I live for travel hacks — especially when they involve saving money. So, when I heard about a couple of women who have managed to stay around the world for free, my ears perked up.
Meet Kristina Corniel and Madolline Gourley. Both spoke with me about how they travel the world without paying for lodging, what to watch out for, and a few handy tips for anyone who might be thinking about trying something similar.
1.Their secret? You must like — no, love — pets. Or at least be up for housesitting.
2.In addition to providing sitters with free lodging, pet and house sitting also helps cut other costs — like car rentals, airport transfers, and food.
3.To start, build a profile on a pet sitting site. According to both Corniel and Gourley, TrustedHousesitters is the best.
4.It's probably best to pick one site and stick with it, because a big part of finding gigs is building up reviews.
5.But, if you're new, you might want to start by picking up shorter, local pet sitting gigs so you can quickly and easily accumulate your first few reviews.
6.Another way to prove you're credible is by using your online reputation from other sites — like your Airbnb, TaskRabbit, or Uber profile — or even social media.
7.The site may run a background check and ask for external references to make sure you're legit.
8.That said, pet sitting experience is not required.
9.And for your own safety, always read the reviews of the pet owners, chat with them, and even hop on a video call. In some cases, you may never see them in person. Other times, you might meet them before and after the sit.
10.One secret to avoiding any problems is to carefully follow the routine the pets are used to.
11.And make sure you're comfortable with the number and type of pets you'll be tasked with watching.
12.If you're traveling internationally, you might want to look for longer sits — at least 2 weeks. The sweet spot for domestic sits is a week+.
13.But don't book flights until you've landed the gig.
14.And because of travel delays, you might want to arrive a day early so you have a buffer.
15.It might be worth it to look for a sit that's close to downtown — especially if you don't have access to a car.
16.In addition to taking you to new places, you'll get the scoop on local recommendations and have an "in" with the community.
17.If you're planning to sit internationally, it's worth noting that house sitting can be interpreted as work by border control, which can lead to problems.
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