When we introduce Duara to people who hear about it for the first time, we often hear things like “So you are like Airbnb!”, “But we already get private rooms from Airbnb!” and “Why should we book a homestay from Duara when we have Airbnb?”
Airbnb is a great concept which we use on our travels all the time. However, Duara is different from Airbnb and other accommodation websites offering rental homes and hotel rooms in many ways. Here are the main reasons why Duara Travels is so different from Airbnb:
1. The villages are rural and off the beaten path
Airbnb and other booking websites often offer rental homes in cities and travel hubs. It’s natural because Airbnb is based on a peer-to-peer platform for home owners and travellers in need of a place to stay. As most of its users live in cities, the homes available for rent are rarely located in the countryside.
Duara Travels’ villages are located in popular destination countries, but in rural
regions outside urban areas. They are not impossible to access, but difficult to find since they are not covered in guide books or visitor maps. In fact, most Duara villages are within an easy reach by public transportation but still remain untouched by many travellers. They are hidden gems off the beaten path and it is safe to say that staying in one of them gives your trip much more than accommodation in a local house.
2. With Duara Travels you live with local hosts
Airbnb offers a large scale of accommodation in hundreds of destination countries. What still remains difficult even with all this variety is to find a homestay where you get to stay in a home WITH the hosts, not only IN their house. If you do find an Airbnb with hosts living in the same place they are renting out, they most often carry on with their own life and give you privacy, in other words leave you alone.
But what if you want to learn about local culture and lifestyle with your hosts introducing them to you? In a Duara village you live with your hosts and get to know them as your host family. That is the whole point of our concept: encourage cultural exchange between host families and travellers and create friendships that last a lifetime.
3. Airbnb gives you a place to sleep,
Duara Travels gives you a real experience
At Duara we want to emphasize that it is in rural villages where travellers get to live like locals and get involved in daily activities. It is in the villages where you get to see and experience real life. Each of our host families have different livelihoods from farming and teaching to driving a tuk-tuk or selling fruit at the market and they are all very proud to show you where they work and how they live.
In addition to a private bedroom, guests have a possibility to go farming or fishing with their hosts. They can also learn how to cook local dishes, how to harvest tea and how to milk a cow. A stay in a Duara village gives travellers a chance to learn about the authentic rural life. By staying in an Airbnb apartment in the city you will not get the same experience what you get with Duara Travels.
4. All meals are included during your stay in a Duara village
With Airbnb you usually only get the accommodation, a place where to sleep. Depending on your hosts, you might get a light breakfast or share one lunch or dinner with the hosts, but it’s rare, and it’s not even the point of Airbnb.
As Duara Travels is emphasizing on local village experiences, sharing and learning from different cultures is an important part of it.
That is why guests have the opportunity to participate in cooking, but also share each meal from breakfast to dinner with their hosts. When you pay for a stay in a Duara village, you pay for the whole experience, local home-made food included.
In many of our destination countries, it is difficult to find restaurants where you can get really good authentic food. In our experience, in Duara villages the food is much better than in local restaurants.
5. The whole community is involved
With Duara the experience is never about one host family or one local house, it’s all about the community. There are 3-5 families who have the possibility to host guests in each village. The English-speaking contact person is often from the same village or nearby, and in each village a local community savings group, usually consisting of women whose mission is self-employment, receives a 10% share of the income generated by our travellers.
One of the core values of Duara is that the whole community profits from the tourism business. This is because the entire village is committed to welcoming travellers, showing them the local lifestyle and inviting them to join daily activities.
This doesn't only bring money and new employment options to low-income villages, but also makes people more proud about the area of where they come from.