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Budget travel ideas: Pet and house sitting helps woman save $28,000 on travel accommodation

By AYIE LICSI Published Jun 14, 2022 1:19 pm

One of the things you spend on while traveling is accommodation. While there are budget-friendly options out there, what if we tell you there's a way you can find a place to stay for free?

Madolline Gourley, a 32-year-old writer from Brisbane, Australia, has been able to save some cash while traveling to cities all over the United States and Australia by pet and house sitting.

As a sitter, she watched a home or a pet for someone for free in exchange for accommodation.

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Gourley found places to stay by looking for listings at websites like TrustedHousesitters, MindMyHouse, HouseCareers, Aussie House Sitters, House Sitters America, and House Sitters Canada.

"If you take out the fact that I'm from Australia, it's not that much different than a friend or a neighbor watching your pet," she told NBC. "Their place is the only form of payment I get."

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A cat-lover herself, Gourley enjoyed watching fur babies for those leaving them behind, and it only takes up about 30 minutes of her day.

"When I found out about the whole house/pet sitting for accommodation thing, I only wanted to do it looking after cats because I've only ever cared for cats."

The writer's 75-day international cat sitting trip saw her travel to Seattle, Austin, New York City, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, and Portland. Her vacation cost about $7,200—including airfare—but she was able to save up to $28,000 on accommodation.

“Traveling by way of house and pet sitting might come with a few extra responsibilities, but on this trip alone, it saved me thousands of dollars on accommodations,” Gourley wrote on her blog.

“Reserving 15 minutes of my morning and evening for pet care or house maintenance wasn't much to ask when I had the rest of the day to explore each of the cities I visited.”