Homestay Experience, #HelloHomestay in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Homestay.com is an online booking platform for travel accommodation. Their homestays allow guests to book a room in a local person’s home on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis for a fee. There is a host present during the stay, enhancing the guest’s travel experience with their hospitality and local knowledge.
At Global Yodel we love learning about places around the world through the perspective of the local. We got very excited when we learned about how Homestay.com is changing the way people travel and had to learn more!
We sat down with an actual Homestay.com visiting guest, Vickie, and her hosts, David and Maiko in Victoria, BC, to learn more about this authentic way to travel and discover new cultures. Here are their thoughts on the experience:
Homestay Guest: Vickie Guillory
Occupation: Volunteer ESL facilitator
Place you live: Houston, Texas
Place you visited on your Homestay? David, Maiko and Jackson’s house in Victoria, BC, Canada.
Tell us about your experience being a guest at your first Homestay: The host family, David, Maiko, and Jackson, made me feel welcome in their home. David and Maiko were very friendly, and they had an engaging and charming little man. We were able to spend some time getting to know each other’s backgrounds, and the accommodations were quite comfortable.
What was your reasoning behind staying at a Homestay as opposed to staying at a hotel? I wanted to be able to experience the local atmosphere more readily.
How did a Homestay effect your travel experience? Because of the host family, the Homestay gave me the opportunity to discover parts of the city and surrounding areas that I might not have otherwise known to visit.
What do you love most about Victoria? Victoria is a perfect-sized community. The residents are friendly and helpful, and the summer climate is great for outdoor activities.
Tell us something you learned from your host: They were available to help me find the locations of nearby attractions and how to best use the local transportation.
What was your most memorable shared experience with your hosts? I mostly enjoyed dining at the table and just chatting with Maiko and David, and playing with Jackson.
Do you have any advice for people interested in being a Homestay guest? Just take the plunge and do it.
Homestay Host: David Bercovitz and Maiko Inami
Occupation: Mercedes Benz sales and stay at home mother.
Why did you become a Homestay host? We are a growing family and we want to introduce our children to different cultures from around the world. We love meeting new people and we wanted to welcome people into our family.
Tell us about your experience hosting your first Homestay: It was great having Vickie stay with us. It gave us an opportunity to show off Victoria and learn more about Houston. Vickie has become part of the family over the last two weeks. It was an absolute pleasure sharing our house with her.
Tell us something you learned from your guest: We learned lots about the similarities between Victoria and Houston. We look forward to visiting Vickie and getting to explore her city.
What was your most memorable shared experience: I was very surprised to see how my son took to Vickie. He is 20 months old and learned her name, running around the house saying “Vickie Vickie”. She was out when I got home from work and he came to me and said “Vickie car bye bye”. I know he is really going to miss having her around.
Do you have any advice for people interested in being a Homestay host? Welcome your guest into your family. It is great to get to know someone new and see how quickly they can become family.
Can you sum up Victoria? Victoria is a small town with a big heart. We are surrounded by nature with lots of outdoor activities for every level. Anything from a walk on the beach, to kayaking out on the water to hiking up mount Finlayson. There is something for everyone. We have more restuarants per capita than anywhere else in Canada. There is always something beautiful to see in Victoria.
What is your perfect day in Victoria? My ideal day would start with brunch with friends at Shine Cafe. Head over to Beacon Hill park so my son can play and burn off some energy. Get a coffee at Mocha House on Cook St. and head down to Beach Drive for a walk along the ocean. Then have a nice dinner at home with the family and watch the sunset out on the deck.
What is the best thing about your spot? Location. We are close to the water, downtown, schools (UVIC and Camosun), Cook St. Village (restaurants, coffee shops, shopping), parks and lots more. It is one of the best areas.
What would be surprising about Victoria to an outsider? Victoria is one of the most beautiful cities in Canada. From my travels around the world a lot of people think Canada is all about hard winters. Victoria has the best weather in Canada. It doesn’t really snow here and it never gets too hot. I have heard one person describe Victoria as “what Disney would imagine England to be like.”
Inspired? Want to visit Victoria, British Columbia? Be sure to check out David & Maiko’s Homestay.com listing here.
Want to learn more about the Homestay phenomena? Check out our What the Hell is a Homestay story.