Believe it or not, it is possible to travel the world for free, or at least have free accommodation. We know this from people like our friend Britt Bailey who spent five years travelling the world as a house sitter. Today she shares with us her secrets to success.
Want to know how to travel the world for free? Well, then you need to try house-sitting! We did it for 5 years in over 10 countries and got to care for dozens of homes.
Both house sitters and homeowners both benefit from house sitting. Homeowners don’t need to worry about leaving their pets in a kennel or worry about the expense of pet boarding.
Those who like to travel can take advantage of the opportunity to care for animals and not worry about paying for accommodation while discovering a new destination.
Over our 5 years of house sitting, we calculated we were able to save over $150,000 in living costs, plus we got to see the world.
Besides financial advantages, house-sitting offers other benefits. You get to explore new locations and cultures from a local perspective.
Below we will outline some of our favourite house sits we have done, then some tips to help you begin your house-sitting adventure. If you’re in a hurry you can check out how to start house sitting here and learn to travel for free as well.
A few of our favourite sits as we travel the world for free
It’s hard to pick out a few, however, below are a few house sits that really stick out.
Caring for a pooch in Rome for a month
We were so excited when we landed a month-long house sit in Rome! There is just so much to see and do in the city that a month barely felt like enough time.
We took our time and explored the city to discover the top pizza places, gelato spots, bakeries, and wine bars in our area.
Taking our canine companion for strolls in Rome’s lovely parks was a joy.
3 Weeks in Provence France
Before we arrived I didn’t know much about Provence. However, after 3 weeks in a beautiful small French town, I am already planning a trip back.
We got to know all the small villages around us, when the local markets run, as well as experience the beautiful sights and smells of Provence. I didn’t know such beautiful colours existed, and I now understand why van Gogh made it his home.
5 Weeks in Montenegro
Just like Provence, we didn’t know what to expect from Montenegro. For a country so close to the tourist hub of Croatia, it’s barely known about.
We arrived at our house sit in Herceg Novi, and were in awe. We were caring for two cats in a beautiful apartment with views across Kotor Bay. We spent days exploring the coastline, finding new beaches, eating at hidden restaurants, and buying mussels fresh from the local fisherman.
Want to try house sitting as well? (Our top tips to travel the world for free)
Here are a few of the things we wish we knew when we started house-sitting!
Following our tips will ensure you leapfrog all start-up problems we encountered.
Build your house sitting references
We all use reviews to help with our decisions these days. Here are two pieces of advice that can help with this.
- Think about what holidays are coming up. During these periods, the demand for sitters is high. When demand outweighs supply, homeowners are more receptive to picking sitters with fewer references. It can be a great time to pick up some sits and build your references quickly.
- Homeowners want social proof of our skills, so when we started we use our Airbnb reviews. We have over 20 five-star reviews. So we took a screenshot and created a house-sitting CV (like a resume) with Canva. We would then include a link to that Canva doc in all our applications.
Get a police check
It’s worth getting a police check or background check when you start. You can also include this in your application; it might just push you to the top of the pile.
You need to be applying!
Start applying for house sits in your desired location. We have found that homeowners can get overwhelmed with the applications, so it is worth being in that initial intake of applications.
I like to check the platform each morning for sits in my desired locations. If I see one, I’ll apply for it straight away. You should also read the listing carefully. Make sure you highlight why you are the best candidate for the position.
How we saved over $150,000 house sitting
Forget about paying for Airbnb or rent
We saved a lot of money by house-sitting for five years due to the fact that we didn’t pay rent.
After looking into average rental prices, we saved ourselves at least $2000 per month. Over the 5 years, that amounts to $120,000.
We had extraordinary experiences, from caring for beachfront villas to French chateaus. So the places would have been worth way more than your average 2-bedroom apartment.
Imagine not having to worry about paying bills. There is no gas, electricity, water or even internet bills to think about.
All you need to think about is where you want to head next. From previous experiences, we paid around $100 – $130 a month on bills. That is about $6500 over the 5 years of house sitting and living for free.
Final thoughts if you’re ready to travel the world for free
You might think all this sounds too good to be true. So did we when we started. But house sitting has allowed us to live a wonderful lifestyle.
If you give it a try you’ll end up pinching yourself because you’ll be able to knock all those bucket list items off.
Save on your trip with these resources
These are our go-to companies when we travel. We believe this list to be the best in each category. You can’t go wrong using them on your trip too.
- Flights: we use Expedia for the best and cheapest flight options.
- Accommodations: we use Booking.com (hotels) or VRBO (self-contained).
- Cars (gas or electric): we use RentalCars to search for deals and dealer ratings.
- Campervans or Motorhomes: we use Campstar where Albom Adventures readers get a 3% discount
- Private guides: we love the private guides at Tours by Locals
- Travel Insurance: our go-to is World Nomads*.
Check out our travel resources page for more companies that we use when you travel.
*World Nomads provides travel insurance for travellers in over 100 countries. As an affiliate, we receive a fee when you get a quote from World Nomads using this link. We do not represent World Nomads. This is information only and not a recommendation to buy travel insurance.
How will you travel the world for free?
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All photos on this page are either supplied by the author or stock images from Depositphotos.
About the author
Britt from The Travelling House Sitters has been a digital nomad and house sitting around the world for five years in over 12 countries. She has cared for homes in New Zealand, Australia, Italy, France, Greece, Montenegro, Malaysia, Thailand, Ireland, The UK, and in the Caribbean looking after a cat on a catamaran. After caring for 40+ homes they are ready to show you how to do it. Join their group of 38,000 experienced and beginner house sitters here.
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