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Author: geal

Joined: 12/21/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2010

December 21, 2010

I plan to take the Australia, NZ, Fiji trip in either Feb or March 2011 as a single.  My major concern is the overnight stay at a private home.  Could anyone who's had the overnight stay on this trip please let me know about your experiences--especially if you travelled as a single.  I'm most concerned about sharing a room and sharing bathroom facilities.  Thanks

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 467
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

December 22, 2010

I traveled as a single. I did not share a room but shared a bathroom with a couple from our group -- so there were three of us. The family was very nice, we had an excellent dinner and sat around talking for a few hours before going to bed. We had an early breakfast and then were driven back to the hotel and got on the road for our next stop.

I enjoyed meeting the family but frankly, did not see the point of an overnight stay. Having dinner and conversation was nice but we could have gone back to the hotel that night. Sleeping in their home and having breakfast didn't add anything to the experience. Most in our group thought the same, but I guess the overnight has been on the itinerary for a while so some people must like it.

I think if you strongly object, you can stay at the hotel but you may have to pay for it. I'm not sure, but that's what I heard from someone on our trip.

Author: geal

Joined: 12/21/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 3
Traveler Since: 2010

December 22, 2010

Thanks Luisa.  I called GCT and sales customer service person said I could not have the option of staying at the hotel--no explanation given.  I remain undecided.  Thanks

Author: busyfolk

Joined: 3/18/2010
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 16
Traveler Since: 2008

December 23, 2010

Go. Enjoy. Relax.  We had several in are group who had your concerns.  After they came back they said it was not only good, but a highlight of the entire trip.  I have been less comfortable visiting friends in the U.S. than I was with our wonderful hosts.  Don't miss this.

Author: grammyflo

Joined: 3/15/2010
Posts: 148
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2002

December 27, 2010

I wont go as far as saying it was the highlight of the whole trip but it was a lovely evening. We had a visit with a lovely couple and another couple from the tour was with us. They had two separate bedrooms for us and we shared a bath.  Some of the singles on our trip did not enjoy the overnite and frankly, I would not opt for it again. Long trip out of town to the destination and long tiring trip back to Christchurch again.  I know the TD tries to match closely the two couples who will go on this visit together. We were lucky.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 152
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

December 27, 2010

Thanks Luisa.  I called GCT and sales customer service person said I could not have the option of staying at the hotel--no explanation given.  I remain undecided.  Thanks

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The explanation is probably that they don't want to pay for another hotel night and/or have to drive back (probably out of the way) to pick up up at the hotel the next morning. In addition, a meal or two will be at the home stay.

Keep in mind that GCT screens the people they choose for over the overnight home stays. If they got bad reviews on a specific family I'm sure they would drop them from the program. Remember the family you are staying with wants to be in the program. Maybe they just like to meet people, maybe they like to have Americans visit for their kids (i.e. learning experience by interfacing with foreigners), and /or maybe they just like (i.e. probably need) the extra money Grand Circle pays them. They will be doing everything possible to make sure you have a pleasant overnight home stay experience. Anyway go on the tour, do the overnight home stay with an open mind, and I'm 99 and 44/100 th percent sure that you will have a great time.   

 

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 467
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

December 27, 2010

The hosts drive the guests back to the hotel in the morning and the bus leaves from there so there is no issue about transportation. I don't know why GCT would object to someone staying in the hotel and paying for the room, but who knows ...

The original poster is traveling as a single and is concerned about sharing a room and a bathroom and I doubt that she is the only person who feels that way. Solo travelers value their privacy, but it's only one night and it would be a shame to miss a wonderful trip.

Milford Sound was the highlight of the trip for me; Sydney was wonderful and
Fiji was heavenly --  I survived the overnight stay and was happy I took the trip.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 152
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

December 27, 2010

Re: The original poster is traveling as a single and is concerned about sharing a room and a bathroom and I doubt that she is the only person who feels that way.

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If she paid a single suppliment (i.e.gets a hotel room by herself) I would think she would be entitled to a private room on the overnight home stay too. The shared bathroom is a different matter though. I'm sure is is not the only person that feels that way. Even most married couples aren't too found about sharing a bathroom with others, etc.

