Continuing our week of accommodation related posts, tonight Nicole and Michael from Suitcase Stories share their expertise on house sitting! As avid house sitters, Nicole and Michael want to share their experience and show others how a life of travel is not only possible, but also affordable through house sitting.
When people hear that we are traveling indefinitely they think we must have won the lottery. But we didn’t, although I wouldn’t say no to that! No, we worked hard, saved every penny we could and sold all of our possessions to make this happen. But of course, in order to help stretch our funds further, we have to find ways to travel on the cheap.
But we are in our mid – late 30’s and to be honest the thought of sharing a room with four 20 year olds didn’t appeal to us so that ruled out hosteling. Then we thought about camping, but who am I kidding, I’m way too much of a princess for that. Of course we could couchsurf but we want to travel slow, so moving every few days was also unappealing. So we found a perfect alternative – House sitting.
Most people have heard of house sitting but not many understand what’s actually involved. House sitting is basically an exchange of services for free accommodation. To extend on that, while a homeowner is away on vacation, the housesitter will live in the home and take care of the pets and house until the homeowner returns. Sounds too easy? That’s because it is! For 14 months we have been living in other peoples homes all around the world, looking after their cat or dog, keeping their house clean while not paying a cent in accommodation costs.
So how does one get into housesitting as a way to travel the world? It’s quite simple really. There are websites that do all the hard work for you. Just Google “house sitting” and you will find the first page full of websites that advertise homes available for sitting. Once you find the website right for you, you just need to create a profile and then you can start contacting homeowners who need a house sitter.
Anyone can house sit! There is no age requirement, no experience needed (although this does help) and it doesn’t matter if you are a solo traveler, a couple or even a family! There are housesits available to suit everyone. And it doesn’t matter where in the world you want to housesit, you will probably find more than one in that area. Of course some countries have more to offer than others – Australia, UK, USA, Canada, NZ are some of the more popular areas – but we have seen housesits advertised even in the most unusual countries.
We get asked all the time how much we have saved while house sitting so we compared our travel costs between our house sitting days and our hotel days (we stay in hotels between sits). The results were amazing! We couldn’t believe how much money we saved by traveling this way.
Of course the money saving is great but there are so many other reasons to housesit. We love that we are living as the locals do wherever we travel. We love getting to know the neighbors and finding out about those ‘hidden’ treasures that tourists do not know about. And because I am a little bit of a princess, I love the luxury that often comes with house sitting. We have lived on an island, in the Costa Rican jungle, a beach house in Florida, a gorgeous English cottage, a farm house in Spain and so much more. We lived with pools, hot tubs, luxury cars, state of the art entertainment systems, kitchens a cook would die for…. Then there are the beautiful pets we get to care for. If you love animals as much as we do, this is definitely a huge benefit to house sitting.
We have been asked how long we expect to travel full time and our answer is always “for as long as we can”. And with house sitting this means we will be traveling for many years to come.