Travel the world and save $30,000 by house sitting

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I had a dream and for a very long time that was all it was, a dream that seemed unattainable, unrealistic and most definitely one I could not afford.

For the longest time I fantasied and day-dreamed, but that was all.

Then, life happened. Let’s just say I was forced to rethink where I was heading; I discovered my reality was nothing like my fantasy and I didn’t like it.

How does one obtain something that seems so unreachable?


How to live a life of travel

I believe nothing in this world is impossible if it’s something you truly want.

If you believe strongly enough in it, it will come to you eventually. I started believing in my dream, I starting planning how I could achieve it and guess what – It eventually happened!

It’s all about thinking outside the box, being open to ideas and possibilities and finding a way to make it happen.

So what was this big dream of mine?

To travel the world indefinitely and live nomadically.

Let me go back a little bit and explain how I made it happen.

1. The Dream

I didn’t start traveling internationally until I was 29.

Growing up, we didn’t have the means for travel so it wasn’t until I had become financially independent that I could travel overseas. But, I was born with the travel bug. Even as a young girl I was fascinated with the world. At bed time, I would look at the family atlas instead of typical bedtime stories.

In 2004, my hubby and I took our first overseas trip together to Fiji and Hawaii. Well, that was it for me. Now that I had had a glimpse of the beauty in the world, I knew I had to see more of it.

Each year we took an overseas trip. While I was very grateful for all those vacations, I would come home miserable and left wanting so much more.

The fantasies of long-term travel began. I dreamt about living in new countries and immersing myself into their culture and customs, eating amazing foreign foods and meeting wonderful people with beautiful stories to tell.

It became an obsession; a dream I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, let go of.

Then a few years ago, life kicked me around like a soccer ball and I was lost and broken. I retreated into my fantasies even more. I found this wonderful world of travel blogs and oh my god, it was amazing!

I read stories of people who travelled a lot, some of them even perpetually. I was hooked. Instead of working, I spent most of my day reading these blogs and discovering that my dream might come true!

2. Travel the world and save

Housesitting around the world

I’m not a single woman so I had to convince the other half that he wanted this travel life too.

It was a little tricky at first; he was a sceptic, but after I showed him my research he became intrigued by the idea.

I started planning out travel budgets and the one thing that was really killing the idea was the cost of hotels. I’ll be honest, at 38 years of age, I’m not fond of the idea of hostels or couchsurfing. So it was going to have to be hotels and they are quite expensive!

So I started researching other accommodation ideas and there was one that stood out from the crowd – Housesitting

We had house sat 13 years previously when we were building our first home together. It was a great way to save on rent while we were also paying a mortgage. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier! It was a perfect solution.

Once we had that sorted out, our budget looked more realistic so we made the final decision to go and set our departure date!

3. House sitting

Housesitting around the world

We have been house sitting our way around the world for 16 months now.

We completed 11 house sits in 5 countries. The best part – We have saved over $30,000 (USD) in accommodation costs.

That’s not to be sneezed at. We would have been forced to go home after 8 months had we not been housesitting. But instead, we see this is our new lifestyle to enjoy for a few more years yet.

And while the money savings is the biggest benefit to our new housesitting life, there really is so much more.

As we travel we are able to immerse ourselves into the local culture and customs by ‘living’ there.

We get to meet amazing people, usually the neighbours and homeowners, and have made some wonderful friends along the way. And for us, as animal lovers, we have pets in our life which is wonderful (we had to leave our two cats behind with family when we left Australia).

But most importantly, we have learned that no matter what your dream is, no matter how far fetched it might seem, if you have a passion and the determination to see it through, anything is possible.

Never under estimate the power of positive thinking and never ever think you deserve anything less than extraordinary.

Nicole, and her husband Michael, are an Australian couple in who gave up their careers, sold their possessions and left their ‘conventional’ life behind for a life of travel. They have been living a nomadic life for 16 months and see no end in sight.They launched Suitcase Stories to share their stories, travel tips and destination guides. They hope to inspire others to travel and to show people how long term travel is not only possible but affordable. You can follow their journey on Facebook & Twitter.

Have you managed to travel long-term and save money? Have you experienced housesitting before? Tell us all about it..

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28 thoughts on “Travel the world and save $30,000 by house sitting”

  1. What a great idea and one I had never thought of! Lodging is always the hardest thing to pay for because I try to spend as much time exploring than in my hotel room – lodging can be so wasteful – but you’ve gotta sleep somewhere, right!

  2. Nicole and Michael, it is very inspirational to read about your house sitting adventures. I have already talked with my husband about this option being a good choice to travel cheaply so hopefully in the future we will make it happen.

  3. I just started house sitting. I wish I’d started years ago! I’m having a great time and loving the money savings! Try not to spread the word too much, competition is hard enough as it is. 🙂

  4. I keep reading about housesitting. It’s so tempting! I’m about to do my second homeexchange so this is something I will definitely look into 🙂

  5. I’m about to graduate with a degree in International Business. Just got back from the U.S. from a study abroad semester in The Netherlands and I really want to do something like that again. Lodging has really killed me on costs so I am wondering if there are any housesitting opportunities for students? Preferably in Australia where I am headed next. Anyone know where I can find any information on something like that?