Author: sandys

Joined: 3/8/2010
Posts: 23
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

Most countries in Western Europe - Many countries in Eastern Europe. New Zealand, Australia, Cook Islands, Easter Island. Chile, Peru, Costa Rica, Guatemala, El Salvador, Belize, Honduras, Mexico (including Copper Canyon), South Africa. Almost all states in the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska. Canada, Bahamas, Many of the Caribbean Islands. China, Thailand.

Traveler Since: 2005

December 28, 2010

We have taken a total of nine tours with GCT and OAT.  We have never taken a tour that includes a homestay.  If a tour includes a homestay, we do not even consider it.  I understand that tour companies want to keep their prices lower than the competition, and  in my opinhion, homestays are included as a cost saving measure.  We enjoy the cultural opportunities to meet and dine at people's homes, but we draw the line at homestays since when we travel, we want to have our private room and ensuite bath.

Author: gobuckeyes

Joined: 7/7/2010
Posts: 152
Trips Taken: 12
Traveler Since: 2005

December 28, 2010
I don't think the motive for the overnight home stays is cost saving. If it were I'm sure that they would have more of them. Grand Circle tries to differentiate itself from other travel companies by providing more "discoveries".  Staying with a local family can provide a "real learning experience" by giving you a real sense of what it is like to like in that country. See their promotion:

Meet local people where they live, work, and play

Most travelers rarely get to know the residents of a destination beyond the hotel staff or local merchants. But when you join Grand Circle, you’ll meet people from all walks of life, visiting them where they work, where they learn, and where they live—frequently right in their own homes. Sing a song with Chinese primary school children. Visit a Swazi glassblowing workshop as local artisans practice their delicate craft. Tour a working winery with its German vintner—and sample local vintages. Thanks to the individual relationships Grand Circle has developed over the years with so many local families, you will be welcomed into their homes as an honored guest, enjoying an opportunity for real cultural exchange.

Author: smekinda

Joined: 3/26/2010
Posts: 1
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

February 15, 2011

We were very reluctant to do the homestay in New Zealand and were also told it was not possible to remain at the hotel even tho we returned to the hotel early in the morning to get the bus.  My husband and I shared a bathroom with another couple, which was awkward to say the least.  The host couple was friendly, but more interested in the golf tournament she was in the next day. The home was in a modern suburb, which could have been anywhere.  We retired to our rooms by 9:00 pm.  It was not a highlight.  Our group was about equally divided about the experience.

The rest of the trip was marvelous.  We did the pre trip to the Outback and post trip in Fiji.

 

 

Author: oldbog

Joined: 2/6/2011
Posts: 38
Trips Taken: 6
Traveler Since: 1999

February 16, 2011

We had a marvelous experience on the New Zealand home stay.  We were the 300th something guests the couple hosted.  They were interested in us and the lady with us...wanting to know about our lives and families, etc.  We found we had much in common.

We three shared a bath  (which certainly eclipsed our one at home in size and comforts)...a little bending and accomodating never hurt anyone.

 

And.....we almost understood cricket by the end of the evening!

Author: sklade

Joined: 2/17/2011
Posts: 2
Trips Taken: 8
Traveler Since: 2006

February 17, 2011

We took the trip in 08.  I too was leary of the home visit, but there was no need to be uncertain.  The home stay was very nice. My husband's sister and a friend traveled with us.  They each had their own hotel rooms and also had their own room at the host home.  There were several other singles on the trip.  Everyone was grouped with another couple or another single.  There were no bad reports from any of the travelers. 

It was very interesting to see the differences in the homes and compare them to homes in the US.  The host family was delightful.  We had interesting conversation, a lovely meal, and a comfortable room and our own bathroom.  Take the leap and enjoy the experience.

Author: bajapro

Joined: 2/1/2011
Posts: 3
Trips Taken: 4
Traveler Since: 2010

April 23, 2011

 i don't think they can make you as long as you pay for the hotel and are atn the appoint place the next morning.  we never take part in the home visits, have nevern had the over night thing but have nevern had a problem opting out of anything.  i would just ask the guide where to be in the am and do my thing.

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