House-sitting can significantly reduce travel costs and give travelers a chance to settle into a real home away from their own home. House-sitting is specifically staying in another person’s residence while the owner is away. House-sitting arrangements often do not pay the sitter, but the benefits to the sitter are free accommodations, the ability to live in and experience a local community – often with the added benefit of use of a vehicle and the opportunity to commune with the owner’s pets.
House-sitting arrangement vary according to the homeowner and house-sitter, but of course a formal document outlining who will pay for what expenses and the responsibilities of the house-sitter is a must. In most cases, the homeowner will pay at least part of the utility costs (depending on the length of their trip), costs for pet care and home maintenance. In return, the house-sitter may agree to pet-sitting duties and light home maintenance and upkeep.
This type of arrangement can work well for travelers of all ages and it comes with a number of benefits:
- Cheap living
- Freedom to live alone
- Greater space than a hotel room
- Company of pets
A site called Mind My House matches homeowners to house sitters from all over the world and has indicated that there is increased demand for house-sitters who are wiling to do a bit more to earn free long-term accommodations in another location. Some of these responsibilities may include care taking duties like mowing the lawn and more.
Of course, if you are choosing this method of travel, be sure to keep in mind what you may need in travel insurance: medical coverage in a foreign country, flight protection, and repatriation are likely.