I’ve saved thousands of dollars and stayed all over the US for free by house and cat sitting — here’s how I do it

MG cat sits

Madolline Gourley is a 29-year-old traveler and writer from Brisbane, Australia.
Since graduating from college in 2012, she has visited and lived in 12 different states in the US by offering house and cat sitting services in exchange for free accommodation.
As a house and pet sitter, Gourley has stayed in amazing locations and connected with generous homeowners, for no more than the cost of caring for their fluffy friends.
If you’re a pet lover interested in low-cost travel, Gourley recommends joining a house sitting services site that can pair you with local and international sits, and cost as little as $20 for a yearlong membership.
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My house and cat sitting journey started as a sudden, one-time thing where I viewed it as a free place to stay over the 2017–2018 holiday season, with just a few extra responsibilities and a cat thrown in. It was also an opportunity to explore San Francisco. But what started out as a 10 day “home away from home” holiday has led to me traveling back and forth from Australia to the United States four more times. I’ve gone from Seattle to Boston, to Cincinnati and Santa Fe with several other cities in between. During my last trip, I cared for homes and cats in Nashville, TN; Austin, TX; Lake Forest Park, WA; and Birmingham, AL. It felt like an low-cost, extended summer vacation, complete with a perfect animal companion.

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How I got started

I’ve joined several house sitting websites over the years. Membership fees vary, but if you consider how much you save on lodging costs, you’ll make your money back in no time.

TrustedHousesitters: $119/year as a sitter, or $148 to sign up as a homeowner and sitter. This is my favorite site to use. It has the most sits on offer, which also means it can be more competitive.
housecarers.com: $50/year. One of my most memorable house and cat sits was found through housecarers.com. Since mentioning TrustedHousesitters to this couple, they’re now TrustedHousesitters converts.
MindMyHouse: $20/year. MindMyHouse has the cheapest membership of all the sites I’ve used, but I’ve only secured one of the several sits that I’ve applied for through them.
House Sitters America: $30/year. House Sitters America, as the name suggests, only has listings for properties in the United States. They do, however, have sister sites for Australia, Canada, and the UK. Each site charges a separate fee.

House sitting is also a way to enjoy and care for a beautiful home. The house in Boulder that I cared for over Christmas in 2018 for about 10 days was very large and in a great location (a similar house on …read more

Source:: Business Insider


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