What is a family homestay?
Family homestays are a style of accommodation in which guests stay in the home of a local family, eating meals with them and participating in the daily life of the host community. Homestays are an important part of the Masar Ibrahim’s community-based approach to trekking tourism, serving as both a tool for economic development and a valuable window into local culture.
What should I expect from a homestay?
Expect to experience the local lifestyle in an entirely new way! When participating in a family homestay, walkers sleep in a local home, eat local food, and participate in local events and community activities.
Host families vary in their income: while some houses may be quite comfortable, others may seem simple and basic by western standards. Some homestay hosts can offer guests their own room to sleep in; others provide mats or mattresses on the floor of the living room.
In all homestays, you can expect to be treated like family and cared for very intentionally. Hospitality is a prominent characteristic of Palestinian culture and an important value in each community along the trail. Your hosts will take great care to ensure that you are comfortable and well fed, and the coffee and tea will flow freely! There may be some barriers to communication, but families will be interested in swapping stories; and if there are children in the home, expect to play some children’s games.
Homestays offer travelers an incredibly authentic experience, but they may be intimidating to some. For suggestions on navigating homestays and other interpersonal interactions in the region, see our guide to cultural considerations.