Travelling the World under $25 a Day in style! How? Housesitting!

In today’s post, Nicole, who makes up half the duo at Suitcase Stories, is sharing her housesitting experience proving that this a great way of travelling the world on the cheap, in style! We would love to try it one day, once we make it to South America. 

The words “Budget Travel” are not usually associated with staying in luxury accommodation.  And you certainly wouldn’t expect beach side lodging or a Caribbean island stay to be ‘budget’.  But we have been travelling the world under $25 a day and we do it in style!  How? Housesitting.

RELAXING ON BEACH
There is nothing like chilling on the beach in Barbados

 

Housesitting is not a new concept; it’s been around for years. But it is a fairly new concept for long-term travelers.  I don’t know why it took so long to catch on but now that it has, it’s taking the travel world by storm!

But what exactly is housesitting?  Glad you asked!  When a home owner wants to take a vacation but doesn’t want to leave the house empty, they will use the services of a housesitter to live in their home.  The housesitter will keep the house neat and tidy, bring in the mail, water the plants and sometimes, take care of the pets.  The home owner can go away knowing their home will be exactly as it was when they left it.

A modern house cute and cozy
We don’t just look after big modern homes; We love cute and cozy homes too

 

And what does the housesitter get out of this arrangement? FREE accommodation! Yes, they are allowed to live in the house rent free in exchange for looking after the home.  Sounds too good to be true right?  Well its not!  This is how we have been able to afford to travel non-stop for 16 months and how we can afford to keep traveling for many more!

Beach house
We love the beach and we have been lucky enough to look after a few lovely beach homes

 

Whether you stay in hostels, hotels or apartments, accommodation can be the most expensive part of your travels, especially when you are talking long-term travel.  By not spending that money, you have it to spend elsewhere or, like us, to prolong your trip.  We have saved more than $30,000 (usd) in accommodation costs since we started our full time travels.  And that’s not to be sneezed at!

money in jar
Saving money means we can afford to travel longer or treat ourselves to a fancy hotel once in a while

 

The saving money side is obviously the biggest benefit but there are so many other reasons to consider housesitting as your travel method.  The types of homes we have been fortunate to stay in have ranged from quaint English cottages to multi million dollar homes to a house in the Caribbean. Yes, we are currently living in Barbados for 7 weeks, rent free!!  And no, it’s not a run down shack; we are living in a fairly new 2 story home with manicured gardens and a swimming pool.  And did I mention we are 5 minutes from the Caribbean sea with its warm clear water and soft white sand? For free!

 

White house with a garage and car parked just in front of it
We’ve looked after some amazing modern homes and have even managed to drive some pretty lush cars!

 

But its not just the accommodation costs you save on. Having your own kitchen means you can shop at a grocery store and cook your own meals which will be a lot cheaper than eating out 3 meals a day!  And what about doing laundry? Having your own facilities mean no more lugging your washing to the local laundry mat and paying for the service.  Some housesits also offer you the use of their car while they are away. This will cut down the amount you will spend on taxis, buses and trains.  There are so many ways housesitting will save you money.

House with a swimming pool
Its great not having to share a pool with hundreds of others as you would if you were staying in a hotel

 

We have looked after 25+ homes, in many countries all over the world.  We have looked after a beach house, a million dollar island home, a house in the Caribbean, a Spanish farmhouse, a cute English cottage, a Floridian condo and a Costa Rican jungle home overlooking the ocean, just to name a few.  And this is how we will continue to travel the world at our own pace, absorbing the culture as we go for as long as our wanderlust keeps us on the road.

 Have you ever done or you are going to do some Housesitting during your travels? Share your experience with us!

 

profile picNicole, and her husband Michael, are an Australian couple in who gave up their careers, sold their possessions and left their ‘conventional’ life behind for a life of travel. They have been living a nomadic life for 15 months and see no end in sight. They launched Suitcase Stories to share their stories, travel tips and destination guides.  They hope to inspire others to travel and to show people how long term travel is not only possible but affordable. You can follow their journey on Facebook & Twitter.

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Accidents and mishaps are often a part of travelling abroad, and so you shouldn’t forget to cover yourself and your belongings for any eventuality. Jump over to our budget travel insurance page and get clued up on who we use as our vital travel safety net.

And while we’re at it, we have a special, dedicated etramping page over at Agoda for booking hotels and hostels. Our readers get 10% off! Just follow the link, and enter the code AGODAETR10 (you need to enter this code before payment, case-sensitive). Honestly, we’re really too good to you!

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39 Comments

  • Hi SS,
    Really love this article. Joel and I have been seriously considering Housesitting and lately, there have been so many posts about it – so I think you have finally swayed us! Thanks a bunch for this post and I look forward to getting on here as soon as possible!!

    xo
    Phoebe

    • Hi Becky,

      It truly is a wonderful way to travel. Im a girl who likes a little bit of lux with her travels so this is the perfect solution for lux without the price tag :) We have loads of info on our blog so feel free to pop by and if you have any Qs, we are always happy to receive emails from our readers.

