Nobody knows a place better than someone who was born and raised there.  Online research is great but usually, all you have to do is ask and your homestay host will share his local insight and vast network with you in minutes. Whether it be the contact number of a reliable auto driver, closing time of a local museum in Shillong, the timing of a special event in a Fort in Jaipur, the best eateries in Mysore and the dishes you should order or the direction to a virgin beach in Kerala – you’ll get this information from no one but a local and your homestay host is the best person to rely on.

Reason #5 : “I need warm glass of turmeric milk at 10 pm for my 5 year old daughter who has a sore throat”

Homestay Sikkim

A host in Sikkim who gladly opens up her kitchen and large kitchen inventory to guests

Ladakh SaffronStays host

A SaffronStays host in Ladakh

By staying in a homestay with another family (host) around, you can be assured that you’re not alone in case of a medical emergency. As a mother, I sometimes need access to the kitchen to be able to cook khichdi (simple rice and lentil dish) for my parents-in-law or prepare a glass of warm turmeric milk for my kids. A lot of homestays will allow you to use the kitchen or willingly help you deal with different situations.

Reason #6 : “Home stays are comparatively affordable”

Homestay Rajasthan

Experience Rajput hospitality in Prabhut’s homestay in a Bishnoi village without burning a hole in your pocket.

Hotels have become prohibitively expensive.  Especially during peak season, hotels could charge you an arm and a leg.  Homestays, however, offer a clean and affordable alternative and come with better experiences. While you might pay the same price in some places, you do so for the personal care and service that you receive in return.

Reason #7: “I am a curious cat”

Homestay Sikkim

Jignay, a host in Sikkim, plays a traditional Bhutia instrument called Damney for us.

Travellers are extremely curious and want to soak up as many stories as they can. Staying with a family gives you access to a lot of such stories during your many conversations with them. Most hosts have interesting background – some have ancestors who were the rulers or royal Diwans of the local state or Governor General of India or are simple families with deep cultural roots in the place that has been inherited over centuries. In Sikkim, we heard a host play a traditional Bhutia instrument called Damney while in Jodhpur, we heard stories about the Maharaja of Jodhpur – each a lasting experience.

Reason #8 : “Home stays generates income for locals”

Homestays Darjeeling

Homestays help women, like our host Mayadevi, gain income and take charge of the household.

Homestays are simple establishments run by local families to augment their family income.  These families tend to open their homes to locals for want of company or for the sheer passion for hospitality. We’ve visited a number of community run homestays during our travels and have realised that the income that is generated from their operations is usually with the aim of making the women in the families more independent. By staying in these homestays, you contribute to their income.

Reason #9 : “I am a strict Vegan”

Homestay India

Our host, Lalita, gladly dishes up a quick meal on request.

If you’re someone who adheres to strict rules when it comes to food, home stays give that option to you. The temple town of Pushkar, for example, is perfect for vegetarians as you can be assured that the hosts cook and serve just that in their homes. Homestays will also prepare and set up your meals in a specific way and with special care for your needs.

Reason #10 : “We travel as a large Indian joint family”

Host families usually enjoy the company of those travelling as a joint family.

Host families, like that of Tanuja & Dilip’s, enjoy the company of those travelling as a joint family and take special care for their comfort.

As Indians, we like to travel as one large joint family. Most often, you’re not looking for luxury but a caretaker or a host who takes care of all your simple needs. You could simply be looking for a place where mattresses are laid out on the floor and you are allowed the space and privacy to have a good time with your family. While you could be restricted to do so in a hotel, a large number of homestays are all about joint families and accommodate these simple requests.

 Reason #1 1: “Because, there is no better place than a home”

Homestays leave with you a warm, unforgettable experience.

Homestays leave you with a warm, everlasting experience.

While we travel to get away, how amazing would it be to find second homes and make new connections with people that become like family by the end of your trip! We believe that in this busy, chaotic world, travel should leave you with an experience like that. By staying in a homestay, rest assured you’ll never be away from home.

 

Convinced and excited to book a homestay? Visit our website.

Read this to know some exciting tips on how to choose a homestay

About the author: Tejas Parulekar is a first generation entrepreneur who has (ad)ventured into a domain that is traditionally dominated by large hospitality chains and other travel portals. A Banker by experience and Chartered Accountant by training, she is aspiring to leave an imprint in the hospitality sector by bringing together the little fish (Homestays) to take on the mighty shark. Encourage her and her homestay hosts by booking your next stay on www.saffronstays.com.

 

This article has 13 comments

  1. Gina

    I too wiuld like info on homestays…as m a avid traveller

     
  2. rimpy

    We too have a homestay in kasauli.. u can visit our page mahal farms homestay on facebook.. thank u..

     
  3. sangeetha

    Great to See….And Also you can Check with Mysore Sixtythree which is a home stay in Mysore gives very comfortable accommodation with family or friends….Enjoy the mysore trip.

     
  4. Pingback: 10 Tips to Choose the Right Homestay | SaffronStays

  5. JaneChristopher

    Wonderful website. Plenty of useful information here. Hotels in kanyakumari thanks on your sweat!

     
  6. Sunil Jain

    Thanks for sharing your personal experience.

     
  7. DM Villa

    I love this article. This is very well written. You have truly enriched me with some excellent knowledge.

     
  8. Perviz Surti

    Wow! this seems so beautiful and full of warmth. I am sure you must have received all the heartfelt love of the people around. Lovely pictures. All the best for your future trip!

     
  9. Alexander Mulvany

    Hi Tejas,
    Great Blog. My name is Alexander. I used to travel a lot. During my travel i used to stay in Hotels. But after reading your blog i have changed my mind. From next time onward i will stay in Home stay. Thanks for sharing information with us.

     

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