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Author: abersky

Joined: 11/29/2012
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

November 29, 2012

 The only downside to this otherwise fantastic trip was the home visit. Our whole group stayed at the same home site but we were divided into two different buildings. The accommodations were totally unacceptable. There was a prevailing odor of animal unine throughout the complex, the beds were uncomfortable, and the bathroom toilet did not flush. Very late at night we had to call our tour guide and seek out a resident of the home to address the problem. In addition, all the interaction following the evening meal was with the men of the house only. We had almost no interaction with the women. It was a huge blemish in an otherwise delightful trip. It left all of us weary and unsatisfied the next day. I would never recommend this trip because of this experience.

Author: grandcircle

Joined: 3/5/2010
Posts: 271
Trips Taken: 0

November 30, 2012

 Hello abersky,

We're sorry to hear that the home visit during your Turkey's Magical Hideaway trip was unsatisfactory.  I have passed this feedback along to our product manager, and someone from our Traveler Relations department will be contacting you offline to discuss further.  As always, we appreciate the feedback -- both good and bad.

Regards,

Tamara

Forum Moderator

Author: garyrr

Joined: 8/25/2012
Posts: 118
Trips Taken: 17
Countries Visited:

Tanzania, Botswana, Zimbabwe, S Africa, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica, Belize, Panama, Peru, New Zealand, Greece, Turkey, Albania, Croatia, Montenegro, Czech, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, India, China, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Italy, Ireland, Great Britain, Netherlands, Belgium, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia

Traveler Since: 2000

November 30, 2012

I've never taken a trip with a "home stay" -  and am VERY RELUCTANT to do so.   There are several trips (especially OAT) that I'd like to do -   but I don't because of the home stay.  I wish there were "options" to stay at a hotel or lodge instead -  give us the "option" -  then I'd take the trip!

Author: gaynell

Joined: 8/12/2010
Posts: 141
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

November 30, 2012

On our Turkey's Magical Hideaways trip, we had quite the opposite experience of the original poster. 

Although there were many animals in the village we were in, we could not smell them from the houses where we stayed. We enjoyed walking around this little town, and people were very friendly and interacted with us.  We had an attractive private room, as did each couple (single women were in a room together, and there were no single men on our trip.)  Beds were comfortable, and the plumbing worked fine.  Although the men of the family dominated the hour where we were presenting small gifts to the family and hearing the story of their lives (The men's lives only; the women didn't speak up)  there were other less public times when we were able to "talk" to the women through our guide and to connect with them. In the morning, I helped to cook French toast on a grill set into the fireplace (yes, she cooked in a fireplace!) of the kitchen with the mother of the family, flipping the slices as she fed small twigs into the fire. We ate it with sweet cherry jam that she had canned herself. I am thinking of her smiling face as i write this, and remembering how we were laughing and communicating with gestures. The whole experience was pleasant and comfortable, and we enjoyed it very much. Believe me, we have slept in a LOT of worse places!

Perhaps the moral is "nothing ventured, nothing gained?"  It's only one night of your whole life.........If it's a truly bad experience, it makes a good story later. And if it's a pleasant experience, it's a good memory later.

Author: ngbg

Joined: 6/10/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 2006

November 02, 2013

This was our first trip with OAT and we still consider it one of our favorites.  The home-stay was a unique experience and we loved it.  We were in a small, clean, out-of-the-way village beautifully situated near a lake  - we even got slightly lost en route and had to stop for directions.

Our lodgings were on the second level of the house -  the first floor being for storage and such.  Four rooms were given over to our group of 14 - two for the women and two for the men.  The bedding were very comfortable divans with pretty linens and there were generous double washrooms.  The family slept at neighbors but were otherwise very much in evidence, making us welcome, feeding us  and showing off their adorable toddler granddaughter.  We presented small gifts including a frisbee which was enjoyed by all.

We woke to the sound of roosters crowing and spent a leisurely morning strolling down to the lake and through the village and to the school.  Children and adults were cheerful and friendly.

We were lucky to have had a splendid guide (hi Betty!) with a great sense of humor and I'm sure she had a great deal to do with making this experience so memorable.  I wouldn't have missed it for the world.

Author: suepoor1234

Joined: 7/20/2011
Posts: 38
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

All the states except Hawaii; east and west Canada, all of Western Europe(except Iceland and Greenland); the Baltics and Scandanavia; Belarus, Poland, Ukraine; Russia; Turkey, Jordan and Israel; China, Mongolia, and Tibet; Egypt, Morocco, Tanzania; Mexico, Costa Rica, Guatamala, El Salvador; Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Peru, Argentina; Australia and New Zealand; Antarctica.

Traveler Since: 2007

November 03, 2013

garyrr, I am so sorry you are limiting your opportunities by discounting home stays.  The last home stay I had was in a village in China.  The families welcomed us into their homes and we had, after some initial shyness, a wonderful time.  Our group was split among several homes. Three of us single ladies had the entire second floor of a large home to ourselves. Each had our own room, complete with Chinese tv shows!!, and we shared an indoor (Western-style) bathroom.  We had a chart with questions and answers in English and Chinese so we could "talk" to our hosts.  We even helped create the meals.

We had shopped for some fruit and veggies before the visit, and we shared those with the family.  We gathered in a central home and had a Q&A.  The answers were quite open. After supper, we joined the village at the town square in their evening dancing.  After the tai chi? exercises, the music was Western. Almost everyone joined in.  An American college group was visiting there as well, and we had a wonderful evening.  Records are kept of local participantion, and they get some sort of gifts for doing their exercises every night -- an interesting reward system for better health.

In short, don't be reluctant to go on a home-stay. Just be open to the experience and enjoy.  OAT/GCT is not going to send you to a night in a mud hut.  It's one night -- haven't we all spent at least one miserable night in an airport or crappy motel room? -- and you will get a singular insight into the culture of the people. You will remember it and talk about for years!! 

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