How We Travel the World and Save $30,000 a Year in Accommodation Costs

My husband Michael and I just celebrated a big “travel” anniversary. After traveling full time for over five years, we are neither broke, nor burnt out. The reason that we still love our nomadic life is because we’ve figured out that by housesitting we can travel the world and save up to $30,000 a year in accommodation costs and has helped keep us sane.

We love to travel, but we also like our creature comforts. And the lifestyle we lead now is perfect for us. We get to experience new cultures and stay in some amazing places. We’ve lived for weeks, even months at a time, in Caribbean ocean-view villas, French vineyards, Tuscan farmhouses, and Spanish casitas. This is a lifestyle we would never be able to afford, or find, if we had to pay rent.

Forget poky hotel rooms. We stay in places complete with kitchen, laundry, living rooms, outdoor decks, patios, and pools. Having a fully equipped kitchen means we can cook for ourselves and saves us having to eat out all the time—a killer on the pocket book—and not always the healthiest option. We shop at the local markets and love to create new dishes from the produce we find there. Our current favorites are Chayote (or Christophene gratin), crispy plantain, fresh-caught, pan-fried Snapper, and a green salad, with mango, pineapple, or passion fruit for desert.

This is the best way we know to explore new countries and potential retirement destinations too. Often when we arrive in a new place, we’re met with a warm welcome at the airport, there’s usually a meal prepared for us, and we get the best local tips for where the best markets are, where to find the best produce, and where to find the best restaurants. This also gives us the opportunity to meet locals and fellow expats. We liken these “perks” to being the equivalent of a big safety net, as it helps to reduce the fear of the unknown and softens the shock of arriving in a new country.

After five years of traveling the world, we have a network of friends from Europe to the Caribbean to South America and even Hawaii, with standing invitations to visit whenever we are in the area. It is these connections and friendships that make our adventures so rewarding. If it wasn’t for them we would have missed out on sipping champagne while watching our first polo game in Barbados, or sharing a sumptuous, roast suckling pig dinner with a neighbor’s extended family one Christmas Eve. Nor would we have been able to volunteer during Bequia’s annual Easter Sailing Regatta and experience the thrill of racing over the waves, leaving the competition far behind on the weekend’s fastest racing yacht.

Quite simply we can’t imagine exploring this wonderful world any other way. We love the freedom, the variety of places we’ve stayed in, and the lifestyles and friendships we have experienced along the way.

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