“How can you afford to travel like you do?“ That’s a question we hear almost as often as: „Where are you from?“ There are many ways to keep your travel cost low. One of our favourites is house sitting. A further prospect is to swop your house.
Accommodation takes the most expensive share of travel costs, especially if you are exploring western countries. If your country of residence has got a weak currency, your travel dreams might vanish for years. Don’t let go of your dream! There are possibilities to spend a couple of weeks or more in a destination of your choice, without spending any money on accommodation and sometimes even free food is provided. How’s that possible? you might ask.
Predominantly in the countries in Europe inclusive Great Britain, North America and Australia/New Zealand you find people, who want to travel themselves, but have a house with a garden and often also animals to care for. Particularly in high-developed countries it’s increasingly expensive to hire employees or specialised service providers for the home and pet care during holiday absence. What comes closer to mind, than finding other fellow travellers, who care for your property and your beloved pets for free? You, as a house sitter get therefore an inside view of the country and the culture from a citizen’s perspective. What can be better than that, to get to know a country?
We have been house sitting in a gorgeous home in the old town of Chicago, looking after a lovely Springer Spaniel. In France we cared for a huge Pyrenean mountain dog and a Dutch sheep dog in a beautiful restored farmhouse in the Bourgogne and in Botswana we were responsible for a horse riding safari lodge with thirty-eight horses and an adorable Greyhound to be now, just at the right time in the Netherlands, on a former farm on the country side to experience the stunning spring time and taking extended walks in the magnificent woods with a mixed-breed sheepdog and our traveling Beagle, Vlou. In between we enjoy visiting quaint, unique Dutch towns, while sipping a cup of coffee in the traffic free centres and to relish afterwards some cheese at the market.
Do you live at a nice place near the sea or next to a major, culturally inviting town? Beside house sitting opportunities you may find possibilities to swop your house with somebody. We as Grey World Nomads don’t have a house to swop at the moment, but we know friends from South Africa’s Garden Route, who swop their house successfully with home owners in France, Italy, Switzerland and Croatia. What a great way to explore Europe inexpensively!
Tips to find house sitting or house swop opportunities:
Friends and extended family
The best bet is still to ask friends and extended family for house sitting opportunities. To live in some bodies house with access to their personal belongings is a trustful job, which is hard to grant to a complete stranger.
Word of mouth
The house owners were happy with your job, they are likely to spread the word. Ask them for reference for future house sitting applications.
There are several online house sitting and house swop platforms on the Internet. To be able to apply for house sittings, you need to sign up. The subscription fee varies between about 20 and 50 US $ a year. Check first, if the house sittings offered are primarily in the preferred region you are looking for and how many there are offered before you subscribe. Most of the platforms are stronger either on Europe, North America or Australia/New Zealand.
Here just a few of many useful sites. Please let us know by comment on this site, if you have other recommendations with house sitting and house swop. We’re pleased to hear about your experiences.