Globetrotting Pet Lovers Discover a New Way to Travel Cheap

Mary Simpson
by Mary Simpson

Airbnbs get a run for their money as pet sitting home swaps become the new way to travel on a budget.

Photo Credit: Gorodenkoff /

If that bucket-list adventure you had planned for this year has had to take a backseat due to budget constraints, don’t unpack those carry-ons just yet. There may be a solution that not only covers the pricey portion we know as “accommodation” but may also satisfy the pet lover in you.

Think Airbnb. But instead of just renting a house or room at a rate much lower than the local hotels, you move into someone’s home and take care of their pets.

For those who live with fur kids but love to travel, having someone you can trust stay with your beloved critters is a big deal. If you’re like me, kenneling my crew will never be an option and if they can stay in familiar surroundings while someone waters the plants, brings in the mail and keeps my home looking lived in, that’s a pretty big win.

Okay, be honest: your mind is already wandering and you’re thinking of charming Rose Cottage from The Holiday, aren’t you?

Well, this is pretty much the same deal. And with loads of agencies springing up across the globe, it may be worth exploring for those seeking a little far-off adventure.

Similar to what Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz did in the movie, you simply shop online for a sitter that meets your specific requirements. Must Love Dogs is a given but being willing to care for older pets including cats or larger breeds may be an extra something you’re looking for.

Best of all, this setup works both ways. You can choose to care for someone’s furry crew while using their home as a base for exploring the area or, you can be the homeowner looking for that perfect pet sitter before setting out on your own adventure.

If the idea of having a stranger living in your home and walking your pet feels a bit strange, rest assured that these individuals have been vetted and bonded by the agency. They’ll also have a track record and ratings. As a prospective sitter you create a profile, identify areas you would be interested in travelling to and identify for how long. A nominal annual fee is required before you’re uploaded to their roster. Potential homeowners will then “shop” for their perfect match.

According to Angela Laws, head of community and public relations for one such agency (TrustedHousesitters), this growing trend supports her belief that travel to new destinations should be special. And to that end, she feels caring for someone’s home and pets builds connections that are both unique and authentic. Laws is not alone in her beliefs as the use of this type of service rose by a whopping 69% in the United States last year.

This new form of travel may be down to the popularity of Airbnbs driving their rates skyward and pricing them out of range for many would-be travelers. Ready to explore the world? Pack light, include good walking shoes and bring lots of dog treats!

Mary Simpson
Mary Simpson

Sharing space with three seriously judgy Schnoodles and a feline who prefers to be left alone. #LivingMyBestLife

More by Mary Simpson