travel

There's an easy way to travel the country without paying a cent for accommodation.

A two bedroom, two bathroom, two story inner-Sydney apartment available for a week over the New Year. That’d probably leave you a few grand out of pocket, right? Maybe even five?

Nope. Try zero, zilch, totally free. There’s just two catches. Two furry catches. A pair of one-year-old Cavoodle puppies that need food and cuddles.

This Surry Hills pad is listed on Your Home My Home, one of the numerous house-sitting portals popping up on the Australian market.

The concept is simple: homeowners offer free accommodation in exchange for pet and/or home minding while they’re out of town. Think Airbnb, but rather than handing money over, you’re expected to take out the rubbish bins, collect the mail, walk the dog and so on.

The concept is being embraced by thousands of Australians looking to travel rent-free; from grey nomads to uni students, even families seeking for an affordable holiday. It’s so popular in fact, that since launching January, nearly 13,000 nights of free accommodation have been exchanged on YHMH alone.

house sitting australia

You could live in this Sydney home for free. Image: Your Home My Home.

It's not just for holidaymakers, though. These kinds of platforms can also serve as an ideal way for home-buyers to suss out a particular area or for young people to save for that first apartment without having to move back in with the 'rents.

In fact, one Tassie couple managed to save $52,000 in a single year by securing a string of back-to-back house-sitting 'jobs' using sites like YHMH. Rachel and Shaun Freeman told news.com.au that they even managed to work full time while hopping between homes in the south of the state.

“It’s pretty much the best thing we have ever done in our lives," Rachel said.

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“The homes we have done are amazing — from every end of the spectrum. We have been on farms, large properties to suburban homes near the beach, to having it right on our doorstep, premier locations in the city and outer expensive suburbs, many with incredible panoramic views, pools and spas."

The benefits for sitters are obvious, but for homeowners it also means peace of mind that their place and beloved pets are being well cared for by someone they've personally picked and vetted. Police checks are encouraged, as are face-to-face meetings with the potential sitter - particularly when there are anxious pets involved.

According to Your Home My Home co-founder Rebecca Nankervis, it's pets that are largely responsible for driving the Australian house-sitting market. After all, there are 30 million of them.

“Like humans, animals get used to their familiar surroundings. Leaving your pet in the comforts of their own home means they are less likely to fret while you’re away on holiday," she said.

"Not to mention that boarding kennels can be expensive. Often you need to add on average an additional $50 per day, per animal to your holiday budget. That could equate to an extra $2000 if you have two pets boarded while on a two week holiday.”

Why not save that for poolside cocktails or put it away for the next trip? Besides, I think we all know which option your fur friend would prefer...

via GIPHY

Featured image via iStock.

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