Housesitting: An Alternative for Cheap Accommodation
Budget travelers are always on the lookout for low airfares, good street food, and cheap accommodations. However, we usually associate ”˜cheap accommodation’ with hostel dorms or Couchsurfing. But what about having a whole house to live in, with your very own kitchen and laundry, maybe even a swimming pool, and not pay a cent for it?
Housesitting is becoming more and more popular with travelers and there’s a reason why. Not only does it allow you to save big on accommodations, but it also provides a little privacy that is often lacking in other alternative forms of accommodation.
What Is Housesitting?
When a homeowner wants to take a vacation, they will call on a house sitter to stay in the house while they are away. Usually it’s because they want someone to water the garden and feed the dog or sometimes they just want their house lived in to discourage burglars. Whatever the reason, the sitter stays in the house completely free of charge in exchange for these few small chores.
The length of a house sit can vary from a weekend to a year and everything in between. The best part: you can find house sits all over the world. Perhaps you are looking for an authentic Japanese home, maybe a brownstone in Manhattan, or what about a house on the beach in Koh Samui?
While the hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars you will save on accommodation costs is a huge benefit, there are loads of other reasons why housesitting makes a great travel method.
When you are actually living in the country you’re visiting, you are better able to immerse yourself into the local culture and way of life. You also see things from a different perspective when you are a “local”. And of course, you get to meet locals (i.e. the neighbors) who can give you a much better insight into their country than a guidebook ever will.
Another huge bonus is having your own kitchen to cook in. No more fighting over the communal hostel kitchen, or having to clean up someone else’s mess. The same goes for having your own laundry. Not only do these things make your life a little easier but it will also save you money.
Where Do I Start?
Getting started is actually quite simple. Jump onto a house sitting website (Google will help you find these), pay a small membership fee ($10 – $60 depending on site and length of membership), make a profile (think of it as your ”˜advert’), and start applying for house sits that suit your needs.
There are thousands of houses available to sitters all over the world. It doesn’t matter if you are a 20-year old backpacker, a single dad, a family, or a couple on a RTW trip, there are sits to suit everyone.
Whether you are a long-term traveler or someone taking a vacation, if you want ”˜budget travel’ without the shared room or uncomfortable couch, this may very well be what you are looking for. Remember: just because we are ”˜budget travelers’ doesn’t mean we can’t have a little bit of luxury along the way.