This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on my links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, that will help keep this website running. Thanks in advance for your support!
This is a detailed and honest review of Homestay.com. Here you’ll learn about the prices, what to expect, the Homestay experience, the pros and cons, a tutorial, photos and more!
HOW I FOUND OUT ABOUT HOMESTAY.COM
I’ve been wanting to immigrate to Canada for a while now. As a matter of fact, I had been in the official pool of candidates through the Express Entry, one of their main immigration systems. However, about a month ago my language test expired, so I no longer was in that pool of candidates to immigrate. Additionally, the score I had wasn’t going to help me immigrate any time soon unless I’d improve my overall score. Since I already had high points for age, education and work experience, the better alternative for me would be to increase my language skills points. So I decided I would go to Canada for a month, take some preparation classes in a language school and then take the test. However, once the government of Canada invites us to apply to become permanent residents, we need to prove we have enough funds to cover our relocation and settlement in Canada. Because of this, I had a very tight budget for my trip to Canada, since I didn’t want to use my settlement funds.
I planned the entire trip, did the math, saw how much everything would cost, set the money aside and once I had it all figured out, I started booking flights, transferring money and enrolling in a language school abroad. However, I got stuck in the accommodation part! I was going to stay in Vancouver and big cities like Toronto and Vancouver are really expensive. So I knew accommodation would eat a big chunk of my budget. I wanted to keep it simple: wouldn’t stay in a hotel but didn’t want to share a bedroom with another 3 other people either.
So decided I would look for a private room like most international students do. The easiest way to find a bedroom: in a host family house, AKA, homestay.
I was looking online trying to find something interesting and reliable about homestays. I Googled it in many different ways but couldn’t find a list of homestay websites that I could check out and compare prices before booking my stay.
So I decided to give it a try with the one website that was always showing up in my researches: homestay.com
WHY I BOOKED MY ACCOMMODATION WITH HOMESTAY
One of the reasons I booked my trip to Vancouver with homestay accommodation is price. They offer budget-friendly stays at host family homes, which is a great option for international students or someone who needs a place to stay for a short term.
Another reason that made me choose to book my stay with homestay.com is when I checked their website it looked neat and very professional. Despite not having any recommendation from friends or blogs, I felt like I could trust their services since they appear to be an honest and legit company.
Additionally, unlike other platforms such as booking.com and Airbnb, homestay.com has a payment policy that allows you to pay for your stay upon arrival. This alone made me feel confident enough to go ahead and complete the booking since there was no full upfront payment. How genius!
Also, you can customize your stay by choosing if meals are included or not, as well as the use of the kitchen. You can search for homes by the location of the house, using the map feature. It’s very detailed, which I love!
Lastly, one of my favorites: the reviews! You can read what previous guests wrote about their experience at that specific homestay. This is extremely helpful and may give us a more realistic idea of what to truly expect. Things like, if the place is noisy, clean, if it’s just like the photos if it’s easy to get to/from and how is the commute to major areas of the city, etc. I love it and I read them all!
WHO IS THIS SERVICE FOR
Staying with a host family, whether that being a bedroom or a separate apartment in the house, like a basement suite, is a perfect choice for those who don’t want to spend way too much money on a regular rental.
First, homestay.com is great because they have both short and long term accommodation options.
This is great news not only for students – who might have a tight budget – or young professionals – who need to save up some money – but also for people who are traveling and need temporary housing as well.
Additionally, if you are new to the city, this can also be an excellent way to enjoy some areas and explore different neighborhoods, before making the big jump and signing a long term lease of an apartment that is located in a part of the city that you might not be familiar with.
Lastly, if your current lease is ending soon and you haven’t found a new place to call home yet, homestay.com can help you find a great temporary place.
WHAT IS HOMESTAY
homestay.com is a private room and homestay booking website, launched in 2013. It’s a home sharing platform that has listings globally, at over 160 countries. The average price per room is $31 a night. They have been featured in National Geographic, Traveller; The New York Times; Chicago Tribune and more.
WHAT TO EXPECT FROM A HOMESTAY
I see homestay kind of as a combination of hotel + hostel. It feels like it’s a bedroom that comes with shared spaces – like the kitchen and the living room for example. There are certain things to keep in mind, though. Not every homestay host will serve breakfast. And some might not allow the use of the kitchen either. So if you know you’ll need to cook at your homestay, make sure you select that option in the filter, while searching for your stay.
HOW TO BOOK AT HOMESTAY.COM
This is how it works: first, you pay the 15% booking fee to secure your booking. Second, you pay the remaining balance of your stay once you arrive, directly to your homestay host. Homestay.com says this may vary from host to host, but I’ve used the homestay.com room booking services three times now and all of my homestay families’ payment options were the same.
