How I saved thousands and scored free accommodation on my Europe trip

A solo traveller has revealed her ‘ultimate hack’ for scoring free accommodation in every country on her Europe trip.

Molly Cochrane, from New Zealand, planned on travelling around Europe for several months and was convinced there were better options than expensive AirBnbs and overcrowded hostels.

The woman, in her mid-20s, discovered ‘Trusted House Sitters’, a platform where people list their homes to search for available house and pet sitters while they go on holiday.

Molly shared that she’s been staying in ‘several beautiful houses’ for free for the majority of her trip, in cities like London, Edinburgh, and Bristol.

‘It’s so good – I’ve been staying in lovely places and looking after people’s pets,’ she said in a video.

Molly also revealed that she enjoyed having the company of pets as a solo traveller. 

‘I spent a week looking after someone’s cat in Edinburgh, and now I’m in Bristol looking after someone else’s dog – I’m back to London next to look after two dogs the week after.

‘If you’re travelling for a long time and you’re not sure where you want to live, this is a great way to get a feel of the area without booking an AirBnb for a month because it’s so expensive to do that.’

However, Molly warned that you should only apply to be a pet sitter if your travel schedule can accommodate its needs.

‘You’ll know if looking after a pet actually fits in to your travel schedule – so I just wouldn’t apply for anything that doesn’t suit your plan!’ she advised.

The people hiring house sitters might not want someone who is out all day sight seeing and only home at night.

The traveller added, ‘Everyone is different! Cats tend to be easier to leave at home all day, but dogs require a bit more attention.’

Molly Cochrane, from New Zealand, has been travelling around Europe for several months and was convinced there were better options than expensive AirBnbs and overcrowded hostels

The website requires a $120 annual membership fee – but Molly claimed she ‘definitely got her money back’ and because she ‘hasn’t spent a cent’ on accommodation.

‘It’s so beautiful, and it’s such a step up from a hostel,’ Molly said. ‘I’m living a luxurious life and it feels so good.’

Many revealed that they also used Molly’s travel hack and recommended others try it.

‘I’m doing this for a month while travelling Europe this year. One of the people we’re pet sitting for has even offered us their holiday home in Spain!’ a traveller shared.

‘Currently house sitting in Hackney for the cutest dog and even cuter apartment,’ another added.

Tips for international house sitting 

Potential house sitters should note that some border officials consider house sitting ‘work’ and hence entry into the country might prove to be challenging if you don’t possess the correct visa.

Travellers need to be able to produce a valid passport, evidence of a return ticket, proof of funds, home owner’s contact details and address, and a relevant visa.

Forums like Trusted House Sitters offers official letters that explain the manner of work in legal terms. 

You will not be able to house sit if your entry into a country is conditional upon not being able to legally work there even for a short period.

Source: Trusted House Sitters 


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