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SUBHA J RAO

It’s always fun to take in a new place in the comfort of someone’s home. If you love experiencing local customs, a homestay is the thing to opt for

The advantage

Homestays fare better over hotels in two areas — there’s more personal interaction, and its easier on the pocket.

The experience

Travelling with like-minded friends or family? Go in for a homestay. You get a home-like atmosphere, make great friends and return enriched about people and their culture.

Take a decision

If you are the kind who likes to be left alone, this is probably not your cup of tea. Since a homestay is part of someone’s house, it is but natural for you to spend a lot of time with them. But, you can always ask them for tips and venture out on your own.

Plenty of options

In South India, there are a lot of homestays in the Nilgiris, Kerala and Karnataka (mainly in Coorg). The Mahindra group also has tie-ups with homestays (mahindrahomestays.com)

Get feedback

Before booking a homestay, you can always seek references from those who have been there before so that you get an idea about what’s in store.

Dos and dont’s

Don’t expect perfection in everything, like in a hotel. This is a home, warts and all.

Check with the hosts about dos and don’ts, especially when it comes to everyday things such as wearing slippers at home or smoking.

Stick to timings. Your hosts take the time out to cook something special for you. Don’t keep them waiting like you would do at a hotel.

Inform them beforehand about your culinary preferences. But, do try the local delicacies, something you can do only at a homestay.

Check with your hosts about the best places to shop, visit and camp. They are locals and no one knows better.

Take a gift for your host. It’s a perfect way to break the ice and can mark the beginning of a great friendship. And, stay in touch.

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