Getting accommodation for free sounds almost too good to be true… But it’s not, if you’re an animal lover who’s willing to pet-sit, that is.
Travelling, while wonderful, has always been expensive. Thanks to COVID, however, prices have never been higher, especially for airfares – with economy flights currently going for ‘business class prices’.
But an Australian woman has come up with a clever side hustle that makes travelling much more affordable. Madolline Gourley, a 32-year-old from Brisbane, has managed to save about $28,000 in travel expenses by cat-sitting when she travels.
Over the last four years, Madolline has received free lodging in about 50 homes across Australia and the US in exchange for spending thirty minutes a day feeding and cuddling the homeowner’s pet cats.
Using various apps – like TrustedHousesitters, MindMyHouse, HouseCarers, Aussie House Sitters and House Sitters America – Madolline is connected with various people needing a cat-sitter and then offers to look after their pets in exchange for a room rather than cash.
Madolline revealed to CNBC Make It that on her most recent trip she stayed in a one-bedroom apartment located in Chelsea, New York City, for free. In comparison, a one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea goes for roughly $400 a night on Airbnb.
If you’re thinking of trying out Madolline’s side hustle, you’ll have to make sure your profile stands out as Madolline says the pet-sitting and house-sitting industries have recently become much more competitive.
“In the past few years, a lot of digital nomads have been utilizing house-sitting sites because sits can last up to six months or a year. I know someone who was looking to get their home looked after in Miami and received 40 applications. A couple of years ago, she might have been lucky to get 10.”Madolline Gourley
Madolline also advises that if you’re a cat or dog or any other kind of pet owner, you should definitely put that experience on your profile, as you’re more likely to be chosen to house/pet-sit that way. She also said to try and pet-sit locally first to rack up some positive reviews before applying for overseas sits.
So, if you’re happy to forgo the hotel experience while travelling and are an animal lover, perhaps you should consider pet-sitting the next time you go away; free lodging does mean more spending money…
Couple this cool hack with a few other money-saving (or making) schemes and you could find yourself travelling the world for free – or at least without getting into more debt. Now, all you have to figure out is how to get from place to place for free and you’re all set to go indefinitely…