Tag Archives: budget travel

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A Tropical House Sit

So excited to add our first guest post to Grow In Grace Life!  Meet Nicole and Michael and read on about how this couple from Australia set off into the world and found a way to affordable travel by watching other people’s homes and pets. I hope you are as encouraged as I am about this means of achieving your adventure dreams!

House Sitting – The New Way To Travel

When we decided to pack up our old ‘white picket fence’ life to travel the world long term, we knew we would have to find a way to make it an affordable lifestyle. There were several options we looked at including couchsurfing (staying on someone’s couch or spare bed for a few days for free), woofing (working for your accommodation usually on a farm or such) and hosteling (cheap dorm style accommodation).

I’ll be quite honest with you – We were not at all enthusiastic about any of these options. We didn’t want to have to be on the move every few days; while happy to work in exchange for a bed, we didn’t want to be stuck in remote areas; and we are way to old for hostels (which is quite sad to say because we are only mid – late 30s).

There was one other option I thought of, one that sounded very appealing indeed! House sitting.

We had actually house sat 13 years prior, while we were building our first home together. It was a great way to save money while paying a mortgage on a house we could not yet live in. So instead of paying rent, we house sat.

So house sitting was not a foreign concept to us. But what we needed to find out was the availability of house sits worldwide. Needless to say, after a little research I discovered that international house sitting was actually very popular with hundreds of sitting assignments being offered every week.

Well, to say we were excited about the prospect is an understatement! We now had a way to not only save money but to travel in a way that suited us perfectly!

We have now been traveling full time for 13 months and in that time have completed 8 house sits around the world!

Many people ask us what types of homes do we get to look after when we house sit. Are we stuck in the middle of nowhere? Are the houses nice or run down? So I wanted to shed some light on what kind of house sitting assignments with some examples of real house sits we have had around the world.

House Sitting in Colchester, England

House Sitting in Colchester, England

Colchester, England
This was the first house sit we had outside of our home country Australia. We were unsure what to expect because we saw only 1 photo of the house prior to arrival. But we were keen to spend time near London so we weren’t really that concerned what the house looked like.

What we found was an adorable cottage style home with a lovely sundeck outside – you know, for all those sunny London days. And the most gorgeous Tibetan Terrier named Sophie.

We didn’t have a car to get around (something we normally make sure is included in the sit) but it was only a 20 minute walk into town and 10 minutes to the local grocery store.

The homeowner, Alison, was such a lovely person and while she was spending a month in Australia, we were taking care of her home and Sophie.

Atlantic Beach

Atlantic Beach, Florida
We have had 5 house sits in Florida (yes, we love that state!) but this was our first. And let me tell you, not a bad way to start our US house sitting leg!

This beautiful home was just a short 2 minute walk to the beach! We would start our day by walking her babies, Alfie and Pumpkin, along the beach for an hour as the sun was rising over it.

After our walk, because it was summer, we would take a dip in her pool, which was surrounded by a beautiful tropical garden.

We would stay inside the air conditioned home most days, hanging out with the dogs, taking dips in the pool and doing what we like to do best – Relaxing!

San Fransisco House Sitting

San Fransisco House Sitting

San Francisco
We had been to California a few times before and always loved San Fran so when this sit became available just 30 minutes from downtown SF we jumped at the chance to become a ‘local’ here.

This 3 level house has been recently renovated. My favorite things about this house: The heated floor tiles in the bathroom, the huge most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept on and the large hot tub under the stars!

We took care of Charlie and Terry, a very aged dog and cat, that we had a very hard time saying goodbye to! Charlie loved his daily walks as much as we did; It was fall so the leaves started changing colors then falling which was really quite beautiful to watch over the month we were there.

We have two house sits coming up in a lovely French Canadian village in Costa Rica. And then, because we can, we will be living in a lovely home in Barbados for 2 months.

Not a bad life for a couple who are ‘homeless and unemployed’ right?

House sitting allows us to afford the lifestyle of our dreams – We get to travel the world, live in beautiful homes, save loads of money and meet amazing people as we go. I couldn’t imagine a better way to travel!

So when people ask, “Why do you house sit while you travel?” the answer is “Why wouldn’t we?”

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Nicole and Michael are an Australian couple in who gave up their careers, sold their possessions and left their ‘conventional’ life behind for a life of travel. They have been living a nomadic life for 13 months and see no end in sight.

They recently launched Suitcase Stories, a website where they share their stories, travel tips and destination guides. Their main goal for this website is to inspire others to travel and to show people how long term travel is not only possible but affordable.

You can also find them on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

For more info on house sitting tips, please read: http://1dad1kid.com/2013/02/27/my-housesitting-guide/    http://1dad1kid.com/

Talon and Tigger have had multiple experiences with house sitting across the globe!

The Happy World of House Sitting.. A Guest Post from Suitcase Stories

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Some people think that the adventure and fun of travel is over once you have a family. Well we want to let you know that the fun has just begun. Don’t think that as a family your adventure days are over. To us, it’s much more wonderful to share your travels with your children. And in our case, that means 7 kids along for the ride.

Brazos Bend State Park, Texas

Taking a stroll amongst the wild alligators while 6 months pregnant

Happy and Free on the Pacific Coast

A recent article written by a CNN reporter called ” 5 Rules of Traveling with Kids” made a few claims that we feel are not the truth. This is the article in question (http://www.cnngo.com/singapore/life/tell-me-about-it/elaine-ee-hard-truth-about-traveling-kids-its-hell-704511). She listed her rules as: #1 The Younger the Child, the Bigger the Suitcase… Our experience proves the opposite. We all pack the minimum amount possible.  A few outfits per family member that are comfortable and worry free ( no dry cleaning or ironing needs) will suffice. Pack 5 changes of clothes if you must and clean them at the end of the wearing time. Some times, because there are nine of us traveling together, we end up shipping our clothes via Fedex.  That way we can each just bring a carry on and not worry about luggage claim. Kids really don’t require that much stuff. Keep it simple and enjoy your travels with out so much baggage!