WHERE YOU’LL SLEEP
Private or shared bedroom, sometimes with a private bathroom too. Usually, the rooms have either a closet or a dresser and also a desk. Hosts provide clean towels, sheets, pillow, and blanket.
THE PROS AND CONS OF STAYING AT A HOMESTAY
Like everything in life, staying at a homestay definitely has its pros and cons. There are different things to consider when booking a homestay and I believe each of them has its own advantages and downsides too. Also, we need to keep in mind that these aspects are very personal and what may be good for one person might not necessarily be the best option for someone else.
Homestay.com is much more affordable than hotels.
You don’t need to go through that huge paperwork as you would if it was a regular lease.
It’s both short and long term friendly and way cheaper than most Airbnbs.
- The local culture
You get to stay at a host family’s house, which may give you the opportunity to immerse in the local culture as well as to get involved with the local community.
- Move-in ready
When you are moving in with a roommate from school, for example, you may have to bring your own furniture, like your bed, dresser, desk, etc. However, when you book your stay at homestay.com your bedroom is ready to move in with all the essentials, making it easy to take the leap.
- Know what to expect
One more positive thing about homestay.com is that you can browse the listings and get an idea – upfront – of what to expect from your future landlord/roommate. That’s why I love reviews. Unlike moving in with a college friend, or someone random, where you have no idea of how the person’s behavior is or what their cleaning routine is like, being able to read the reviews of past guests as well as the house rules, gives us a great overall idea of what to expect.
You can find places in city center locations, as well as in the suburbs and small towns. So if you’re studying or working downtown, you’ll probably find a homestay nearby. But let’s say you are studying on a campus that’s outside of the city. With Homestay.com you’ll see how easy it is to find and choose a homestay, even if it’s in a small city or the suburbs.
NOW LET’S GET REAL: THE CONS
Sharing a house means less privacy than when you live alone. But as most people have had the experience of sharing a place with parents, roommates or a partner, that may not be a difficult thing to do. Although I understand some people might prefer to live alone, homestays tend to be a temporary housing option, where you can choose to have a private bedroom. This alone makes the whole experience easier.
I used the homestay.com services for the greater Vancouver, BC area. And as you can imagine, the further away from the city center, the better the prices. So in order to stay within my budget, I had to comprise on the location. Still, the three homestays I stayed at were somewhat close to the transit. Ones were closer than others. In my first stay, the nearest bus stop was a 10-minute walk from the house. In my second homestay, the bus stop was 2-3 minutes away. And in my third house, I had to walk 8-10 minutes to catch the bus. You might consider the season you’re going because walking 10 minutes in the Spring/Summer time can feel totally different than walking the same 10 minutes in the Winter…unless it’s a country which its climate is mild throughout the year.
HOW MUCH DOES A HOMESTAY COST?
The average price per room is $31 a night.
For my late Winter / early Spring stay in Vancouver, Canada I got the following rates (in CAD $): $15, $30 and $23 per night, which made my stay average cost at $22 a night.
HOW WAS THE HOMESTAY EXPERIENCE? WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
1. The Homestay Experience
Each stay is different, depending on the location of your homestay, the number of people you’re going to share the common spaces with and depending on the type of lifestyle/routine your host and roommates have.
2. The Company Experience
The booking experience at homestay.com couldn’t be better. Their website is user-friendly, my payments were processed fast, I got immediate access to the hosts’ contact info once my booking was confirmed. Messaging the host in the platform is easy and you can even video message.
3. The Advantages of homestay.com
- Easy to book
Booking with homestay.com was easy and fast. They pre-write your messages when contacting hosts, which makes the process way faster than any other booking platforms I know. You can even send a batch of messages to the hosts. Such a time-saver!
- The company is legit
Homestay.com is not a scam. I have booked 3 different stays through their website and I’ve had NO problems with them.
- Variety of prices and locations
There are tons of homestay listings on homestay.com for different budgets and many different locations to choose from. You’ll definitely find one that suits your accommodation needs and personal preferences.
It can be a great way to help you improve your language skills if you’re an international student or visitor. You get to know what it’s like being part of a community and sometimes, even being part of a local family.
Staying at a family house makes us feel safer, which is a huge plus when traveling solo.
SHOULD YOU BOOK WITH HOMESTAY?
If you are the type of person who can’t follow the rules and absolutely hate sharing common spaces with others, then homestay is not for you.
However, if you are ok with sharing some spaces with others, play by the rules AND if you need an accommodation that’s hassle-free and move-in ready, then YES, you should definitely give homestay.com a try!
What is your go-to accommodation style for a long term trip?
This post contains affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase by clicking on my links, I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you, that will help keep this website running. Thanks again for your support!