One of the biggest travel trends at the moment is the growing popularity of homestay networks, which allow travelers to stay in another person’s home at their destination. Airbnb is probably the most popular homestay service at the moment but there are others, including those where families “swap” houses with another family for a specified amount of time.

Homestays can present some advantages over conventional hotel accommodations. They are often less expensive than hotel rooms and enable travelers to “live like a local” in a different city. At the same time, some people may feel apprehensive about the prospect of staying in a stranger’s home. People with allergies in particular may wonder how their bodies will react to an unfamiliar environment.

Almost all homestay sites provide search filters to screen out homes with pets, for example, but we wanted to delve a little deeper. Here are a few tips for people with allergies looking to use a homestay network.

Communicate with potential hosts. One of the biggest advantages of a homestay is that it can provide a more personal level of service compared to many hotels. When contacting owners of homes that interest you, don’t hesitate to inform them of your allergies and any concerns you may have. A good homestay host will be receptive to your needs. If not, it’s probably best to consider another property.

Look carefully at photos. Hosts are typically eager to show off their homes to travelers and many will post a lot of pictures on their listings. Take advantage of this to look for features that are not included in the general search categories. Hardwood floors, slat-style blinds and minimal decorations are all conducive to an allergy-friendly environment. It’s not a guarantee, but a home that looks pristinely clean is another good sign.

Consider the type of accommodation. Homestay networks feature a wide range of property types, from guest bedrooms and in-law apartments to entire houses for rent. A stand-alone building may be a good choice for people with allergies since it reduces cross-traffic from your host and provides a greater level of control over your environment. On the other hand, an attached apartment may be preferable if it enables you to leave your shoes and outerwear outside your quarters. It’s all about choosing the property that suits your needs best.

Search for private bathrooms and laundry facilities. Many people expect to have their own bathroom when they travel but this is not always the case during a homestay. If you tend to shower or do laundry often to remove allergens from hair and clothes, an attached bathroom and access to laundry can be helpful.

Customize your space. Your host doesn’t provide hypoallergenic bedding? Bring your own! It’s best to check with your host first, but a homestay may allow you to bring along the items that help minimize your allergy symptoms at home. Whether it’s an allergy-friendly pillow, dust-mite encasings, or air purifier, take advantage of the homestay concept by making your accommodations your own.