QCOSTARICA – Did you know that in Costa Rica there are beach houses and mansions in the mountains where you could stay for free. Or even get paid to stay there.
In a comprehensive report by Britain’s Daily Mail, the widespread phenomenon of house sitting in different parts of the world, including Costa Rica, where homeowners need someone to take care of their beautiful houses and apartments for sale, but they need someone to take of it before a buyer is found.
Also there are houses where the owners are away and require someone to “live in” for a defined period of time, to care for their pets.
This form of travel offers world travel on a budget that may seem difficult.
Homes everywhere from tropical paradises in Costa Rica to castles on the edge of rural Scotland are being offered to travellers without a charge in exchange for a promise to look after the house and or the pets.
The principle is simple. People who own wonderful houses do not like leaving them empty – which is where house-sitters come in.
Through the websites, owners can hire someone, whether it be a couple, a solo traveller or even a family, to keep an eye on the property and perhaps take care of their pets. In return, house-sitters get free accommodation, the chance to immerse themselves in the local community and an opportunity to experience the country.
But travelling is not the only thing to come from a free stay at one of these hideouts, people are also using the opportunity to take a honeymoon on a budget – including newlyweds, Kristen and Thomas Ferrero, who took advantage of an advertisement to take care of a beautiful Costa Rican villa with panoramic views and a cliff edge infinity pool.
The Daily Mail report includes the story of Laura and Tanbay, who describe themselves as ‘travel bloggers and soul mates’ who for the last two and half yeas have stayed in 21 houses in different parts of the world, without paying a cent.
On the Trustedhousitters.com, travellers can currently find homes in Tamarindo, Liberia, Sardinal (Guanacaste), Paquera and Cuidad Cortes (Puntarenas).
FIVE REASONS WHY HO– USE SITTING IS THE PERFECT WAY TO TRAVEL
1. Save on accommodation – The most obvious benefit of house sitting is the money you will save by not having to stay in hotels or holiday rentals.
2. Make your money go further – Many owners of architect designed homes, beachfront properties and city penthouse apartments register their homes on the site everyday. House sitters stay for free in these luxury properties and enjoy a standard of accommodation that would normally be way beyond the average traveller’s budget.
3. Discover new places – By being flexible with where you house sit you can discover fantastic locations that you wouldn’t have thought about visiting otherwise.
4. Make new friends – Many house sitters make lifelong friends on their house sits as friends and neighbours of the home-owner are often very keen to make them feel at home.
5. Live like a local – House sitting allows you to really experience an area in a way that you wouldn’t if you were staying in commercial places. And walking the dog in the local park is a great way to meet local people.
HOW TO BECOME A HO– USE-SITTER
1. Write a great profile – Highlight why you are the perfect person to mind an owner’s house and pets.
2. References – If you don’t have any house-sitting experience don’t worry. Trustedhousesitters.com allows character references from people who know you well. Choose someone who has held a position of responsibility and who will vouch for you.
3. Start local – If you’re new to house-sitting and have no prior experience, consider applying for house-sits close to home. The owner will likely take you up on your offer to meet with them and interview in person, and this will put your application head and shoulders above the rest.
4. Treat their home as you would your own – Keeping the property clean and tidy, any pets well cared for, and the gardens maintained, are all duties expected of a sitter. However, it’s the little things that can communicate to an owner the high standard to which you have cared for their home.
5. Go above and beyond what is asked and expected of you – A home cooked meal or fresh cut flowers are thoughtful ways to show off the great job you have done.