  6. So many more people need to know about housesitting! Thanks for sharing. If you’re traveling longterm, can work remotely, or just want to travel cheaper, housesitting is the perfect answer.

    Besides saving money, we have been able to enjoy experiences that few people get. We stayed an entire month in a 6,000 sq. ft. beach mansion in thailand!

    We’ve become so addicted to housesitting, that we’re now living in the Sierra Nevada’s in California and getting paid to do it… It’s hard to go back to paying rent once you’ve started housesitting!

    Thanks for sharing and awesome stat on how much money you saved. $30k is a ton!

    1. Hey Tony… Yeah, Michael and I keep asking ourselves how we are ever going to go back to having a mortgage/rent again! I am sure one day we will want to stop traveling and settle down (maybe) and when we do I think we will really struggle with the fact that we will have to actually pay rent or a mortgage again! Perhaps we will just house sit forever 😉

  7. Housesitting sounds like the dream travel plan but having got into it recently it seems I may have missed the boat. After quite a few applications were passed over I got talking to others and it seems the dream has become the same dream of many others.

    The competition for a housesit now is crazy. Those who have been in the system for some time appear set but for us new starters its harder than a job application.

    1. Hey Chris 🙂 Yes, there is a lot of competition but once you get started and have a few good references its a lot easier. We were picked out of more than 100 applicants for our recent Barbados housesit but then have been turned down for ones with much less competition. It all comes down to what the homeowner is looking for in a sitter. Keep trying though, something will come up 🙂

    1. Hi Lorraine 🙂 No real downsides to be honest, but we have heard stories from other house sitters of less than perfect sits. But we have been really lucky and have enjoyed every sit we have done. Oh, we had a dog once that was a little too fond of my leg 😉 But other than that, its been a very good experience all round. And lets face it, when you are saving that much in accom costs its might be worth a little downside 🙂

  8. Awesome post, Nicole! We’ve been chatting a bit on Instagram, so I’m sure you already picked up that I’m sooo jealous of your Barbados housesit, haha!

    I really agree with you – if you want something enough you can make it happen! Once you stop making excuses for everything you realize that it’s actually not impossible at all!

    I told my boyfriend about housesitting, and we spent some time reading all the great information about it that you have on your blog. We’re so amazed by it and plan on looking into it more when our Europe bike trip is over! Can’t wait! It’s such a great way to save money when traveling.

    We’re currently keeping our accommodation costs down by camping in our very small tent. But even that can be quite pricy, actually!

    Loved this, really. Keep up the good work and safe travels! 🙂

    ps. so sad that we left Amsterdam – would’ve been great to buy you guys a beer!

  9. My husband and I have been toying with the idea of doing this for some time, it’s great to see that someone else has actually made it happen. Very inspirational!

  10. Hi Nicole!
    This sounds like a dream and it’s definitely something my husband and I would do. I guess it’s just about taking that plunge!

  11. Loved this article. We’ve been road tripping through the USA for the past two months and have saved a load house sitting too. Probably around $3,500. Not as much as you two, but we’re now living as digital nomads so we’ll probably be at it for awhile. Thanks for a great article.

  12. I really do love your blog, but lately your headlines are getting more and more misleading. This one, and the worst I remember was recently one about your amazing jet lag secret. You said what it was then go ‘I haven’t actually tried it’. What?? It makes me not want to actually click on your articles in my reader cos I can’t tell what it’s actually going to be about anymore.

    1. Thanks Gina. I’m not sure how this is misleading because it actually shares a tip as to how Nicole did travel for 16 months and save $16,000. So I’m a bit confused. As to the jet lag secret, just because I haven’t tried it doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. At least I’m honest in admitting it. There’s scientific evidence to say it does. So why would I hold off sharing that with many people who do suffer from jet lag when I have discovered something that can help them. I’m sorry I’m not like that. It’s kind of like not sharing a remedy you discovered for cancer for someone who is suffering from it just because you haven’t tried it.

      Headlines are written creatively to get people to click on them. Try looking at a magazine they do it all the time. If the headline doesn’t grab a person’s attention they won’t read and then they miss out on learning tips than can help them. We pride ourselves on making sure we provide value to our readers. WE have had an overwhelming positive response to this article. Many people are now inspired to live their travel dreams because, thanks to Nicole, they have discovered a way to make it work. We have also just opened a housesitting account because of this INVALUABLE information. I also had an overwhelming response to the jet lag one too with people so excited that they finally have something they can try to help with their jet lag.

      I understand you aren’t happy and that you feel you aren’t getting something in return. I am surprised you couldn’t find anything valuable in either of those articles, but as I like to say different strokes for different folks. Here’s the thing though Gina, I do this every day because I believe in the power of travel and I want to help people travel more. What I’m learning is that more people are reading our articles with these headlines and I’ve never had one complaint, only overwhelming positive feedback. I believe that we do not lie or mislead anyone and we provide valuable information. Therefore I am not going to change what we do. I completely understand that you don’t want to be part of our community anymore. That is perfectly fine. We don’t want anyone here who does not want to, nor who does not feel they don’t get any inspiration or helpful information. Not a problem at all. We wish you all the best and we hope you can embrace more travel in your life and create better memories. Thanks for being with us for as long as you were.

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