So here's the big, not-so-secret "secret" to traveling the world on the cheap:
Whenever possible, find cheap or free accommodation.
Travel comes with 3 major expenses:
And of these 3, accommodation will easily impact your travel budget the most, unless, of course, you start finding places to sleep for free.
Before we started traveling, many people had told us that finding a good house sitting job with a family was nearly impossible.
Nobody wants a family with a bunch of little kids tearing up their house while they're gone.
But the idea of house sitting was just too enticing to ignore. Each day there are literally hundreds of listings being placed by homeowners around the world who need responsible people to look after their homes, pets, and plants while they're on vacation or working away from home. And, being responsible people with an open-ended schedule, it seemed - despite the pessimistic warnings - that we were quite destined to play a part in this whole house sitting thing.
After about 2 months of travel, we opened an annual account for $80 with TrustedHousesitters.com, posted a few pictures and a description of ourselves, and then - we started applying.
Our first 6 requests for house sits came back with rejection letters. Either the house sitters had already filled the position, or they just weren't interested. So, as per usual, we started to doubt ourselves a bit, but in the end we just kept on applying.
After 13 rejections we landed our first gig in San Diego, California. It was a 1 week house sit and it came with the bonus of having the kids be able to care for a cat!
A few days later we arrange a house sit in Calgary, Canada, and then - 2 more in Victoria, Canada! Within our first two months of membership we had arranged over 2 months of house sitting. And just last week we received a random request to house sit for a family in New Zealand.
It would seem that persistence and a little bit of faith work well when trying to get past the silly idea of "a bunch of little kids tearing things up".
5 Reasons Why You Should Be House Sitting
1) It's FREE! We'll, practically free. $80 a year is a small price to pay for the money you will save on hotels and rentals while you travel. You can even sign up for cheaper services like mindmyhouse.com for only $20, but you might not get the same results.
Like I said before, whenever possible, find cheap or free accommodation. Saving via house sitting will certainly help prolong and enrich your travels.
2) It's A Great Way To Travel. It is rare that one gets the experience of living like a local in a foreign setting. House sitting affords us the opportunity to integrate into a community as soon as we arrive at our destination. We're surrounded by locals, not tourists. We have our own space. It is a very pleasant way to experience a new destination.
3) People Need You. House sitting is more than a free place to stay. People are entrusting their precious possessions to someone they believe will care for them properly in their absence. They need responsible people to help them out. In an increasingly paranoid world, it's wonderful to see that there are so many people who will sort through some references and take a chance on people they haven't met.
4) It's For Everyone. If I was smarter and bolder, I would have started applying for house sits years ago when we were still living in Boston. House sitting is not just for long-term travelers. Odds are, there are a few people looking for house sitters in your neighborhood right now. And if you get a few references under your belt, you might be able to arrange a 2-week gig for that big trip you're going to take next summer.
5) You And Your Kids Will Love It. Don't underestimate yourself or your kids. If your kids don't like dogs, then apply for the house sit with fish instead. I am amazed at how often we broadly generalize and talk ourselves out of doing something. Sure, not everything always works out perfectly, but sometimes it works out pretty great. You'll never know until you try.
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