Many modern travelers are ditching the safety net of hotels, daring to leave their comfort zone for an entirely new and enriching kind of adventure. Homestays are gaining in popularity because they provide a unique one-of-a-kind stay to those scoping out the most authentic experiences around the world.
With various accommodation choices from shared dorms and campsites, to be a welcomed guest in a family home, electing for a homestay affords one of the richest, rawest, and most fascinating experiences to discerning travelers who want to explore a new country and its culture in a true and honest way that hotels could never deliver.
Memorable, real, and very budget-friendly, choosing a homestay over a hotel or hostel is the perfect way to learn new languages, connect with a country's people, and get to know their customs and culture on an extremely personal level. If you're seeking out meaningful new travels unlike anything else you've ever experienced, these authentic homestays around the world might just be good starting points.
8 Tighza Valley, Morocco
Tighza Valley in the Atlas Mountains is where a good number of Berber families welcome foreigners into their modest, simple homes to enjoy this beautiful area that's far from the civilized cities of Marrakesh and Casablanca.
Here, guests leave the preconceived notions of Morocco at the door and step into a scenic new Moroccan world home to alpine trails, stunning hiking routes, and mountains that rival even the most popular Instagrammable destinations.
The valley offers visitors a real, raw, and rural Moroccan lifestyle, which is as simple as it is fascinating. Women farming the fields, goat shepherds caring for their herds, and local children playing in the street are all norms here, where the slow pace of life is both relaxing and entertaining.
7 Bohol, The Philippines
"Behold, Bohol!" is the region's catchphrase, and for good reason - the island is one of the most breathtaking places in the Philippines. Perfect beaches, beautiful rice terraces, mighty tropical forests, towering waterfalls, and the world-famous Chocolate Hills combine with a lively city scene and nightlife to create an all-around incredible destination. Whilst there's no lack of hotels and resorts, one of the best and most authentic ways to behold Bohol is to stay with a host family in their basic, modest house.
Filipinos are famous for their warm hospitality and friendly personalities, and many families adore welcoming foreigners into their homes, taking good care of them, and showing them a brilliant time in true Filipino style. Locals are more than happy to show you the local attractions, towns, and cities, as well as accompany you on mesmerizing day trips like to the incredible caves, sandbars, beaches, caves, river cruises and so much more.
At the end of the day, when you're enjoying an authentic home-cooked Filipino dish along with a bottle of Red Horse beer and a Tanduay and Coke, you'll realize there's no other place on Earth you'd rather be.
6 Kerala, India
India promises plenty of enriching homestay experiences, but nestled on the country's southwest tip is Kerala, where the way of life is a million miles from the bustling India that we're all familiar with. This picturesque coastal town is postcard pretty, with a glistening ocean that blends harmoniously with tea and spice hills that are all nothing short of stunning. In the town, you'll also find beautiful temples, boathouses, and heritage homes featuring unique architecture.
And if the spiced aroma and salty air don't tempt you, perhaps the promise of fantastic festivals, celebrations, wild elephants, and laid-back friendly Indian people will draw you in. The local population is very easy-going and kind, and they all love to welcome foreigners to their little piece of paradise, offering low-cost accommodation that varies from larger architectural buildings to more modest smaller houses.
Welcoming hosts can't do enough for visitors, offering lifts into town as well as bicycles for enjoying a ride past Kerala's lovely beaches and temples. One thing's for certain - you'll find this gorgeous Indian jewel very difficult to leave once everyone here has made you feel right at home.
5 Yuvacali, Turkey
Yuvacali village in the southeast of Turkey immerses visitors in the traditional Kurdish way of life. It's in no way an easy lifestyle for the villagers who typically live off a mere few dollars daily. But a low income doesn't mean closed doors - many families offer eye-opening homestay experiences to visitors interested in spending time learning about their customs and modest lives. Guests can sleep under the stars in beautiful canvas tents decorated with cultural designs, or experience staying in an authentic mud-brick house - both of which are sure to fascinate.