Yes, we did Disney

Sleepy Kid

#2 The Younger the Child, the Harder it is to Get Over Jet Lag How to cope with that one?  We try and listen to our bodies. The crazy time change could really mess up a vacation from the beginning. Once arriving, we get settled into our hotel / cabin /friends or relatives home /tent, and regroup. Get the kids some basic needs ( healthy foods, water, family time to talk and explain your next activity, etc. ) Then we usually try and get some fresh air after all the time cramped on the airplane or in the vehicle. Run, stretch, play, take a walk, swim! That is a big help when it comes to trying to adjust to  a time change. If applicable, we head to the nearest beach for some sun, surf and sand to restore our spirits. 

Grab that Vitamin D and Iodine. Sun and Salt Surf

Sand+ Sun+ Surf = Happy Kids

#3 Travel to a Destination that Serves French Fries No Way! When you are in a new local, you should eat indigenously. And that includes your kids. Besides the fact that all that junk food ( especially if those French Fries are from a fast food joint ) is so bad for them , they won’t learn how to eat like a local. We really believe in feeding our kids authentic and real food.  You know, when in Rome.. On a trip to Cajun Country, Louisiana we ate fresh crawfish out of the bayou , frogs legs, gumbo, cafe au lait and beniets. At a TexMex restaurant in San Antonio, we all had fresh made burritos, yellow rice, beans and  salsas in some ladies dining room. In San Fran, we ate Italian , Chinese, sour dough bread and Ghirardelli chocolate . No chicken tenders, french fries, fake grilled cheese or hot-dogs. And we never make up a cutesy sounding name for foods they don’t recognize or have never tried. Call it what it is and they will learn. If I serve them kombucha, braised Brussel sprouts, lamb kabobs and Kimchi, I tell them exactly what they are eating. Why sugar coat a food ( figuratively or literally)? Let them know what wonderful arrays of foods this world has to offer. We love to eat all the specialties of a region, listen mostly to their music and get the full experience through all the senses. It will be beneficial to them in the future for their health and for their broader understanding.

When in Rome, Eat as a Roman

Curry in a Hurry

#4  You Can’t Have too Much in Flight Entertainment for Young Children. Actually, you really don’t need to bring much. Our kids will take one backpack each and fill it with the bare necessities. Depending on the age ; a Bible and a favorite book , a sketch pad, drawing pens and pencils, a camera, ipod and earphones, a favorite toy and some snacks. Just what fits in their own sack. Plus they should save room for any items they may like to pick up on your travels to bring back. Mom and Dad can carry the diaper bag and please..breast milk is free! Natures perfect food for babies. Other forms of inflight entertainment? Look out the window, go and talk to the pilot before and after the flight ( we used to be able to watch them fly the plane while up at 20,000 feet, but no more these days), read the ubiquitous maps inside the airlines magazine that show all the flight routes ( where I dream about our next destination ), see a film, take a nap or talk to the person next to you ( if they don’t mind ).Before you know it, your plane has landed. Please always thank the pilot and crew. We teach our kids to be thankful for them getting us safely to and from our vacations.

Kids Play While Waiting for a Flight

Perfect Spot for a Baby

Flying Lessons

#5  Strollers, bane or boon? It’s really no big deal. Get a good one that is easy to open and close at a moments notice. The airlines are pretty good about having it ready for you when you need it. If not, carry the kids for a while.                                                                             

That Trusty Double Stroller

We have been flying and traveling with the kids since our oldest ( now 21 ) was a newborn. We had 7 kids in 11 years and have always managed to travel with them. If we can do it, so can you. Yes, it is possible! It takes some planning ahead of course, but serendipity is always welcome. Some times when our kids ask where we are going , I say  “where ever the road or sky take us ” And above all, be flexible and gracious in your travels.

Always Be Flexible

For more great travel tips and a debunking on that CNN Go article, read on with these family travel writers! http://www.akingslife.com/2012/02/the-surprisingly-easy-truth-of-traveling-with-kids http://familytravelbucketlist.com/the-secret-to-traveling-with-children http://www.bohemiantravelers.com/2012/02/debunking-cnns-rules-for-traveling-with.html http://livingoutsideofthebox.com/2012/02/15/how-do-you-travel-with-children/ http://edventureproject.com/5-rules-of-traveling-with-kids-a-traveling-child-responds/ http://havebabywilltravel.com/2012/02/06/cnns-ridiculous-rules-about-travel-with-kids/ http://travelwritingpro.com/shocking-tips-traveling-kids-unnoticedit-time-demystify-rules-traveling-kids/ http://travelexperta.com/2012/02/5-reasons-family-travel-is-a-must.html http://familyonbikes.org/blog/2012/02/the-worlds-worst-family-travel-advice http://aroundtheworldineasyways.com/2012/02/more-than-french-fries/ http://www.suitcasesandsippycups.com/2012/02/rules http://familyrambling.com/family-travel-tips-5-rules/travel-resources/ http://www.newlifeontheroad.com/-five-rules-of-travelling-with-kids/ http://experientialfamily.com/myths-not-rules-of-traveling-with-kids/ http://walkingontravels.com/2012/02/15/my-reality-not-rules-when-traveling-with-kids/ http://albanykid.com/2012/02/15/yellowstone-national-park-backpacking-with-kids

http://www.thenomadicfamily.com/2012/02/worse-family-travel-advice-ive-ever.html#more

Yes, You Can! It is Possible to Travel With Kids of All Ages