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You must have a lot of questions. We're here to answer them.


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You must have a lot of questions. We're here to answer them.


What you need to understand as a Duara traveller:

With Duara, you stay in communities otherwise difficult or impossible to access.  In some of our villages the families and community members might have never met a foreigner before. Please behave respectfully. This is your opportunity to experience local lifestyle as a family member or a friend – you are more than just a guest. Forget about pools and air-con vehicles and get ready for bucket showers and power cuts! 

We encourage you to ask to take part in daily activities, help your hosts with house work and eat the same food they eat. Remember that hosting travellers is new for the villagers. Don’t let it bother you if things don’t go as expected. If you come across something that needs to be improved, take a deep breath and some notes for feedback - we will make Duara better together. 


This is how it works:

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Browse the villages and book your homestay by filling the form on the village profile. Tell us when you would like to travel and how many people are in your party.
 

The local English-speaking Duara Contact takes care of your booking and gives further instructions on how to get to the village.

 

A community member picks you up from the nearest transportation hub upon arrival. The pickup is included in the price.

You are introduced to your host family and shown around the house. This is your home during your stay with Duara.

 

To minimize our impact on the natural life course of the community, the maximum hosting capacity in all Duara villages is 6 travellers at a time. This means that as Duara customers you usually stay in the village without other travellers.

You sleep in a private room that usually fits two people. You have a bed with clean sheets, a fan and a mosquito net if needed in the area. There's a door with a lock or a cupboard with a locker. 

 

Toilet and washing facilities are usually shared with the family. They are very basic but clean and sometimes located outside the house.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included in the price. You will be served the same food as the family eats. Tell your Duara Contact about your allergies. Vegetarian diet is widely understood, but the families may not be familiar with other, such as gluten free, diets. 

 

Bottled water isn't included and can be purchased from a local shop. Take a couple of bottles with you when you arrive to village. You can also purify your drinking water by filtering it, boiling or using iodine tablets.

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Remember to ask your family about joining daily activities such as market trips, cooking, fishing and farming. Get to know the profile of your chosen village to learn what kind of activities are available or ask the Duara Contact. 

 

The family, Duara Contact and community get your payment directly to their bank or mobile accounts. 

Please leave a review and tell us how your homestay went. The host family and future travellers will appreciate it.


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Get a free copy of our survival guide to help you plan your trip


You are welcome to experience Duara as a family. Children under the age of 4 stay for free and 4-12-year-olds stay for half the price. 

Please notice that Duara is a link between you and the community, but you travel at your own risk. We are not responsible for any damages, loss of property or cases of illness. Make sure you have a sufficient travel insurance, required vaccinations, and inform your Ministry of Foreign Affairs about your trip, according to their instructions. 

By booking your stay through Duara you accept our terms & conditions.

 

This how your payment is divided

Each family in the Duara circle hosts travellers in turns. When a family hosts travelers they get 40% of the payment.

We also want to benefit the whole community. That is why 15% goes to a selected savings group in the neighborhood.

The local Duara contact manages the bookings, pickups and unlikely events of emergency during the stay and gets 15%.

Duara Travels receives 30% to cover the expense of offering and developing the service, including money transfer costs.


Benefit the whole village by staying with Duara

When you travel with Duara, 15% of your payment is directed to a community organisation or local savings group. Not all families are able to host, but we want as many villagers to feel involved with Duara as possible. We believe that income distribution is fair, but it also enhances your security in the village and makes you feel more welcome. 

These groups vary from village to village, but usually they save money together for common purposes, such as giving micro loans to each other, helping the poorest families in need, or organising village festivities. In many cases the groups are lead by women. In some villages the community share goes to a nursery school, a youth organisation or a handicraft producer group.


Frequently Asked Questions

 

How do I get there? Can you help me with travel arrangements? 

Check out the "how to get there" -section in each village profile. You can choose to take a taxi or other transport directly to the location, or take public transport to the nearest transportation hub, where you will be picked up. Duara is not a travel agency: we do not sell packaged tours nor flights. However, we are nice people and experienced travellers. If you have any questions or need advice, we are more than happy to help. Just send an email to Elina: elina@duaratravels.com. 

 

Is it safe?

After a year of being in existence, we still have zero death casualties. Hurray! In fact, safety is the highest-scoring point in our feedback surveys. All our travellers so far have felt very safe. 

Duara is a peer-to-peer service based on trust and common understanding. By choosing to book through Duara you choose to trust the villagers in the other end. We cannot guarantee that nothing will ever happen, but we always choose our locations wisely - you will not be sent into a war zone. 