Those who are welcomed into this community can get involved with farm work, learn to cook traditional cuisine, and enjoy chit-chat with the friendly local people who delight in sharing their culture and stories with outsiders. Though this experience isn't for guests who need hotel comforts, open-minded travelers will feel right at home with the host families here who are incredibly warm, friendly and generous, and who embrace guests with open arms.
4 Lake Titicaca, Peru
Visiting Peru shouldn't only be about discovering some of the world's most magical archaeological wonders and amazing history - the country's fulfilling homestay retreats equally make the journey worth it. When visitors are done exploring Peru's treasures - such as the pretty Pacific beaches, the Inca ruins, and the jaw-dropping national parks - they should definitely look beyond the tourist spots and seek a Peruvian homestay break.
Opting for this enriching experience gives guests a transparent insight into one of the planet's most historically important nations, which is full of ancient remnants, rich history, and strong cultures. There are plenty of homestays available, with great city locations being Cusco and Lima - Peru's capital city with its colorful accommodation.
However, homestays around Lake Titicaca are where the authenticity of an off-the-beaten-track way of life can be savored in its rawest form. Here, in addition to a genuine Peruvian lifestyle, guests can enjoy tours of the floating reed islands, Andean music, at marvel at ancient pre-Inca ruins and old agricultural areas.
3 Amazon Rainforest, Brazil
There's no better way to explore the Amazon than an authentic homestay, where visitors can get a real sense of the culture and lifestyle in this incredibly rich, dense, and untouched region of the world. Guests are matched with an indigenous Amazonian family who provide either a modest room in an eco-lodge, or offers the chance to get back to nature by camping underneath the lush forest canopy - it doesn't get much purer than that.
Traditional in style, the smartly designed thatched lodges are built from natural resources from the surrounding area and are simple in nature whilst boasting a few modern comforts. And what makes staying in them even more unforgettable are the hosts, who are friendly, welcoming, and keen to share their way of life with guests.
Free-spirited, curious visitors seeking the ultimate adventure, who desire to experience an indigenous way of life, trekking through the raw jungle, taking in unrivaled natural landscapes, and living amidst wildlife will find this homestay eye-opening and truly unbeatable.
2 Sapa, Vietnam
This southeast Asian nation is popular amongst backpackers not just for its perfect beaches and magnificent tropical lands, it's also because of its beautiful culture and warm people. Homestays here vary from energetic city locations to tropical island villages and green farmlands lined with rice paddies.
In particular, Sapa - an old town tucked away in the Hoàng Liên Son Mountains - is a homestay favorite. Magnificent farmlands and rice terraces dominate the landscape and are the main source of income for the hospitable host families who welcome visitors to their homeland for an authentic getaway far from the rest of Vietnam's hustle and bustle.
Chatty, friendly, and very welcoming, Vietnamese families here take pride in hosting foreigners and will love to show you off to their friends and neighbors whilst showing off their stunning surroundings to you.
Expect to be well-fed with traditional dishes, given plenty of local booze to drink with your fun host family and friends, and when you're done making yourself at home, you'll be ready to climb the nearby mountains and visit the hill tribe markets. Plus, if you're really into it, you can volunteer at the local school and be mobbed by all the adorable and excited kids who'll want to be your best friend.
1 Brest Oblast, Belarus
Brest town is in Belarus's southwest region and shares a border with Poland. It's a historically rich area home to fascinating war memorials, galleries, and monuments, in addition to the impressive Belovezhskaya Pushcha National Park. This part of the country really stands out from the Soviet-inspired rest due to its neighboring nations in the European Union, which makes it an intriguing and interesting part of Belarus to visit.
Visitors to Brest can enjoy warm homestays run by local families who take joy in showing off their town. They'll take you under their wing and show you the local attractions, cook you traditional Belarusian meals, and get you indulging in epic outdoor activities like hiking, fishing, cycling, along with various other awesome escapades.
The local people in this town adore nature and the vast outdoors, so don't be surprised if you're roped into spending quality time with your host family enjoying all that Brest and its stunning landscapes have to offer.