Contributed by guest author Charli Moore
Having utilized house sitting assignments to subsidize the cost of my travels for the last four years, I must tell you that I attribute many unique opportunities, new friendships, and once in a lifetime experiences to the fact that I chose to live like a local while abroad. And I’m not the only one doing it.
House sitting is fast becoming the travel hack of choice for budget-savvy travelers looking for a way to see the world. One of the more successful initiatives to come from the concept of shared economy travel, house sitting lets home owners invite house sitters to step into their shoes for an agreed period of time. Offering their sitters rent-free accommodation, home owners receive free property and pet care in return.
But why should you choose to house sit instead of booking a traditional self-catered or hotel stay?
1. Reduce the Cost of Your Vacation
Accommodation demands a sizeable percentage of any traveler’s budget. Even when you opt for a shared dorm at a hostel, you can spend more than $50 a night in popular destinations. So why not upgrade to a serviced apartment, family home in the suburbs, or condo by the beach… for free?
Unless you choose to charge for your house sitting services or the owner requires that you pay for the cost of utilities used during your stay, no money exchanges hands. Take the $50 a night you’ll save on accommodation costs and spend it enriching your stay. Just remember that if you plan to charge a fee when you’re house sitting abroad, you’ll need to apply for the relevant employment visa.
Flights.com Tip: Line up more than one reference to give to home owners when you apply for a house-sitting gig.
2. Get Off the Beaten Path
House sitting opportunities open the door to a wealth of desirable travel destinations you’ve probably never considered. From tiny tropical islands in the South Pacific to historic European villages, your first house-sitting assignment will offer an adventure unlike anything you could book through a travel agent. Search the wealth of online listings asking for house sitters and get inspired by the endless possibilities for adventure.
Flights.com Tip: Create a profile on an online house-sitting service like trustedhousesitters.com so you can quickly find and apply for unique house-sitting opportunities around the world.
3. Live Like a Local
While a hotel room may offer luxurious décor and a self-catered stay can give you the freedom to plan your own itinerary, a house-sitting assignment offers so much more. We travel to immerse ourselves in new cultures and to sample life in new locations, and there’s no better way to do that than to live like a local. Instead of getting trapped in tourist-occupied territory near major hotels, living from a private home often leads to the discovery of small neighborhood shops and eateries that hotel dwellers don’t notice. With house sitting, you may inherit the owner’s neighbors and friends who can offer you a much greater insight into their city than any guidebook. Sure, your vacation is only temporary, but the relationships will continue long after you’ve returned home.
4. Enjoy the Comforts of Home While You’re Away
Ever wished your hotel room had a washing machine, or that your vacation rental had Wi-Fi? House sitting lets you enjoy the comforts of home while you’re away! You choose the assignments that suit your style and expectations, making sure that your accommodation abroad is quite literally a home away from home.
Flights.com Tip: Prime house-sitting locations are in high demand these days. If you see a desirable ad, respond within the first few hours so your application doesn’t arrive too late and get overlooked.
5. Try Out a New Lifestyle
International house sitting can help you test out a new lifestyle before you up sticks and relocate or make a major change to your current status quo. If you’ve always dreamed of buying a hobby farm and growing your own veggies, moving abroad and starting your own business, or renting a studio in a vibrant metropolis, stepping into the shoes of someone already living your dream will allow you to test out your plans before committing yourself.
House sitting has taken me to nine different countries to date. Where will it take you?
Charli Moore is a location independent freelance writer, adventure travel blogger Wanderlusters, and PADI Divemaster with a penchant for peanut butter.