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Save money with HouseSitting
Old 10-27-2011, 10:40 PM   #1
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Save money with HouseSitting

After over a year of traveling around the world we have found that house-sitting is an outstanding way to save a lot of money. Plus, you get the advantage of staying like a local so you see the place in a completely different light.

Before leaving we were not aware that there are sites out there that connect you with other travelers. We have been using Trusted HouseSitters and absolutely love the service and ease of use [we are not affiliated with them at all, just rabid fans]. We have been able to take care of people's homes in Ecuador, UK, Belgium, and Amsterdam.

Hope this helps people who are planning trips out there. It can be an amazing way to see a new place and save a chunk of change.
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Old 10-28-2011, 07:33 AM   #2
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ER member Simple Girl and I both have both used housesitters we found on HouseCarerers in our own homes and I know I was intrigued by the process. We had lots of good applicants and I was very satisfied with the folks who stayed for 3 weeks while we were in Mongolia in 2008.

I found a local friend willing to stay the 4 weeks we'll be in Peru (GO Team Dixie Chickens!) in January, but would certainly have used them again otherwise.

It seems to me that booking house-sit assignments first and planning your travels around them saved y'all enormous amounts of money--was it 5 months of your lodging this past year that was house-sitting and therefore "free"? That is pretty compelling when you look at how huge a role hotels can play in travel costs.

We've had a few Perpetual Travelers around here in the past, but some of this stuff, like formal house-sit websites and formal couchsurfing sites, are recent additions to the traveler's arsenal, so I'm curious as to if there are any downsides to house-sitting and its impact on your movements.
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Old 10-28-2011, 06:50 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post

We've had a few Perpetual Travelers around here in the past, but some of this stuff, like formal house-sit websites and formal couchsurfing sites, are recent additions to the traveler's arsenal, so I'm curious as to if there are any downsides to house-sitting and its impact on your movements.
For us there have been no downsides at all. The key is to be completely flexible and willing to jet off to new places if the opportunity arises. We have no plan or itinerary so it is no problem if someone wants us to come to Belgium for 6 weeks or Ecuador for 2 months. In the case of both of those countries we most likely would have never seen them on our trip if it were not for these house sitting gigs and now they are some of our favorite memories.

The one challenge is anytime we HAVE to be somewhere at a specific date. This always ends up putting a bit of stress on us since we have a completely open schedule. We love not having to be somewhere at a set date. Though I admit that this is a very small price to pay for the experience of staying at someone's home...for free.
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:23 PM   #4
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I've taken a look at Housesitting and have it stored at the back of my mind that maybe that may be a direction we might go sometime on our travels.

However, I have to say the thought of couchsurfing horrifies me. I think for me it is the privacy aspect. I can't imagine that my personality is such that couchsurfing will ever be added to my repertoire.

I am curious as to how you get from A to B. Do you buy airline tixs or do you use points?
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Old 10-28-2011, 09:37 PM   #5
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I've taken a look at Housesitting and have it stored at the back of my mind that maybe that may be a direction we might go sometime on our travels.

However, I have to say the thought of couchsurfing horrifies me. I think for me it is the privacy aspect. I can't imagine that my personality is such that couchsurfing will ever be added to my repertoire.

I am curious as to how you get from A to B. Do you buy airline tixs or do you use points?
We absolutely know how you feel about CouchSurfing. It was something that worried us, especially when we saw 1 ad about sleeping in a communal room at a shared home with people who listed "sexual massage therapists" in the first line of the ad.

However, when we arrived in Falmouth, England we booked our first CouchSurfing experience at it was wonderful. We stayed 3 nights with an amazing guy who showed us around, introduced us to his "local" pub, and we still stay in touch. We still would need to find the right fit and are not ready to sleep on the floor of a room with strangers, but I am far more comfortable with the whole idea than before.

As for our travel, we have only taken 3 flights in our first 13 months on the road. The first 2 were paid for with airline miles and the 3rd (from Germany to Thailand) we paid out of pocket. Otherwise we try to take overland (or oversea) transportation whenever possible.
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Old 10-31-2011, 06:48 AM   #6
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DM, I always thought Couchsurfing was something for single dudes, so I was surprised to hear the couple from Indie Travel podcast, one of the many I listen to in my long commute, rave about their experiences. I am not sure if I could ever talk my husband into it, either, but it is an interesting idea.

There is something about travel that can be isolating for folks who are shy and more introverted, and perhaps Couchsurfing can help overcome that. But on the other hand, I think that I have such a need for decompressing from busyness and other people, that I'd have a hard time doing the couchsurfing for more than a night or two. I need private down time a lot, but I could see it being really popular with younger folks.

The guy who is staying at our place while we are in Peru has had some couchsurfers stay with him here in Charleston and he really enjoyed having them. And he's since decided to rent out his house in an effort to save money for his own RTW trip, so he's been couchsurfing for a month or so, albeit only with friends and relatives.
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Old 10-31-2011, 11:39 AM   #7
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One thing I have noticed from some blogs I read is that some peeps use the Couchsurfing site to meet up with people, when they get to new locations. They may not stay with them, but the host will show them around their town, they will eat out together etc. For me, that sounds like something I could do.

For me it would be hard to couchsurf because of the way I am. Here it is 10.30 a.m. and I am still in my pyjamas. I'm not sure I could do that if I am sleeping on someone's couch.
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Old 11-01-2011, 09:46 AM   #8
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Some colleagues who travel frequently over weekends for work use couchsurfing to meet with people in the same situation on weekends or during the week while they use the company paid for hotel. They say it is fabulous to connect with interesting people all over the world.

We have homestayed with members of SERVAS - Home Page and are hosts there, too. Indeed it can be exhausting to travel from host to host as you are expected to socialise a bit, too. But I love to include a homestay when I am traveling longer.
Never had a negative experience, both as host and as guest.
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