No Joke: This Genius Website Lets Pet Lovers Travel the World for Free

a woman playing with a puppy
Brooke Testoni

Work aside, the biggest barrier to traveling the world is often the cost. After all, when you tally the price of flights, accommodation, meals, and activities, taking a vacation can be an expensive pursuit. If you've been craving a trip but can't justify the cost, consider Trusted Housesitters, a service that helps pet lovers find accommodation for free.

Pet owners use the website to be matched up with responsible pet sitters to take care of their animals (and home) while they're away. In return, the pet owners give the sitter top-notch housing, which is perfect for anyone who wants to travel on a budget. So how do the pet owners benefit? They get awesome complimentary pet sitting, and their animals don't have to be cooped up in a kennel while they're away. (By the way, vets say that pets are happier in the comfort of their own homes while their owners are gone.)

When it comes to payment, money never exchanges hands with Trusted Housesitters since it’s a trade (except there is a $119 annual membership fee, which sounds pretty reasonable). A whopping 300,000-plus members are registered in over 140 different countries, so it may be time to break out your travel map to see where you want to go next (a few days in the French countryside or a luxurious stay in a Spanish villa, perhaps?).

Since every house on the website is different, you need to earn your way to a top-tier stay. To do that, it's essential to acquire rave reviews. Before you try to book an in-demand house, schedule some other stays first (local or otherwise). Your positive reviews will help you unlock a higher status, but it may take a little while at first—so be patient. Once you snag your dream gig in the area of your choice, it'll time to pack your bags and jet off. Happy "sitting."

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