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Traveller says she saved £10,000 on trip to Australia with this holiday hack

The backpacker swerves paying sky-high rent by pet sitting

Natalie Wilson
Tuesday 17 October 2023 12:54 BST
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<p>Backpacker Hailey Learmonth shares her holiday hacks on TikTok</p>

Backpacker Hailey Learmonth shares her holiday hacks on TikTok

A thrifty Canadian traveller shared how she avoids paying for hotel rooms and hostels when abroad: pet sitting for residents in exchange for free accommodation. And she claims it saved her £10,000 on her latest trip to Australia.

Backpacker Hailey Learmonth, 25, shared her holiday hacks on TikTok under the handle @haileylearmonth after Googling “how to travel for free?”, but finding she had no interest in becoming a travel blogger or filling a child care position.

Her advice for all aspiring travellers?

“Make a profile on a housesitting website. You as a sitter pay an annual fee to the housesitting website and then the homeowners pay a yearly fee so everyone has some skin in the game. That way you don’t pay for accommodation and they don’t pay you.”

Hailey’s first pet-sitting stint started in January on a rural farm in Queensland caring for three German shepherds, chickens, cats and cows as part of a working holiday visa to Australia.

Her first pet-sitting stint was looking after three German shepherds on a rural farm

The unconventional travel hack was made possible through housesitting profiles on two sites that Hailey recommends for long and short-term dog-sitting arrangements: Trusted Housesitters and Aussie Housesitters.

Hailey says: “Depending on the dates you need you can apply to various housesits. Sometimes they’re long-term, sometimes it's three days long, it really just depends on your plan.”

She prioritised buying a car on arrival in Australia to facilitate travel between pet-loving homes but estimates that she has saved around £10,000 (AU$20,000) from the house-sitting jobs.

Hailey has cared for dogs and cats across Brisbane and the Gold Coast

Freelance photography, part-time barista shifts and a marketing office job have allowed her to earn an income and pay for food and petrol while living rent-free, travelling and caring for the animals across Brisbane and the Gold Coast for the last nine months.

“If you’re travelling and want to save money I would do the long-term dog sits. I wanted to have months or weeks at a time dogsitting since I don’t live anywhere and can’t host dogs,” Hailey said.

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