Homestay is a popular form of hospitality and lodging whereby visitors share a residence with a local of the city to which they are traveling. The length of stay can vary from one night to over a year and can be provided gratis (gift economy), in exchange for monetary compensation, in exchange for a stay at the guest's property either simultaneously or at another time (home exchange), or in exchange for housekeeping or work on the host's property (barter economy). Homestays are examples of collaborative consumption and the sharing economy.
The terms of the homestay are generally worked out by the host and guest in advance and can include items such as the type of lodging, length of stay, housekeeping or work required to be performed, curfews, use of utilities and household facilities, food to be provided, and rules related to smoking, drinking, and drugs.
Homestays offer several advantages such as exposure to everyday life in another location, opportunities for cultural diplomacy, friendship, intercultural competence, and foreign language practice, local advice, and a lower carbon footprint compared to other types of lodging; however, they may have restrictions such as curfews and work requirements and may not have the same level of comfort, amenities, and privacy as other types of lodging.
Independent travelers typically arrange homestays via social networking services. Homestays can also be arranged by academic institutions (for their students that study abroad or participate in student exchange programs). 
A family that hosts a non-family member is a host family. Hosts can also be involved in au pair programs in which a long-term guest stays with a family who provides accommodation in return for child care assistance and light household duties. Au pairs are treated as part of the family and participate in their day-to-day family routines.
|Hosts receive monetary payment||9flats, Airbnb, GuestReady|
|Hosts receive farm work / chores||Helpx, Workaway, WWOOF|
|Hosts do not expect to receive payment||BeWelcome, CouchSurfing, Friendship Force International, Hospitality Club, Pasporta Servo, Servas International|
In 1965, John Wilcock set up the Traveler's Directory as a listing of his friends willing to host each other when traveling. In 1988, Joy Lily rescued the organization from imminent shutdown, forming Hospitality Exchange.
In 1966, psychologist Rubén Feldman González created Programo Pasporto for Esperanto speakers in Argentina. In 1974, with the help of Jeanne-Marie Cash, it became Pasporta Servo and published its first membership directory, which listed 40 hosts.
In 1971, Sue Coppard founded WWOOF ("Worldwide Opportunities on Organic Farms"), a network in which food, lodging, and education is provided to guests in exchange for housekeeping and farmworker services.
In 1977, Presbyterian minister Wayne Smith and U.S. President Jimmy Carter established Friendship Force International, with the mission of improving intercultural relations, cultural diplomacy, friendship, and intercultural competence via organized trips involving homestays.
In 1992, Hospex.org was launched online; it later was folded into Hospitality Club, created in 2000 by Veit Kühne.
In 2004, Casey Fenton founded CouchSurfing, in which accommodation is offered gratis.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Homestays.|
- Prasher, Kalyani (January 7, 2016). "7 Reasons To Choose Homestays Over Hotels On Your Travels". The Huffington Post.
- Green, Molly (January 30, 2016). "How a Homestay Will Make Your Experience Abroad Richer". The Huffington Post.
- "7 Benefits of Living with a Local Host Family". Go Abroad. October 30, 2013.
- Andres, Elaine (April 25, 2012). "The Pros and Cons of a Homestay Abroad". Go Overseas.
- McDaniel, Kelly; McDaniel, Ryan (January 29, 2016). "Airbnb vs. Hotel: Which is Right For You?". Travel Pulse.
- "Experience South America And Find The Perfect Homestay". Forbes. November 18, 2014.
- Rivers, William P. (1998). "Is Being There Enough? The Effects of Homestay Placements on Language Gain During Study Abroad". Foreign Language Annals. 31 (4): 492–500. doi:10.1111/j.1944-9720.1998.tb00594.x.
- "Homestay:Opening a World of Opportunity" (PDF). Australian International Education Conference. October 5, 2004.
- Clarke, Alan (June 2014). "Homestay Lodging: The Next Disruption in Travel". Wired.
- Kirk, Robert William. You Can Travel Free. Pelican Publishing Company.