Hotels V/S Homestay. Which is better?

Written by Manavi Sarang

Hotels v/s Homestay has been a trending argument in present times, simply because not only has tourism evolved with several options to choose from but also the pandemic compelling us to choose the best and safest stay during our travels. `

Both are distinctly different concepts used for different reasons. People travel often but find it difficult to understand the distinguishing features of each stay option. Which one is right for you? Let’s find out. 

Most of us have spent a lot of time staying at hotels while travelling as it is deemed popular and dependable among travellers. But while you give hotels the utmost preference, you might be missing out on a bigger competition – Homestays.

There’s no one to blame for that. The process of publicity for Homestays is quite difficult if compared to a mega hotel franchise. But Homestays shouldn’t be competing with hotels, to begin with. They have niche characteristics of their own.   

As you know already, hotels are establishments providing paid accommodation, meals and many services to travellers for a short period. Hotels are famously known for their facilities and amenities and we have grown to love that. 

What is a Homestay?

A Homestay on the other hand is a form of lodging where travellers share a residence with a local of the city they are travelling to. To put it simply, it is someone’s home converted into a hotel.

The concept of a Homestay is very similar to that of a bed and breakfast. The accommodation for travellers is either in the family home or in different quarters near the home. Homestays have significantly picked up the pace over the years. 

Homestays have a bright future in a country like India where ‘Athithi Devo Bhava.’ The literal translation of this phrase is ‘A Guest is God.’ Here, it is an honour to serve guests and take care of them. Indian hospitality is incomparable. 

This culture has inculcated values in people where they go out of their way to impress a guest. This culture will also be a significant aspect to get the business of Homestays booming in the country. 

Besides, it is also a form of income for many people. There are various reasons, some people like making supplemental income through a vacant room. Others simply don’t like leaving their apartment empty. 

What are the advantages of Hotels?

When it comes to hotels, from the exterior, the reception, the lounge to the public areas, every part will showcase beautiful and fancy designs. The goal is to make you feel like a VIP. Hence, the moment you walk through the hotel door, you will be greeted with luxurious visuals and a heavenly scent. 

Besides that, security at hotels tends to be much better compared to anywhere else. With security cameras, special card access and guards patrolling around, you definitely feel a lot safer than usual.

Hotels will surely provide you with exceptional service that includes the staff taking care of your personal needs. The rooms come with lots of amenities that scream luxury and comfort. Hotels also offer a spa, pool and other fancy suite facilities. 

What are the advantages of a Homestay?

Hotels may be luxurious and desirable. But there’s a strong reason why people say ‘Home is where the heart is.’ The word itself brings out a very warm feeling. You feel a sense of belonging even when you’re travelling.

It is safe to say that nobody knows the destination as good as the local occupants. There are certain details that guides and brochures can’t offer. Choosing Homestays will give you an upper hand as well as tons of information about the place you are in. 

Even when you’re looking for the best information online, you will find lots of repetitive and conventional details. Your host is the best person to give you the unique details as well as share experiences of the place. 

Since they have lived there for quite some time and it is their job to know about the place, they will let you know about the shortcuts, scenic routes, locations of speciality and much more to give you the best experience possible. 

Taste the authentic food

The best possible aspect of Homestays is authentic food. In hotels, you usually eat westernized food that fits the general audience. You also end up spending quite a lot of unnecessary money on food.

But at a Homestay, I can confidently say, you will get to taste the delicious flavours of bonafide home-cooked meals. Eating regional food will open you up to a new world of cuisine. You also get to witness the preparation and take back secret recipes as souvenirs. 

India is a land of different cultures and tastes that keep changing after a certain distance. Since every place has a local speciality, this is a great opportunity to try something new. 

Save money and enjoy more on your trip

Your budget is the biggest winner in this situation. Compared to high-priced hotels, Homestays are cheaper and don’t come with hidden costs and taxes. With all the saved money, you can easily take up that extra sightseeing activity or maybe even a trek. 

Hotels are gradually becoming unfavourably expensive. The peak seasons make it even more difficult to save money for your travel. Even if a hotel is affordable, you may be comprising with the cleanliness and hygiene of the place which is not the case for a Homestay. 

Homestays generate income for the locals

This business is run by local families to generate income for themselves and increase the economic value of the place. This is usually not why people travel, but it is extremely important to know how it affects the local economy. 

Spending money on Homestays not only helps the locals financially but also gives the women an opportunity to be more independent. It is the small businesses that need more support and picking Homestays is a pathway to contributing to their income. 

Besides all these factors, a Homestay is more likely to be peaceful and less populated. It will also give you a true cultural experience where the families will invite you to local ceremonies. You will also form unexpected friendships with exciting stories to hear. 

In the times of sustainable and responsible tourism, we are way past hotels. It all comes down to your preference. Hotels will give you a limited, luxurious and comfortable experience. While Homestays offer a boundless, authentic and exciting adventure.

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Manavi Sarang

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