Stay with Locals Blog


Do you know why this website is called The Social Travel Experiment?

No? Then let me tell you!

The original idea behind this website, and my trip around the world is my wish to meet locals while traveling and to teach other people how to do the same. While planning for my RTW trip I found different ways to travel the world more socially, the best one in my opinion is to stay with locals.

In this section I am sharing all my experiences meeting and staying with locals during my travels, including tips on where you can find locals to stay with, and what to do once you have found a willing host.

14 Websites That Let You Stay with Locals

My number one resource on the Stay with Locals Blog is a list of 14 websites that let you stay with locals all over the world. There are not only the websites you might be thinking off, like Couchsurfing where you can stay with locals for free, but also websites that offer an exchange of labor for accommodation, which is a great opportunity to get to know how people in a country work and live. And of course, there are also paid opportunities such as Airbnb.

I had one of the most authentic and unique homestay experiences staying with a Kyoto lady while I was attending a language school. In my blog post How to Have a Authentic and Unique Homstay in Japan I share with you what you need to do to have an amazing homestay experience anywhere in the world.

Stay with Locals Using Couchsurfing

Our Couchsurfing host in Hong Kong

Probably the most famous hospitality exchange network is Couchsurfing. It was also the first website I learned off, where it is possible to stay with locals. I tried Couchsurfing as a host first in Japan, and then as a guest in Taiwan. I wrote about both experiences and have much more information to share with you. Have a look at how to stay with locals using Couchsurfing.

  • What is Couchsurfing and How Does it Work: Learn what Couchsurfing is all about, what kind of people use it and whether you really have to sleep on a couch
  • Why Everyone Should Try Couchsurfing For a More Social Travel Experience: Because I want to convince all of you to try Couchsurfing at least once, I collaborated with other bloggers and asked them about their best Couchsurfing experiences. Let them convince you how amazing it is to stay with localsĀ 
  • What is Couchsurfing Like as a Host: I suggest before you become a surfer, as guests are called in Couchsurfing, you first experience the network by hosting someone from another country. In your own environment you will feel much safer trying something new
  • What is Couchsurfing Like as a Guest: The next step is trying to be a guest. My first experience was during my trip to Taipei and I had an amazing time with my host Emma
  • How to Write a Personal Couchsurfing Request: Other exchange networks such as BeWelcome and Trustroots also require you to write personal requests to every single person you would like to stay with. Make sure your requests are personal and stand out. This post will teach you how

Want to do a trip around the world?
Start planning NOW!

Using the RTW Travel Prep Checklist including 50+ planning tasks.

Stay with Locals Using Airbnb

I assume almost everyone on the internet has heard about Airbnb by now. There has been a lot of negative news over the years because so many apartments are now used exclusively to welcome Airbnb guests. But in my opinion that is not how you should be using Airbnb anyways. I only book Airbnbs where I can stay in them home of someone. Usually in a private room of someones house or apartment.

Even if the interaction is usually less than when I stay with someone using Couchsurfing or Servas, it is still great to have a local person close by to ask questions and to get recommendations from.

My posts about Airbnb will teach you how I stay with locals using the website, and how I find these real locals using the search function.

  • How to Use Airbnb While Traveling: Don’t rent apartments, stay with locals. It’s cheaper, much more authentic, and you won’t be part of the Airbnb problem: Airbnb guests taking up living space that local residents would need
  • How to Stay With Real Locals Using Airbnb: This post will teach you step by step how to filter out only the real local hosts that list their free rooms on Airbnb
  • Is Airbnb Illegal in Japan: Because of the law change in Japan it was very confusing for a while to know whether Airbnb was illegal or not. Find out more about the law change and whether you can stay in Japan using Airbnb

Stay with Locals Using Servas

Our Servas host in Oxford

Servas is a hospitality network I found just before I started on my round the world trip. And I love it so much. It is way better than Couchsurfing in many aspects. The following post contains all the information you need to decide whether Servas is for you or not. And if you decide you want to sign up I have all the information how to do it.

Everything Else You Need to Know About Staying with Locals

Below you can find the posts that might help you after you have found your first host through whatever network. The titles all say Couchsurfing, but I think the below three posts are applicable for any hospitality exchange network and even if you stay with locals through other websites.

When I have a particularly interesting experience staying with a local I usually write about it in my newsletter. For news of my travels, travel tips and updates on new posts I publish, sign up to my mailing list by clicking ‘Subscribe me!’ below.

Never miss a new post!

Authors Note:
None of the experiences in this post are in any way sponsored and have all been paid for by myself. The opinions stated are all my own and have not been influenced in any way.
This post might contain affiliate links. I receive a commission if a product is purchased through one of these links, at no extra cost to you. Please support me by buying products through my links!

[ste-category category="social-accommodations"]