Village stays offer a unique full-immersion cultural experience in the destination of your choosing. Having the opportunity to feel like part of a community is an invaluable resource for any travellers’ portfolio.
Having the possibility to experience being a part of a community which one is visiting, is a unique opportunity which will not be forgotten.
Have you been thinking about village stays, but aren’t quite sure that it is suitable for you? Continue reading below for 10 reasons to try a village stay and you will realise how good an option it is!
1. The old traditions
It has long since been said that travel is the best teacher. There is high value in learning about the day-to-day lives of people and cultures other than one’s own. Off-the-beaten-path communities offer such rich learning experiences. As traditional ways have a tendency to drop away in our modern lifestyles, the opportunity to learn these valuable life lessons grows smaller every year. Many village communities continue to practice the old traditions. Village stays make it possible to live the destination, not just to visit it.
2. Participating in local celebrations
As living a destination is so special, an additional ‘perk’ to the village stays is the ability to join in with local festivities. This is not something a traveller is able to do when staying in high tourism areas. There are festivities, of course, however they are mainly focused on the tourists. Festivities in small communities with low – no tourists means that the traveller will be able to experience these local happenings on a scale which is meant for the community, not the visitor.
3. Local food
Foodies, you are in for a treat! Meals with the host family are usually included as a part of village stays. Meals are local and family-style cuisine, affording one the opportunity to sample delightful dishes one would not otherwise have the chance to try. Many of these local dishes can include rare food ingredients only found in the local area. Usually, this is because the food is locally produced, fresh and cooked by the real locals, not by international chefs!
4. Different value for your money
Village stays offer a high value for money. As prices in village communities are often quite much lower than in the larger tourist – laden cities, it makes it possible to keep the pricing for village stays lower than it would be for average accommodation in a city area. Add to that inclusive meals, local itinerary ideas and a host family that is excited to share their history, culture and language and that is already quite an extensive value for the money.
5. Find the hidden gems
‘Go where the locals go’ is one of the most valuable mantras of travel advice. Want authentic food? Find out where the locals eat. Searching for a peaceful trek with breathtaking views? Follow the locals. Have the desire to purchase quality handicraft instead of cheap mass-produced souvenirs? Ask a local. Why spend your holiday asking the kiosk sellers where the best places are when you can take a village stay and have all of that information available to you readily. Host families are excited to share their culture, their community, their lifestyles. That’s a part of the reason they host travellers. Learning about the hidden secret places that only locals know is a bit of magical travel experience. Visiting these places, even more so. Take advantage of the wealth of information available to you during your stay in a village.
6. Make memories
You are making memories. Not only memories for yourself, your children or with whom you are travelling but also for those in the community which hosts you. Making lifelong friends with the locals is not unheard of and in many ways can foster an environment of creating continuing memories from the one travel experience. Whatever you do, be certain to take the time to appreciate making memories that will last a lifetime.
7. Help the local communities
Village stays contribute to the local communities. In addition to contributing monetarily to the communities, travellers are also contributing by sharing their own cultures, history and language. The people in the hosting community are learning from the travellers, just as travellers are learning from the hosting community. The ability to share experiences is the creation of a bond. You have the ability to contribute to a community simply by being there!
8. Feel like a member of the family
When travelling, it is quite the normal feeling to be an outsider that is observing a culture and history of which you are not a part of, in most circumstances. During village stays however, the traveller is treated as a member of the family, a member of the community and as such is invited to participate in local festivities and happenings. This opportunity for inclusion is quite rare and one should not only appreciate the opportunity but respect the culture and show such respect by learning as much as possible about it.
9. Get out from the tourism bubble
Traditional forms of tourism have a tendency to feel a bit isolated from the destination itself. Programmes, pre-arranged trips, special tourist areas – all catered to the tourism experience, but which can also be far-removed from the real life at the destination itself, are what is meant by the ‘tourism bubble’. Taking a village stay will give the traveller a unique experience, one in which the traveller is considered as part of the community and is able to help with chores, join celebrations and help to prepare food for all to eat. This offers a unique perspective on the destination and creates memorable experiences for both traveller and hosts!
10. Slow down and relax
The pace of daily life in many villages is slower than the daily hustle and bustle of life in the cities. As a traveller experiencing the daily life in the destination village, you will have the opportunity to take a break and just sit, enjoy the views, or do some daytime exploration of your own. Village hosts think it important to make time allowances for their guests to have their own time. As daily life in the destination is the experience, ‘downtime’ in a family environment is a perfect opportunity to just slow down and enjoy the smaller things in life. Relax a bit and refresh yourself by taking a village stay during your holiday!
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