How to travel on a budget – A housesitter’s tips

1 Oct, 2022

How to travel on a budget – A housesitter’s tips

Spread the love

If you love travel but fear the cost, consider our tips on budget travel. In this article we offer you a housesitter’s tips on how to travel on a budget, even in these straightened times. Our author visits Hungary one of the former Easter European low budget travel countries. If you’re thinking I want to travel the world where do I start, read on.

Here’s how to travel on a budget – Yes, still possible

how to travel on a budget
Plan your use of public transport, it can save a lot of money when you travel on a budget

With the cost of living crisis and an economy in turmoil you might be hesitant to travel anytime soon. But, despite the momentary turbulence, it is still very possible to squeeze in that last trip this year, while sticking to a budget. Our housesitting travel in Budapest was a great exercise in how to travel Europe on a budget.

Top tips traveling low budget tours

Housesitting and petsitting is one of the most cost effective ways to travel. If you are a trusted house sitter on a reputable platform it removes accommodation costs entirely from the equation. This means your budget can stretch further into other elements of your trip. Alternatively, you can put the saved money to one side for another time!

Typically, the housesitting arrangement is where a homeowner allows a housesitter to come and stay in their home for free. The arrangement lasts while the homeowners are absent.

This is usually because the homeowner will want someone there to ensure their vacant property is secure, or more likely that the homeowner has pets that need taking care of while they’re away.

The fact that the housesitters are also petsitters caring for resident pets enables the sitters to travel on a budget.

keen travellers
Low budget travel can be a great adventure with a friend

Housesitting is mutually beneficial offering travel on a budget

Such an arrangement is mutually beneficial. The homeowner will feel confident that their home is being looked after. And if they have pets they will save money with the housesitting exchange arrangement instead of using a pet care company or kennel service. Housesitting helps home and petowners as much as the housesitters, both manage affordable travel on a budget.

Some homeowners prefer for petsitters to care for their pets in their own home. In kennels the treatment of the animals is done in groups and your pets will have a less personal experience.

Cutting costs of travel with housesitting

Equally, the housesitter will get to travel to a new and exciting location with no accommodation expenses. Plus the sitters will have the joy of taking care of a little furry friend or two as part of the arrangement. We had dog minding duties while we were housesitting in Budapest.

And with the price of fuel sky rocketing at home, while living in someone else’s home you will save money on fuel costs this Winter. It’s a classic option to housesit like a friend you can travel on a budget.

petsitting for Chilli in Budapest made it a wonderfully meaningful holiday housesitting

When it comes to keeping costs down, petsitting is definitely the way to go. A recent US study by Value Penguin found that holidaymakers will typically spend around 26% of their total travel expenditure on accommodation when travelling domestically. And that cost is 21% of total travel expenditure on accommodation when travelling internationally.

While this study was on US citizens, it is a clear indicator that accommodation costs are a huge expense when it comes to travelling. so worth considering travel on a budget.

Becoming a trusted house sitter

Housesitting and petsitting, especially with trusted networks such as U.K.-based HouseSitMatch, removes this cost entirely. It makes travel an affordable activity despite the uncertainty that 2022 has brought to many of us.

I joined and it only cost £ 69 per year for a membership, and it gave me a vast opportunity to travel with no accommodation costs. It’s a great way to travel on a budget. In exchange I could offer my time and service to the pet and homeowner while they were away. I felt it was fair and was happy with the exchange.

Last minute holiday housesitting

Planning a last minute holiday housesitting means that it is possible to squeeze in a trip before this year comes to a close. With many opportunities for housesitting in Europe, with housesits in France, Spain, the U.K. and further afield there are various options to suit keen travellers. You can save a lot of money by saving on hotels and travel on a budget.

Seeing the sites in a new city is a great way to combine holiday housesitting and petsitting

There are many other additional ways to stick to a budget when travelling, or keeping costs as low as possible. Another recommendation would be to take advantage of free walking tours on your city breaks. Our experience of travel on a budget was really fun.

Last minute holidays

Some people find they can only take last minute holidays because of the nature of their work. That may prevent you from finding a good checked house and petsitter in time. You might want to consider a hotel that takes pets, usually they limit the intake to one or two dogs. But it is worth checking Romingo for what might be possible for your destination.

Free walking tours in a new city

Once you get to your destination consider a free walking tour. Walking is one way to save money when you are considering how to travel on a budget. And in a new city walking is a great way to get about for free and to learn about the culture and how people live. Plus there are free walking tours in almost every  city and are usually free to book online.

The walking tours operate on a tip-based system. So each individual is asked to tip the qualified tour guide at the end of the tour. This is based on how much the tourist can afford or are willing to pay.

