The good news is that you can visit almost any place on planet Earth, and sleep for weeks — or even months — for free. You’ll get a kitchen, washer/dryer, beds, sometimes breathtaking views, other times a pool. You might stay in a fabulous beach cottage. Or a super sophisticated New York City apartment. Your choice.

Because there’s a lot of planet to explore.

Only cost? You must love and adore and be wacko about animals. It’s not enough to say, “Cats are okay. Some dogs are cool.”

No.

You must be semi-kooky about an animal’s comfort (are they too hot? Too cold?). You gotta wonder about his emotional state (does he feel merely entertained or truly loved?). And of course you have to be eagle-eyed about the animal’s medical needs (yes, you wrapped his pain pill in baloney, but did you get down on the floor at his eye level to watch him swallow the pill? Because they all try to spit them out).

You need to be the type who calls in sick to work for a week after her mixed teacup dog dies. (In my defense, my husband rescued him off the street after a sweaty chase, and I devoted my life to the little guy.)

Or you need to be like a friend who did reconnaissance on his kidnapped, purebred dog for weeks before finally getting the gorgeous guy back.

Oh, and there’s one more thing.

You can’t just be a goofball. You also have to be insanely responsible.

You know, you need to check the stove at least three times before you leave the house. You need to be prepared to miss a casual 4th of July party because – it turns out – the animals are terrified of loud noises.

That said, pet sitting as a travel method is a pretty amazing portal to travel in modern life. Several companies who connect traveling pet sitters with those needing someone awesome to watch their animals have hit the scene. But I love and revere TrustedHousesSitters.com.

This amazing company connected me with a wonderful family in Richmond, Virginia who made it so that we could visit Richmond and old friends for a song.

We pet sat in a 3,000 square-foot house in an extremely upscale Richmond neighborhood. The home sits just nine minutes to my boys’ friends’ houses. Nine minutes!!

So, I took care of the darling animals – two small, elderly dogs, two kitties, and a tortoise – while my boys hung out with their friends.

Buh-bye costly hotel bill! Hello enormous kitchen, and washer/dryer!

I’ll share more about my pet sitting experiences — the good, the bad, and the awkward — in posts to come, but for now check out Trusted Housesitters.

Full disclosure: I’m not paid or sponsored — or given a free membership —  by Trusted Housesitters.  I’m just your average kooky animal lover who loves to hack travel.

Author

Adventure more. Panic less. Travel writer wants to shout it from the rooftops every not discussed method for safer, saner family travel. Read me before you take off!

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