Traveling the world and keeping a sensible budget may seem like contradictory missions, but new options in the hospitality sharing industry make global exploration much more practical. Homestay is one site which allows travelers to live with hosts in their unique corners of the world. As they say, you can live like, and with, a local in one of their 50,000 featured homestays, spanning 150 different countries and sporting surprisingly eco-friendly details. Spending your vacation at an eco-lodge in South Africa or a “peace home” in Nepal without breaking the bank is entirely possible, thanks to growing home-sharing networks. Here are some environmentally-conscious options to consider during your next spell of wanderlust.


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18th Century rural house in Florence, Italy

Hostess Francesca invites guests into her rural, but renovated, home in the hills just 27 kilometers from Florence. Visitors have free range of her extensive organic garden and ample kitchen space in each of her four available apartments to cook a delicious meal. Restaurants and chianti tastings abound in the nearby towns and a hot tub is available for sunset soaks amongst the grunts of wild boars, songs of crickets, and glittering starlight. Francesca invites people to “Bring with you the people you love, is there anything better that is worth living for?”

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Chilekatessen house built on the hills of Valparaíso, Chile

Set in the hills of Valparaíso lies Chilekatessen house, a six bedroom abode with a gorgeous view of the bay and close proximity to public transportation and all the luxuries of city life. Hostess Maria Teresa shares her home and her passion for gardening and cooking with guests, as well as with her young son, Uwe. Private terraces, gardens, and ample daylight brighten the unassuming rooms. Maria Teresa says eco-tourism is her forte, after having traveled and lived across Europe, making this homestay perfect for the conscientious traveler.

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Charming bungalow in Jatiluwih, Bali

Staying at Adiana’s eco-lodge in Bali drops you right in the middle of paradise. Visitors will find themselves mesmerized by the location on the slope of Mount Batukaru, the second highest mountain in Bali. This bungalow home is just minutes away from the Pura Luhur Batukaru Temple, a space for reverence, meditation, and blessings. Each of the four available rooms carry their own flair; some provide views of lush, tropical gardens and spring water ponds, while others face a spellbinding nearby rice terrace.

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“Peace home” eco-resort in Chitwan, Nepal

The Shanta Ghar “peace home” is found in the grasslands of Madi, in the Chitwan District of Nepal. Surrounded by lush jungle, visitors can opt to lounge in the garden with the mango and lemon trees or venture into the wild on birdwatching tours or jungle camp excursions. The eco-resort is proudly constructed from local Sal wood, using traditional Nepali carpentry. Guests can choose between rooms in the main house, deluxe suites with private balconies, or round rooms in the “stone house.” A shared living room allows for mingling while you chow down on vegetarian fare made during Nepalese cooking courses.

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Swell Eco-Lodge on Wild Coast, South Africa

The Wild Coast region of South Africa’s Eastern Cape offers beauty, relaxation, and adventure. Hostess Lee-Ann invites families visiting her Swell Eco-Lodge to share in the view of rolling hills and the sounds of the sea. Wildlife aficionados will enjoy the sights of whales jumping, others the sight of cattle roaming a landscape steeped in history. The lodge features modern Rondavel structures with bright and artistic interior decorating. Both sea-facing and garden-facing rooms offer a place to relax in between outdoor adventures and enjoying a “green way of life.”

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