Lots of people have asked where we’re going to stay while we’re on the road. It’d be lovely to stay in fancy five star hotels for a year but on our savings that’s really not feasible.
And besides, we often find that it’s difficult to meet other travellers and local people when you’re staying in top notch lodging.
Our budget is quite limited for travelling for a year. We’ve only got around US$40,000, which sounds like a lot, but between two people it really isn’t much.
Over the past few months, we’ve been researching ways to travel slowly and on the cheap and we’ve discovered a vast array of options that we didn’t even know existed.
In case you want to go on holiday but are worried about how you’d fund it, or if you’d like a unique experience that’s different from the traditional hotel or resort stay, we thought we’d share our research with you.
One of the best types of accommodation we’ve found so far has been housesitting. We’ve already got two assignments – one in New Hampshire and one in Wisconsin – and with these two alone it means we won’t have to pay for accommodation for more than a month. We figure housesitting is the best fit for us because when you’re on the road for a long time it’s nice to be able to come back to a house rather than a hotel. It’ll also provide us with a quiet area to write and relax in.
Another good thing about housesitting is that you get to look after animals. When we were living in London we really missed having a dog – we both grew up with dogs – so it’ll be nice to have some animal company again for a while.
So how do we find housesitting assignments? We’ve signed up to three websites so far.
Mindmyhouse.com: This website has the cheapest fees at just $20 a year. This was the first website we joined and got our Wisconsin housesitting assignment through it.
Trustedhousesitters.com: This website’s fees are more expensive at $79 a year. However, there are many more assignments listed and you can include a video in your profile to show off your personality a little more than what a written statement gives. The best thing I like about this website is that they email you all the new listings each day so you can get in quick when there’s a housesitting assignment you fancy. Although saying all this, we’ve yet to get any housesitting assignments through this website.
Housecarers.com: We got our second housesitting assignment off this website and will be staying in New Hampshire in July. It costs $30 a year to be a member. The only annoying thing with this website is that although it emails you each time you receive a message from someone who wants to find a housesitter, you have to login to the website to see the message. With the other two you can read what the person has written directly via your email.
We haven’t signed up for any WWOOFing assignments yet but we’re seriously considering it. WOOF stands for World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms and the organisation has separate websites depending on where you are in the world. You don’t just have to work on organic farms either – you can opt to help them build a barn, look after animals or even get involved in art projects. What I like the best about the website is that people leave reviews after their stays, meaning you can see whether others have had a good experience or not.
This is another experience we’re keen to try, mostly because you get a chance to meet the locals. If you haven’t heard of couchsurfing, the idea is that you contact locals living in a city and stay with them on their couch or in their spare bedroom. A couple of friends have told us that they’ve had amazing experiences and made long-lasting friendships doing this and we can’t wait to give it a try. There’s nothing better than getting shown around a city by someone who lives there!
We love Expedia and have been using quite a lot lately. The website’s useful because it’s kind of like an all-in-one where you can book accommodation, car hire, flights and last minute hotel stays. It’s nearly like having a travel agent at your fingertips. I’m pretty sure we’ll be using the last minute section again when we’re travelling over the next year.
Air BnB is an alternative to a hotel stay and it’s a great concept. People can rent out the rooms in their house or a whole apartment or home and normally the price is very reasonable. I just had a look for Quebec City and you can rent a whole one bed apartment for £60 a night. Because it’s in a house there’s a kitchen, meaning you can cook and save money on eating out, making it a great option if you’re travelling on a budget.
We’ve been lucky enough to score a number of days’ complimentary accommodation through the blog. When we’re in Toronto we’re going on a three day press trip up to Kingston, which is all expenses paid. Then we’ve been lucky enough to also get a week’s free accommodation up in Traverse City in the USA, which is near the Great Lakes. Dave’s a keen sailor and can’t wait to enjoy the area.
Sleeping in the van
I’m not a massive fan of camping but I’m going to have to suck it up on this trip. We plan to buy a van when we get to Canada and deck it out so that we can sleep in the back of it. Thankfully, campsites in the US are probably some of the best in the world and many of them have free WI-FI, shops and clean bathrooms. Maybe at the end of the trip I’ll be in love with camping… although I do think ‘glamping’ might be more up my street.
Staying with friends
We’re lucky to have very generous friends who have kindly said that we can stay with them when we’re on the road. Needless to say, we’ve taken them up on the offer and in the first month alone we’ll be staying with two friends. First off we’ll be sleeping at our friend Dianna’s apartment in Toronto, who we met when travelling in Greece years ago, and then we’ll be going up to Montreal to stay with Dave’s friend from high school.
And there you have it – an extensive list on how we plan to travel over the next year. It’s just as well that I’m happy with being a nomad and that I like a change of scenery because that’s certainly what we’ll be getting.