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Homestay is a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors stay in a house or apartment of a local of the city to which they are traveling. The length of stay can vary from one night to even a year and can be free, in exchange for monetary compensation, in exchange for a stay at the guest’s property either simultaneously or at another time (home exchange), or in exchange for help on the host’s property. Longer term homestays are popular with students that are participating in study abroad programs. Homestays are examples of collaborative consumption and sharing. In cases where money is not exchanged in return for accommodation, they are examples of a barter economy or gift economy.
Students that are studying abroad and wish to participate in a homestay typically arrange them via the same local educational consultant who also organizes the academic aspect of their program. Independent students who assume all of their own travel arrangements can contact a local homestay placement agency to tailor their accommodation details, or alternatively may inquire via their respective school of study.
Travelers that wish to participate in a home stay typically arrange them via a hospitality service.The terms of the homestay are generally worked out in advance and will include items such as the type of accommodation, length of stay, chores required to be performed (e.g., cleaning, laundering, help on a farm), curfews, use of utilities and internet, television or telephone, and rules related to smoking, drinking, and drugs.