Advice on Choosing a Homestay in Tonga
The intrepid traveller seeking an authentic experience in Tonga should definitely try a Tongan homestay! Stay with a local family to fully immerse in the Tongan culture and enjoy a richer experience than any hotel or resort stay can offer. We go over how to choose a homestay in Tonga in the guide below.
Quick Tips for Staying in a Tongan Homestay
- Be aware of the Tongan customs in order not to offend your hosts, such as wearing respectable clothing, as well as being respectful of Sunday observances – check out Tonga Etiquette: Respecting the Local Customs for more tips
- Homestays are often the cheapest accommodation you’ll find in Tonga
- Homestays are quite limited in Tonga, so if you can’t find one, try a guest house instead
- Check out examples of Tongan homestays in the 10 Best Homestays in Tonga A206.
What is a Homestay in Tonga?
A homestay is when you stay in a local’s home, typically in one of the spare bedrooms. While homestays are popular in other countries, they are only just starting to trend in Tonga, so keep an eye out on websites like Airbnb to find the latest listings. Search for homestays on Airbnb by filtering the “Type of Place” to “Private Room” or “Shared Room” which will show homestay-style accommodations, instead of holiday homes.
Homestays in Tonga are typically in Tongan homes, which may be a little basic than what you might be used to if you’re from a more developed country. You will typically have a private bedroom in the home for your stay and share bathroom facilities with the family.
Some families will offer to cook meals for you or just offer you breakfast but provide access to the home’s kitchen to prepare your own meals.
Location, What is Nearby and How to Get There?
Currently, there are only homestays in the island groups of Tongatapu and Vava’u, so first, you will need to decide which island group you’d prefer to explore (if you’re not visiting both). Compare island groups and what they offer with the following guides:
Once you have decided which island group to visit, you’re going to need to figure out how to get to your chosen homestay. Homestays are typically located a short drive from Nuku’alofa (Tongatapu) or Neiafu (Vava’u), so it’s advised that you have a rental car in order to get to attractions, pick up groceries, go to restaurants, etc. Some homestay hosts may offer lifts into town, but this isn’t a guarantee. Check out how to travel to and around these island grounds in the following articles:
What Facilities to Expect at a Homestay
At a homestay in Tonga, it’s best to come with the expectations of going with the flow. Don’t expect fast WiFi, don’t expect an ensuite bathroom, you shouldn’t even always expect hot water. You will be experiencing real island life, which isn’t full of the luxuries that many of us take for granted. Some facilities and services offered by homestays in Tonga include:
- A private bedroom
- Shared bathroom
- Airport transfers
- Lifts to town
- Lunch and dinner (may have an additional fee)
- Communal kitchen
- Car parking
For any additional activities or meals that the host might offer, make sure you have some cash handy so that you can pay your way.