  • To tell the truth this is the first I heard of it. But it sounds a pretty good proposition for long term travellers. And getting some first hand information on it is really nice. Thanks for sharing.

    • It’s been our pleasure. Thanks for contributing. You can reply to some comments. People are very interested in couchsurfing concept :).

  • Great post! I’m hoping to start travelling this spring, and am seeking other places to stay besides hotels/hostels. I’m also curious as to how you find jobs like these? I’ll be staying with friends in London but I would love to keep travelling Europe after I leave and something like this would be amazing, even if only for short periods. My only issue is I’m only 19, I’m not sure that many people would open their homes to such a young stranger from away! But maybe someday in the future!

    • Hey Amanda! At first, we thought we were way too young for housesitting (I’m 24, Cez’s 26), but it’s not true. Once you turn 18, you have also a great opportunity to get one of these houses. Seriously, you just need to send a lot of requests and wait till it’s gonna be your lucky day:)!

    • Hi Amanda,

      You are never too young to start. When we did our first housesit (while building our home) Michael was only 21 (i was a couple years older). Its all about selling yourself and being confident in who you are. In regards to where you find sits, for the UK the best one by far would be http://www.trustedhousesitters.com There are so many UK housesits on that website! We are always happy to help or answer questions where we can (we have had nearly 30 sits and all over the world so we have learned a lot along the way!). Drop by our website as there are loads of housesitting posts there and then if you want to contact us, the details are on the site :)

  • This sounds like a fabulous idea. The range of homes is very impressive. I guess when people have really fancy and expensive homes they want them to look occupied to deter unwanted attention.

    I’d quite happily pay to stay in some of those places, especially with a private pool.

    • It does, indeed. We were also impressed by the range of homes. Some of them look absolutely stunning and our dream would be to stay there for a couple of months.

  • I agree with Nicole & Michael that housesitting is a brilliant way to travel in style and on budget, for that reason we subscribed with 3 websites offering the service.

    The problem is any housesitting ad gets 100s of requests once it’s published, and your chances fall to zero if you are newbie and with no references. It has been a year now and we applied for over 25 opportunity but with no luck! Do you have suggestions?

    • True. We’ve never subscribed with any any websites offering this service. However, don’t give up and carry on applying for the house of your dreams. Double check your profile and try to get some references.

    • Digital Nomads, we had the “no references” problem at first when we started house-sitting, too. We used a couple of things to get around this – we put out our social media presence as who we are, so prospective homeowners could feel like they really knew us, even better than a canned reference letter. And to actually have a first reference letter, we started locally, by pet-sitting for friends and asking them for reference. You can also use reference letters from previous employers, teachers, coaches, etc. Anyone who can vouch for your good character will do – as all the homeowner is looking for is someone trustworthy to look after their home and pets.
      One more tip – some of the house-sitting sites list new opportunities up to 24 hours before they are sent out as an e-mail. If there is a particular place you want to go, it’s worth getting a jump on the other applicants this way. Good luck!!

    • Hi guys,

      Sorry to hear you have had such bad luck :( It all comes down to how you sell yourself in your application. Are you giving the homeowners information they want to hear? Are you highlighting your strengths? Are you making the application about them and not always about you?

      It shouldn’t matter that you have had no experience; we all have to start somewhere right. And yes, some homeowners get hundreds of applications (the Barbados sit we are doing now got 120 just on the first day!) but its all about standing out in the crowd. We have a post that might help you http://suitcasestories.com/house-sitting/housesit-killer-profile/ Start there and if you have any questions we are always happy to give a few pointers via email :)

  • I would love to house sit this summer in Europe. Any tips on websites that are free to sign up for that would allow me to contact potential house sitting opportunities??

  • Great ideas, housesitting is a great way to cut coasts, I tend to do more on the housetrading side…how funny these guys will actually be house sitting for me in Hawaii in October!

  • Thanks for the tips, Nicole. I haven’t done any housesitting yet, but I agree it can be very useful for budget travelers. I would love to try that out this year.

  • You really know how to make us jealous, don’t you? House sitting in the Barbados…wow. It sure is something I’ve never considered. Thanks for the details.

  • Hey Ageness !! Its really a wonderful concept. Really leaving home alone is a very hard decision but sometimes we have to leave for the works we can’t ignore. In India, Home sitting trend is very rare but very necessary, which can reduce theft cases.

  • Great post! We are super excited we just secured our first housesitting gig in Costa Rica!! We are looking forward to housesitting more in the future to travel affordably but still have the comforts that couples appreciate :-)

    • Hi Myran, thanks for stopping by. We have never done housesitting before, but there are certain countries in South America such as Brasil, Argentina which are accepting more housesitting requests than others. I’ve also heard of Mexico, Hawaii, Portugal and Spain :).

  • It’s great to save, indeed. It’s better to spend money on travel than throw it away on “useless” experiences and things you don’t really need back home.
    If you can manage to live on 90-80 % of your income, you’ll have saved a substantial amount of money… provided that you have a decent income.
    But, what about people who can barely survive from their income? How can they save for travel?

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