A thrifty Canadian traveller shared how she avoids paying for hotel rooms and hostels when abroad: pet sitting for residents in exchange for free accommodation. And she claims it saved her £10,000 on her latest trip to Australia.
Backpacker Hailey Learmonth, 25, shared her holiday hacks on TikTok under the handle @haileylearmonth after Googling “how to travel for free?”, but finding she had no interest in becoming a travel blogger or filling a child care position.
Her advice for all aspiring travellers?
“Make a profile on a housesitting website. You as a sitter pay an annual fee to the housesitting website and then the homeowners pay a yearly fee so everyone has some skin in the game. That way you don’t pay for accommodation and they don’t pay you.”
The unconventional travel hack was made possible through housesitting profiles on two sites that Hailey recommends for long and short-term dog-sitting arrangements: Trusted Housesitters and Aussie Housesitters.
Hailey says: “Depending on the dates you need you can apply to various housesits. Sometimes they’re long-term, sometimes it’s three days long, it really just depends on your plan.”
She prioritised buying a car on arrival in Australia to facilitate travel between pet-loving homes but estimates that she has saved around £10,000 (AU$20,000) from the house-sitting jobs.
Freelance photography, part-time barista shifts and a marketing office job have allowed her to earn an income and pay for food and petrol while living rent-free, travelling and caring for the animals across Brisbane and the Gold Coast for the last nine months.
“If you’re travelling and want to save money I would do the long-term dog sits. I wanted to have months or weeks at a time dogsitting since I don’t live anywhere and can’t host dogs,” Hailey said.