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I'm planning on going to Estonia (alternatively Lithuania and/or Latvia) and I'd like to experience a normal Tallinn/Riga/Vilnius life. I'm referring to the small thing, such as (but of course not limited to) eating a breakfast. If I stay at a hotel, I know that I'll have some bacon, eggs and coffee with a croissant. As I do at every hotel.

So this time, my plan is to see the real way of the locals.

Hence, I have two questions.

  1. Is it wise to do that in Estonia to begin with or should I have consideration against it?
  2. If it is, where can I get in touch with locals willing to host me (I'm willing to pay and I have no special requirements)?
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    Couchsurfing, or perhaps Airbnb, are good bets. Look for hostels if you want to meet other travelers. – Moriarty Oct 15 '15 at 10:18
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    You mean something like a Bed&Breakfast? I think simple “Pension”/B&B which might provide a less standardised experience than large hotels are common in these countries. Otherwise, it might be a big step for you but have you heard about couch surfing? – Relaxed Oct 15 '15 at 10:20
  • @Relaxed B&B is still too much hotel'ish for this idea. I wish to stay in actual home of a normal person. Couch surfing might be an idea - I just want to know if it's recommended to stay clear of that. I've heard stories about sex orgies being organized that way (not sure how much truth there is to that, of course) and I strongly prefer not to wake up with someone's genitalia to my face (one of my very few requirements). Any areas to avoid when being hosted? – Konrad Viltersten Oct 15 '15 at 13:52
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    @KonradViltersten Nope, my personal preference is to stay in hostels or small owner-operated B&Bs. If you find accommodation that is operated as a business (rather than just some dude who occasionally lets foreigners rent a spare room or sleep on his couch), you're much less likely to have your plans ruined by unreliable hosts. If you really want to stay with and be entertained by the locals, be prepared for if things don't work out. – Moriarty Oct 15 '15 at 14:49
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    From the question and comments, it sounds like you want all the immersion of being someone's house guest, while also getting the customer service and convenience of being a hotel guest. That's not possible. If you're a house guest, fitting into someone else's life, you will need to act like a house guest, and be prepared to compromise, fit in with their schedule, etc etc. (p.s. being put off couch surfing because <0.1% of people use it for orgies is like never staying in hotels because <0.1% of hotels are fronts for brothels. Just don't sign up to attend an orgy) – user568458 Oct 16 '15 at 11:15
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Airbnb and Couchsurfing are two services often used to find accommodation hosted by locals.

Airbnb accommodation is paid and varies from mansions to hay bales. By specifying "Shared room" or "Private room" in your search, you can often find rooms, mattresses, etc. in apartments or houses occupied by locals. The degree of interaction with your host depends on the specific stay; reading descriptions and reviews will help you find the experience you want.

Couchsurfing is free of charge, but guests are expected to contribute a reasonable amount in terms of conversation, chores, maybe a gift, etc (leave your accommodation nicer than you found it).

You can probably find the homestay experience you're looking for on either site, the difference being that, because of Airbnb's cost, its hosts will generally expect slightly less in terms of nonmonetary contribution from guests (although gifts, conversation, and helping with chores are certainly welcome).

On the whole, accommodation from either site will be safe and pleasant; as with any part of the sharing economy, reviews and ratings provide information you can use to increase your chances of a positive experience.

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