I once heard about a British woman – I’ll call her Felicity – who had planned the trip of a lifetime to New Zealand. She’d saved and researched, and then set off and journeyed her way around both islands on a fairly intensive three-week trip, ticking off all the major sights and activities. It should have been the stuff of dreams and in many ways, it was. New Zealand is such a magnificent place to explore with its dramatic bays and beaches, spectacular native forests, snow-covered volcanoes and deep fjords. It’s safe and friendly and high on many people’s wish lists.
But during that entire three-week period, almost all of Felicity’s interactions took place solely with service staff – in hotels or restaurants, or on tours. She didn’t get to know or meet any local people and she wasn’t able to veer off the beaten tourist track to relax and enjoy the normal rhythm of life that, in any destination we may visit, is as unique and as interesting an aspect of a holiday as any monument, exhibition or breath-taking landscape.
The element of real “human connection” which makes all trips so memorable – and life itself worth living – was missing.
I had already started SisterStay when I heard Felicity’s story and it made me even more determined to make sure there was an alternative – better! – way to travel for anyone brave enough to plan a trip like that in future.
Although SisterStay is still getting established – no thanks to Covid – I envisage, and continue to be excited by the developing signs of, a thriving community of ID-verified women in every country, opening their doors to one another and sharing the best aspects, the hidden gems and the inside secrets of their local area.
For sure, SisterStay is about providing safe and affordable accommodation, but it is also so much more than that. SisterStay is a genuine community of 50+ women helping one another to make the most of life. It’s about offering and receiving a warm welcome from a real person upon arrival – a person whose profile and listing we have already seen, another female in this same stage of life who understands the importance of a friendly face and a helping hand to make our stay truly memorable. It does this through its network of Hosts – all women over 50 who have opted to make their homes available to welcome other members of the SisterStay community.
SisterStay allows you to stay with a friend wherever you go, albeit a friend you’ve not yet met.
Depending on her commitments – see Hosting levels* – your Host may have time to show you one or two highlights in person. It’s possible, if it’s what you both want, that she might even be free for your whole visit.
How wonderful the opportunity to be welcomed by a like-minded woman into her home for a few days and to get to share a little of her life. Human connection like that is the essence of what makes SisterStay unique, and will bring your whole experience alive, meaning the travel memories you make will be treasured for years to come.
*SisterStay has 3 levels of Host depending on the amount of time they are able to give their Guests:
1. Meeter&Greeter – the majority of Hosts fall into this category. A Meeter&Greeter will offer you a warm welcome into her home, be happy to chat through your plans with you, and provide you with breakfast in the morning and a friendly face to chat to at the end of the day.
2. Buddies: have a little more time to offer so may be able to accompany you on an evening out or possibly a day trip or day course. They will be pleased to help you make the most of your time away, sharing their local knowledge with you.
3. Champions: love having guests in their home and have plenty of time to act as an informal guide for your trip, if desired. They may help you put your itinerary together and are always happy to explore any ideas you may have for your stay.