I Save Thousands of Dollars Traveling Taking Care of Pets Around the World
- I love traveling and discovering new places, but my bank account is less active.
- This year I started keeping pets to get free vacation accommodation.
- This makes travel much more affordable and brings the companion bonus when traveling solo.
I’ve always loved to travel, but my bank account has other opinions.
Ever since COVID-19 restrictions eased, I’ve wanted to get back into adventure and lean into my wanderlust. But my dreams of checking off every destination on my to-do list started to fade when I started calculating the costs.
But this year, I discovered a trick to get free accommodation wherever I go, which makes my adventures much more affordable.
Instead of paying top dollar for a hotel or Airbnb or sleeping in a hostel room with several strangers, I stay in people’s homes and care for their beloved pets through TrustedHousesitters.
It’s a win-win for all parties involved. I get a free place to stay on condition. I take care of their pets and they take care of their home and their fur baby.
You still have to pay for your trip, so it’s not a free trip, but it’s a way to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars because it’s possible to stay home for months at a stretch.
In October, I spent a week in idyllic Vienna looking after 18-month-old Molly, the perfect companion for a solo trip – even if there was a bit of a language barrier.
When I saw the advert to look after Molly, I simply applied for the trip through the Trusted Housesitters app and was invited to make a zoom call with her owners, who live in a suburb of the Austrian capital, Vienna.
We talked about what she needs, if I have experience with nervous dogs and rescues and how I could take care of their home. We quickly agreed that we would be good for each other, so I booked my tickets to Vienna that night.
This meant that I had to incorporate pet-related duties into my vacation. Molly needed two walks a day, so I needed to structure my visiting plans accordingly.
But she was happy to be alone until four, so I could go out and explore while she just snuggled up on the couch. This worked well as Vienna is a small city so it was easy to see a lot in a four hour window.
Back to his very horny wagging tail and his impressive leaps only added to the adventure.
Truly, if you want a no-responsibility vacation, this isn’t for you. But, I was happy to have more downtime than usual in the form of cuddling with Molly or taking her for walks.
I will be going to Munich, Germany in January to cat-sit. Feline friends might be a better option for people who want less time-consuming responsibilities while on vacation.
The final bonus of this “travel hack” is how you can meet great people around the world. The family I was sitting for left the day after I arrived, so we spent an evening playing cards and chatting amongst ourselves before their holiday started. You make friends – furry and otherwise – and travel in a way that doesn’t hurt your bank account. A great solution to expensive wanderlust, in my opinion.
A great travel hack – but you have to be careful
As a British citizen, I can petsit in Europe with few restrictions. After Brexit we can stay in a European Union country for 30 days out of 90. But you should check what restrictions may be in place for you.
Earlier this year, an Australian woman said she turned around at the US border when she arrived in the country to herd animals with TrustedHousitters, Insider’s Ryan Hogg reported.
When she arrived in Los Angeles, border officials began questioning her about her trip and asking her several questions about her stay-at-home arrangements, she told Insider.
When she told them how long she had been babysitting, where she would be doing it, and how she had found such opportunities, she was turned away and sent back to Australia.
Although U.S. Customs and Border Patrol could not comment on Gourley’s specific case, a spokesperson said the house sitting violated visa guidelines.
“Under the Visa Waiver Program, non-immigrant foreign nationals visiting the United States as tourists (visitors for pleasure), engaging in unauthorized employment are not permitted,” the official said. spokesperson at Insider. “For example, working as a house and pet sitter in exchange for room and board,” they said.
However, a spokesperson for Trusted Housesitters said they did not know why the Australian citizen was deported because authorities had given no explanation for their decision, and added that “pet sitting with TrustedHousesitters does not contravene immigration guidelines”.