Tourists on foot see the sites for free

Without a doubt it is definitely a lower cost option to booking a private tour. Standard personal tours can sometimes cost over £100!

With the free walking tours, you are in control over how much you spend, and it’s a great way to see the city you’re visiting with a professional and qualified guide.

The tours usually last a couple of hours. Depending on the tour you choose, you can learn about the history, culture, food or language of the place you are visiting. One of my favourite walking tour providers is I chose them for tours of Kraków and Vienna.

An alternative but equally fantastic provider is GuruWalk, which offer tours in a variety of cities including Rome, Barcelona, and Florence.

how to travel on a budget
We took a free walking tour in Cardiff and learned so much while staying in the city
Public transport for cheap transportation

A final tip to keeping your travels low-cost is to make use of all the public transport options. Public transport is vastly cheaper than private taxis or hiring a vehicle. And sometimes it is even free, depending on where you are visiting!

While it may seem daunting navigating public transport in a country with a different culture and language, don’t give up. It is a great way to immerse yourself. You’ll end your trip feeling like you’ve really gotten to know the area you’ve visited, while sticking to a budget.

If you’re visiting London in the UK, for example, the buses are currently only £1.65 each trip, and the tube is £2.50 per trip with an Oyster card. This is so much cheaper than getting a cab.

And if you are housesitting in London you save even more money, real travel on a budget.

It is worth knowing there are also daily price caps for London transport. That way you don’t spend more than you have to. You can find out more about the London transport price caps here:

Housesitting offers travel on a budget meaning no money changes hands for accommodation, you offer pet and home care instead

How to become a housesitter

If you are thinking of housesitting as a fun thing to try, then you need to think carefully about your next steps.

So here are some tips for getting started in house sitting abroad:

1. Join a small housesitting platform

Join one of the smaller housesitting sites such as HouseSitMatch. They will help you get started to travel on a budget. Posts on the larger sites can draw 30 or 40 applicants – daunting competition for a newbie!  But the smaller sites offer less competition and increased customer service that is often personalized.

I can attest to HouseSit Match’s unparalleled hands-on support. Also consider the option to become a house sitter for free.

An exchange of services

It means you are volunteering and will exchange your services for free accommodation. The barrier is low to get started.

Other advantages of being with the right platform is they will have guidelines, templates and support documents to help you understand what best practice looks like. Make sure they have a responsive administration so you can ask questions about housesitting and petsitting. A good platform will support you in your endeavours.

2. Start housesitting locally first – it will help you get started as a housesitter

get started as a housesitter
Look for local housesits to get started, whether it is for rabbit sitting or dog sitting ensure you are happy with your pet charges

While you might be asking yourself ‘ are house sitters in demand? ‘ you should start locally first.

3. Start with local housesits

Looking for local housesitting jobs or house sitting jobs near me gives you a chance to meet the homeowners and pets ahead of time. This gives you a “leg up” on sitters traveling from foreign countries. It is worth doing if you possibly can. Local housesitting is definitely a good way to get started as a housesitter.

Especially during these times when airlines are still regaining their footing following the pandemic, your proximity provides extra peace of mind for the homeowners that their sitters won’t get caught up in airline delays and cancellations. Also, since you know your area, language and culture, a local housesit reduces the variety of new things you need to adjust to.

It is one of the best ways to get started as a housesitter.

How to manage frugal travel in summary

I would definitely recommend housesitting to anyone who is keen on travel how to travel on a budget. I recently had my first housesitting experience abroad where my partner and I spend 10 days in Budapest, Hungary. We were petsitting a lovely little Dachshund in a stunning 5-bedroom home with a private swimming pool.

Although I was a little nervous to take the plunge with housesitting, I’m so glad I did. We had considered couchsurfing but preferred not to share the space. My partner and I had the most amazing time in Hungary, seeing the sites and exploring the culture. All the while we were saying in a safe and comfortable home that didn’t cost us a penny.

Housesitting opens the doors to affordable travel whether you are just starting to travel or looking housesitting in retirement travel on a budget. This means that you don’t have to sacrifice experiences and holidays despite the current uncertainties that this year has brought.

Click here to Join as a trusted house sitter


Further reading about housesitting and housesitters

At we like to share useful blogs and practical advice about housesitters, housesitting and pet sitting. We hope you find this small selection of our blogs on house sitters and house sitting in London useful.

Budget travel guide Budapest – Housesitting

London calling – London house sitting

Cat sitting tourist sees London for free

What a housesitter does – Top 10 responsibilities

Top 10 tips for catsitting

Top dogsitting tips for beginners

Spread the love


Founder and Director of HouseSitMatch - I'm a hands-on Admin on the site. Please ask any questions and as soon as I can I'll happily answer and assist where I can.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.