Swapping Hotels for the Homestay Experience

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With no relatives living abroad and all my overseas friends being as nomadic as myself, I rarely get the chance to stay outside of hotel beds when travelling around full time as a travel blogger. Of course it isn’t the first time, and some of my now best friends around the world have been people I have stayed with in their apartment or met in always the most random situations! But for the most part, I call hotel beds home [and still can’t believe it is my job to travel the world like this!]

But when I heard about a newcomer to the travel scene, Homestay, I was quick to volunteer myself to try it out.

The concept is pretty simple: you book yourself a room in someone’s house (or in my case a caravan in someone’s backyard!) Instead of booking out their place while they’re away, the whole idea is to stay at their house WHILE they’re there – because who else can give you a local’s experience than a local themselves!?

So let me plead my case for the Homestay Experience, because it surely won’t be the last time I try it out…


The Homestay Experience

I had a few days spare in my itinerary in London and wanted to escape the city for a couple of nights. There were plenty of choices on offer around England but as I didn’t want to venture too far, I opted for an escape to the seaside in Brighton. The Homestays on offer in Brighton didn’t excite me nearly as much as the gypsy-style caravan I found a short drive outside of Brighton, so I invited my friend Emma along (also a WOWTEAM member) for a girls weekend! Emma is in the middle of a move from London to an even bigger city, so I knew she’d be up for an escape from the city and into the countryside we drove!

Lisas house

We were welcomed with a warm smile and even warmer cup of tea and before we had a minute to unpack, we were given all the recommendations, directions and instructions we could have hoped for from our beautiful host Lisa! As is often the case with people who welcome travellers into their homes, Lisa was a traveller herself, and we spent hours swapping travel stories and recommendations!

Lisa’s little caravan in her backyard was of course as cosy as it looks and made for a great base to explore Brighton from. Brighton is surprisingly quite large and very busy with traffic, so it was a much nicer idea to base ourselves just outside of the hustle and bustle and really get that countryside escape we were excited for! But when the night fell, we were straight out the door and driving into Brighton for a girls night out!

Brighton Silo Cafe

Local Recommendations 

As cutesy as Lisa’s little caravan was, the absolute best part about staying with a local is getting that true local experience. Not only were we given loads of tips on where to go, but Lisa also pointed out where to find the cheapest parking in the city, what time of day was best to go where, and some personal favourites of her own.

Before we could make our way out the door each morning Lisa would offer to make us anything we so desired for breakfast! Given we were on a slight health kick of sorts (after a week of indulgence in Portugal), we were delighted to take up her offer for fresh breakfast smoothies in the morning!

Brighton - Homestay Experience

Swapping Cities for Small Town

Undeniably my favourite part of this trip was to escape to the English countryside and see more of England beyond London. While I love London (and you can book some great Homestays in London), I’ve been enough times now to remain in love with the city, but don’t want to spoil it! So swapping the city for small towns was my favourite part of my Homestay Experience. Instead of staying right in the centre of Brighton, we opted to book a Homestay a short drive out of Brighton (the village was called Streat, just outside of Brighton). This meant that we could enjoy the best of both worlds – the quiet slow pace of countryside England, combined with the hustle and bustle of popular Brighton by the sea. All in all it felt like I was experiencing the true British lifestyle by stepping out of London and experiencing my first Homestay experience!


With thanks to Homestay for arranging my first Homestay Experience! It will be the first of many I’m sure!

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    ana catarina pires
    April 16, 2016 at 8:25 am

    Hi Brooke,

    I´ve been to Brighton before but never spent the night. Can you please share the link of the caravan as i would love to try it ? I checked on Homestay but there are dozens of accommodations in Brighton and I can´t find this one.


    Kerjan | Backpack Babe
    November 9, 2015 at 5:13 pm

    I just adore this! I’m staying at homestay right now in Bali and they are the sweetest! Really gives you a glimpse into their culture 🙂 thanks for sharing! xx

    November 2, 2015 at 8:50 am

    This is one of the reasons why I love couchsurfing.

    I’ve also said that even if I had the money to stay in five star hotels I would still couchsurf. It’s an amazing way to meet the locals and I’ve had so many amazing experiences using the website.

    Photo Retouch Free
    October 29, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    wow very nice nice home this is pretty cool.

    October 29, 2015 at 6:20 am

    […] While the accommodation market isn’t nearly as over saturated here as it is in London, there are still many great options on offer in Brighton. For my visit to Brighton, I chose to swap hotels for a more local experience and booked a Homestay in the small village of Streat, just outside of Brighton. This made for a great balance between busy Brighton and the English countryside lifestyle – the best of both worlds! Read more about the Homestay Experience here. […]

    October 29, 2015 at 12:56 am

    This really seems to make it from being a touristy trip to a trip where you really learn about the place and see what it feels like to live there!

    October 28, 2015 at 3:20 am

    Sounds like a great solution especially for solo travellers. Might try it out next time!

    October 27, 2015 at 11:38 pm

    This sounds so cool! Would like to try it in the future 🙂
    Jabeen x

    Robyn - The Flashpacker
    October 27, 2015 at 10:24 pm

    Out of interest, how is this any different from AirBNB? That’s obviously already a massively popular way of staying in people’s houses (whilst they’re there, as with this Homestays thing) and has been around for ages. I’ve been staying in AirBNB places for a couple of years now and they are brilliant for all of the reasons you give here, with the added benefit that you can choose them based on trusted reviews. Am I missing something or is this basically the same concept?!

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    October 27, 2015 at 8:49 pm

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    October 27, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    What a fantastic idea! Will definitely have to check it out soon.

    October 27, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    Every time I travel somewhere, I would immediately book a hotel, plus it can get pretty pricey at times. Glad that you share your experience on home-staying, I’ll make sure to book myself a home-stay next time!

    October 27, 2015 at 6:22 pm

    MY BROOKE !! THANKS TO LISA FOR HELPING U ABOUT UR ITINERARIES ND HOME STAY! I THINK EVERY FRIEND OF U FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD SHOULD OFFER U HOME STAY…YEAH !! ITS A STRUGGLE SOMETIMES !! BROOKE !! Ur a real girl !! u struggle more than the overseas students !! To be honest, sometimes struggles give us pleasure to live with hardship reality !!

    Adelaide Haynes
    October 27, 2015 at 4:39 pm

    All about getting a locals insight to way of life.
    Plus, they usually know the best places to go out and about for food, coffee or drinks! Definitely discover places that won’t appear in a lonely planet book!