In previous posts, I’ve talked about the benefits and fun in traveling and experiencing a place by staying at Air Bnbs. But, of course, that’s not the only way to travel. A good way to travel and live on a budget is by becoming a house sitter.
I used a house sitting website – some require you pay a fee to join, but once you do the math, it often ends up being significantly cheaper than the amount you’d pay to rent a flat or a room in a hotel or hostel for few nights. Just make sure to do your research before committing to one first.
I hadn’t really heard about house sitting until after my friend’s mum told me a story about how a friend of her’s lived cheaply by housesitting while on holiday. After that, I did some research and found that New Zealand has a few reputable housesitting websites. Ultimately, I joined Kiwihousitters.co.nz.
Although I’ve only had one experience so far, I’d highly recommend housesitting to any traveller anywhere. It was such a great deal because I had my accommodation sorted for nearly a month and the only expenses I had were groceries, transportation and my phone bill.
The owners of the house we cared for were a Kiwi couple, who were headed to the United States on holiday. They were easy to talk to and so very hospitable — a true testament to the kindness and hospitality of New Zealanders. Before we made ourselves at home, we met up with the couple on a few different occasions so we could get to know them and vice versa. It also gave the their three pugs a chance to get to know us.
We bonded with their pugs, Lola, Janty and Lulu (RIP) almost immediately. Once we began our housesitting stint, the two youngest, Janty and Lola, followed me wherever I went throughout the house. Both would fight for a spot on my lap and ultimately, it ended up that they’d share my lap somehow managing to both squeeze their log-shaped bodies onto mine. So, it’s safe to say that I fell in love with them pretty quickly.
This housesitting experience gave me time to find a room to rent, but also it gave me a chance to have my own space and settle in just for a little bit. I also enjoyed becoming a part of the couple’s little community in Christchurch. Each morning I walked the dogs, I greeted neighbors and often stopped for a coffee at the local cafe. I really got to know the area and it was a great way to get to know some of the locals. Plus, how can you not love a housesitting experience where you’re caring for several pugs?
Next time you’re planning a holiday, consider looking into housesitting as an option for accommodation. You never know who you’ll meet or how it’ll enhance your experience.