A Guide to Homestay Etiquettes
A homestay as opposed to a hotel or a hostel is the best cultural immersion you could get. At a hostel or a hotel, you would inevitably meet new people, other travellers and hence may not get a feel of the local cultural norms. You may also get a travel buddy to continue your trip with. A homestay is a perfect way to dive right in and experience the city through the eyes of a local. There are ample choices online where you can find a free homestay or bed 'n' breakfast, like Couchsurfing or paid one like Air BnB. Regardless of whether you are paying, there are few things one must keep in mind while staying in someone's home.
Here's a detailed guide to the homestay etiquettes:
Be Polite and Courteous
This goes without saying but needs mentioning nevertheless. A homestay host may not be as accommodating as a hotel manager may be. Their cultural norms may be different and they may not be used to foreign tourists. Since you are staying in their home, be courteous about their needs too, for example, don't play very loud music. A little greet in the morning or when you see them can never go wrong.
Ask Your Host About the House Rules
The hosts may expect certain house rules to be adhered to. They may not want pets, have curfew timings, or discourage smoking inside the house.
Respect their Property and Privacy
Although the house is a shared space, it is still their private property and you must refrain from visiting any parts of the house the hosts are not comfortable having you over.
Don't Assume Liberties
Treat the homestay like your relative's house. I purposely edited the sentence to edit out "your own house". Keep your room tidy and make your bed before you leave for sightseeing. Use electricity and water judiciously.
Bring a Gift
This may not be necessary if you are paying but, a gift is a sweet gesture that can instantly win the heart of the host. The hosts have to like you to offer insights into the local culture and some hacks to save money. In western countries, it is common for guests to bring wine. Alternatively, you could bring a local souvenir from your home country.
Lastly, if you change your plans last minute, inform your hosts about the change without asking to stay longer. Your hosts may offer if they want to but, it is best not to put them in an uncomfortable position.