Many seniors in India get the ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ once their children move out. In most cases, children leaving also means having extra rooms on their hands. Also, as an older adult, you may have retired/handed over your business and are looking for means to earn some cash without much hassle, while keeping yourself also occupied.

This is exactly where homestays come in!

What are homestays?

Homestays are the new trend that is taking the holiday world by storm. People all over the world are opting more for homestays than in impersonal hotel rooms. Homestays are not only economical and interactive, but they are also a way for tourists to experience the local culture. They are also largely preferred by families with young children and older adults who do not or cannot eat outside. Homestays are a blessing for such families as they can cook their own food in many homestays as well.

The concept of homestays has been quite popular in foreign countries for a while but is now gaining traction in India as well.

India has always followed the principle of “Atithi Devo Bhava” which means that a guest should be treated as God. Thus, hospitality towards guests is of top priority in India.

People who opt for homestays are usually looking to experience the various places India has to offer rather than just visit them. For such people, homestays are the best options. In many remote places like Sikkim, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Ladakh and Spiti in upper Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand offer beautiful and convenient homestays. These are preferred as there are not many hotels in the vicinity.

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How can you convert your property into a homestay?

There are websites like Airbnb, MakeMyTrip, and homestaysofindia.com that list out various homestays in India. These portals provide you a means to advertise your property. You should list out all the amenities you would like to provide your guests. Amenities include gas connection, stove, kitchen access, separate bathroom and toilet, other leisure options like walk/exercise area or swimming pool. You should be totally honest with what you have to offer so that prospective guests can decide whether they wish to stay at your place or not.

Posting pictures of your property and the amenities you are offering is likely to draw more visitors to your property. After a stay, guests are expected to write about their experiences and feedback on the websites. As you get positive feedback, your clientele will grow.

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You make the rules

You can decide the level of interaction you would like to have with your guests. If you wish to not meet them at all, you can mention that on the website too. There are various other options for you like whether you would like to provide food for your guests or whether you could accompany (act as a guide for) them on their trips in your city.

You can decide when you want to host (permanently/temporarily), and you can block the dates when you are not available. You can also include details like how many nights you would like guests to stay and how much in advance someone has to book. Websites like Airbnb have pricing tools that help you correctly price your property so that you get the correct rate. You can also add additional charges like cleaning charges or even late check-in fees.

These websites provide cover against damage as well, in the rare case that some guest damages your property. You can call them and get your damage covered by the insurance amount.

However, the chances of such damage happening are very less. These websites run numerous checks on the homestays as well as the guests so that everyone has a great experience.

All you have to do is have a clean space and list out your expectations/limitations.

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If you are feeling lonely and looking to interact with people, Couchsurfing is a great way to do it. Couchsurfing basically means that you stay with your hosts while you travel. This is usually done for free, though sometimes you can carry a gift for your host.

As with homestays, you list your property on couchsurfing.com and can connect with millions of travelers who are looking to travel on a budget. Couchsurfing is totally free. However, the goodwill and friendship you earn will last a lifetime. You can also explore new cities and cultures right from the comfort of your home.

Do you have some space that you feel you can rent out? Are you planning to start your own homestay? So what are you wiating for? Do let us know your views or your experiences on homestays in the comment section below.

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