We had had our heart set on visiting Sydney for the whole year, and halfway through our time in Thailand, it was time to start planning. We especially wanted to visit Sydney at New Year, so we could watch the famous fireworks over the Sydney Opera House and Bridge.
The first thing you think about when you’re heading to somewhere new is where you are going to stay. I nearly had a heart attack when I saw how much accommodation was in Sydney. Even the cheapest dorm room was getting towards being 10 times more expensive than the places we had been staying in South East Asia.
So we needed another option. It turns out, that was housesitting.
We ended up spending our Christmas and New Year in a gorgeous four bedroom house in the Sydney suburbs with views over a river and possibly the biggest TV I’ve seen in the world (which the Doctor Who Christmas Special looked great on!). And all we paid was the yearly membership fee to a great house sitting website – Trusted Housesitters.
We have got a fantastic deal for you guys. If you use this link to sign up to TrustedHousesitters, you’ll get 20% off your membership. TrustedHousesitters is arguably the most reputable of the housesitting sites, and the website userbility is fantastic. They have members in over 130 countries, so no matter where you want to go, you’ll be able to find a housesit.
All you need to do is fill in a little about yourself and you are free to start applying to housesits anywhere in the world. Some houses in certain parts of the world can have a lot of applicants, and the house we stayed at had over 30! We asked our hosts what made them choose us, and they said it was because we seemed committed to coming and staying for the whole time. They’d had people apply who seemed a bit wishy-washy with their plans and they weren’t sure if they’d turn up.
Some of the things you can do to boost your chance of getting selected are;
- Completely fill in your profile, including pictures of you (and your pets if you have one).
- Get the optional security checks – the first four levels are free and easy.
- Get a reference from someone – you can add references from outside the site.
- Personalise your application for each housesit – don’t just copy and paste
We found our way there after a grueling flight from Cambodia via Malaysia, and we were absolutely pooped. Our hosts took us in, showed us around and gave us some time to get ourselves together. Then we sat out on their deck with some beers, looking over their garden in the sunset and had a bit of a chat about anything they needed us to do while they were away.
A lot of housesits will have animals they need looking after, and some will have some odd maintenance jobs to do. Our hosts just needed someone to water the lawns every couple of days as the hot, summer Australian sun could absolutely destroy it.
Over the next few weeks we saw the sights of Sydney, including spending Christmas Day roasting in the sun. We saved money on food by buying groceries and cooking in a lovely grown up kitchen. There were even a couple of duvet days thrown in for good measure. We could easily get to the city centre if we wanted to. It was also easy to drive to all the other southern suburbs of Sydney.
In return, we watered the grass, collected up the post and kept the house clean and tidy. We had so much fun and it was great having the whole place to ourselves.
When our hosts came back, there were more beers on the back porch and a great night discussing their trip and the fun we had had. They generously invited us to stay the night before we needed to meet up with our friends at Sydney airport.
We were genuinely gutted to leave the next morning, because we had found some new friends and kindred spirits in our hosts who also loved travelling. They had shared with us all of their tips and tricks about Sydney, and we had shared with them a few secret places to go in London.
- We had a private double room and bathroom.
- The garden and BBQ were perfect.
- We could cook whatever and whenever.
- New friends.
- Lovely, homely and well-equipped surroundings.
- Sightseeing advice from locals.
- The wifi was amazing – and no-one to share it with!
- We saved at least £700 ($875) over the course of 3 weeks (factoring in the membership cost).
- We were a little distance from the city centre.
- We couldn’t leave the house for longer than a day or two.
- You have to be responsible for something staying alive (in our case it was luckily just plants).
- It’s hard to be spontaneous.
Would I do it again?
Hell yes! In a heartbeat.
Have you tried housesitting? What did you think? Have you had someone housesit for you? Let us know in the comments below!
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