Your job is to ALWAYS make sure you have a valid travel insurance with wide coverage for damages, loss of property or cases of illness. 

 

What if I get sick? 

If you are not used to the bacteria in the destination country, stomach problems will be the most likely health problem to hit you. However, this is something you might face anywhere in the country, even in urban and developed areas. 

Before your trip, make sure to consult your doctor about vaccinations or medication needed. Malaria pills are advised in some of our destinations. Wash your hands before meals and don’t drink unboiled water. Bring basic first aid items, including diarrhea medicine. Use common sense.

In case you do get sick, your Duara Contact will advise you about getting to the nearest hospital. Be sure to have a valid travel insurance to cover health issues when abroad.

 

Do I need a travel insurance? 

Yes. It should cover not only damages to you and your belongings, but also damages that you may cause to others around you. The host families are not in the position to cover any damage caused to you by them, nor damage caused by you to them or their belongings. If you break something in the house, be prepared to cover the costs.

 

Do the families speak English? 

Some of them do, some of them don’t. We try to pick families where at least one person knows some English, but in some areas this is challenging. Prepare to face a language barrier and overcome it by using Google Translate, body language and universal code. They really work! 

 

What if it feels awkward with the family? 

It really might, at first. This is why we recommend staying at least 4 nights in the village, as it may take a day or two to break the ice. Unless you’re a very smooth socializer. The best way to ease the awkwardness is just to be brave, curious and take initiative in joining the family’s daily activities. Smile, laugh at yourself and throw yourself out there. They’ll love you!
 

 

What kind of people is Duara for? 

Duara is for curious minds who wish to learn about the cultures of the world, and make an impact while doing it. It doesn’t matter if you are young or old, male or female, experienced or not. 

What is required, however, is an open-minded attitude and willingness to compromise some aspects of comfortability. The facilities might be more demanding than at home or in a hotel. Some destinations do not have running water or electricity and toilets are generally the squatting kind. 

 

Can I take children with me? 

Absolutely. This is a great chance to show your kids what life is like in different parts of the world. Of course, you carry the responsibility for them. 

 

Will I be able to eat the food? 

Our prices include three meals per day. Be sure to tell your Duara Contact in advance if you have any allergies or other dietary restrictions – and when you arrive make sure that the family has understood them! Vegetarian diet is widely understood but the villagers may not be familiar with gluten or lactose free diets, you might have to explain these to them.

The food you will be served is very local - it’s part of the experience. Usually the home cooked food that you get in Duara villages is far better than the one in restaurants. If you are extremely picky about food, think twice before embarking on a local adventure with Duara.

 

Are activities included in the price? 

Joining daily activities with the family is included, as long as this doesn’t create any extra costs to the family. You can join cooking, farm work, market trips and temple activities, among other things. If your host family goes out of their way in organising activities and transport for you, you should pay for the extra costs. Ask about the price beforehand.

 

How do you make sure the right people get my money? 

We pay each instance directly to their bank or mobile money accounts. 

 

How do you find the villages? CAN I make SUGGESTions about NEW VILLAGES?

Each village has a Duara Contact, who plays a crucial role in finding the locations and host families. We have found our first Duara Contacts through NGO partners, online communities and trusted friends. We continuously get requests from contact persons globally, wishing to join their village into our network. If you have a village for Duara in mind, visit this page to see the requirements.

The founders visited the first 17 villages personally, making sure all host families understood the concept and fulfilled the requirements. During spring 2017 we give this opportunity to brave, pioneer travellers through our Ambassador Programme - for free! Follow our social media channels to be up to date.

 

I love the idea! What can I do to help Duara? 

Awesome. As a young company, we really appreciate all traveller content created and shared in social media. Please take pictures, write stories and share them to your friends. Remember to tag @duaratravels. You’re also more than welcome to write a free-formed text to the Stories-section of this website. You can send that and any pictures you want to elina@duaratravels.com. 

For those of you feeling adventurous, we are about to launch our new Ambassador programme. It gives you the chance to visit brand new villages as the first customers, for free! We offer this chance in return for some work from your side. We expect you to visit all host families and explain the concept to them together with the Duara Contact. You also need to find a local savings group, and take a lot of pictures. We will of course provide you with all the materials. Contact elina@duaratravels.com if you want to hear more. 

 

DID NOT FIND an ANSWER TO YOUR QUESTION HERE?

Shoot us a message or write a comment on our Instagram or Facebook page. This will also benefit your fellow travellers. If you are feeling shy, you can contact Elina directly at elina@duaratravels.com.