Woman travels the world for free by catsitting

Madolline Gourley estimates she’s saved £16,000 on accommodation

<p>Cats could be the key to free travel</p>

Cats could be the key to free travel

An Australian woman has revealed how you can travel the world for free by catsitting.

Madolline Gourley, 31, has toured across Oz and the US for next to nothing by offering her housesitting services and looking after people’s pets while they’re away.

The enterprising writer, originally from Brisbane, says she’s saved around A$28,000 (£16,050) in accommodation costs to date by using site TrustedHouseSitters.

She has even started a blog – titled One Cat at a Time – in which she shares updates on her trips and pictures of cute cats, plus gives others travel tips to follow in her footsteps.

Her most ambitious trip took Ms Gourley all across the US on a 75-day itinerary.

“I’ve looked after 15 cats and nine different homes in seven cities across the country,” she says on her site.

“I started out in Seattle before making my way to Austin, New York City – where I got sits in Chelsea, South Park Slope and Prospect Heights – Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, and Portland.”

Next up is a trip to Canada, where she’s currently looking for catsitting gigs in Toronto and Quebec City.

To feed her itchy footed habit, Ms Gourley says she works a 9-5 job in Australia between holidays.

“While house and cat sitting for strangers has saved me thousands of dollars on accommodation-related expenses, I still need money to pay for things like my airfares to and from sits,” she says.

“That means I spend the other, less exciting part of my life working a regular Monday to Friday job in Brisbane, Australia, putting money aside for my next adventure.”

It follows one money-saving vlogger sharing her own tip for bagging luxury hotel stays and meals at lavish restaurants for free.

“I have been hotel mystery shopping around the world and across the United States since 2004,” said Jen, aka @SmartyPantsFinance, in a Tiktok video.

Mystery shoppers are under-cover customers sent by retailers, market research and consumer watchdogs to experience the customer service of a brand – for example, a hotel or airline – and report back.

“So the first thing I do is, I go to mystery shopper websites that I’m registered with and I look at their list of available assignments,” she continued.

“There may be an assignment in New York City or one in Chicago or one in Cancun, and I just pick the ones that I’m interested in doing.”

Once she’s nailed the hotel stay, she turns her attention to getting to her impromptu destination.

“If I get one of the hotel jobs, then the next thing I do is start looking for airline mystery shopping assignments,” she said.

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