[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]ore and more travellers are recognising the financial and cultural benefits of house sitting.
With rent free accommodation and the opportunity to live like a local in communities all over the world house sitting is fast becoming our travel hack of choice.
Signing up as house sitters little over 2 years ago our yearly membership has proved to be some of the most cost effective $’s we’ve ever spent. With 15 assignments under our belt we’ve become accustomed to the immersive experience house sitting provides.
From the southern shores of Costa Rica to remote lifestyle blocks in New Zealand we’ve looked after homes large and small, and pets of all shapes and sizes.
However there’s one season in particular when house sitting elevates our travels to a whole new level.
Christmas a season which brings festive tradition.
Whether it be carols by candlelight, dressing a freshly cut pine tree or tucking into a plate full of festive cheer, everyone has their own idea of what Christmas should encompass.
Perpetual travel has enriched our lives to such a great extent I fear we may never settle down however, the holidays serve to remind us what and who we left behind to fulfil our dream of adventure.
[divider] TRAVELLING AT CHRISTMAS [/divider]
I always said I could never spend Christmas in a hotel or hostel.
While I’ve no doubt the experience would be memorable and offer the chance to celebrate with a diverse mix of new friends, for me Christmas is a time to celebrate those who you love, those who hold most dear.
House sitting offers me a bridge between the 2 worlds in which I exist. The world of travel and the world I left almost 3 years ago.
In 2011 we spent the festive season looking after a four storey town house on the outskirts of Vancouver.
During our stay we had snowboarding lessons, made a Christmas cake, visited the cities spectacular Christmas market and chopped down our own spruce pine before dressing it in glinting shades of gold and red.
2012 was our first hot Christmas.
Looking after a quirky 60s property set in the artistic Auckland superb of Titirangi our task was to care for the world’s smartest dog. We played Frisbee, explored the surrounding National Parks, managed to cook our Christmas dinner without incident and brought in the New Year with Kiwi style.
[divider] REASONS TO HOUSE SIT AT CHRISTMAS [/divider]
Image | ReneS
This year we’ll be in Melbourne.
A last minute change to our pre planned Caribbean itinerary we’ve just accepted an assignment in Australia’s capital of culture and are looking forward to soaking up the creative vibe of hip suburb Fitzroy.
I can’t wait to spend another Christmas Day living like a local and in a homely environment but if you’re still not convinced that house sitting at Christmas is a viable itinerary option read on.
I’ve 7 reasons which may change your mind.
[divider] #1 EXPERIENCE NEW CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS [/divider]
From celebrating Misa del Galloin in Bolivia to exploring the historic rise of the candy cane in Europe, house sitting abroad on the 25th December will offer a unique insight into Christmas across the globe.
Image | Peretz Partensky
[divider] #2 AVOID HIGH ACCOMMODATION COSTS [/divider]
It’s a sad fact that everyone and his dog is in the business of hiking up their prices once the 1st of December hits.
From restaurant and hotel surcharges to expensive transport and limited services if you travel throughout the festive period expect to pay over the odds.
[divider] #4 AVOID A COMMERCIAL CHRISTMAS [/divider]
Take the opportunity to escape the overwhelming commercialism of Christmas and head off to the location of your choice.
Forget about the Christmas rush, hoarding crackers and fighting for the last turkey in the supermarket and instead choose to house sit. Try a more low key Christmas, pack only the essentials and spend the holidays relaxing.
[divider] #5 HAVE A READY MADE CHRISTMAS [/divider]
On both the occasions we’ve spent our Christmas holidays house sitting we’ve arrived to a bundle of festive cheer.
Each home was decorated beautifully and the owners had gone out of their way to make sure we felt at home. Save yourself the drama of carting the Christmas decorations down from the loft and house sit instead!
Image | Melissa Brawner
[divider] ESCAPE THE WINTER WEATHER [/divider]
For most people who live in the Northern Hemisphere Christmas is a rather chilly affair so why not escape the winter snow and hit the beach?
Securing a house sit in Australia, the Caribbean or Asia will provide a little summer respite from the dark nights and thermal undies usually associated with the festive season.
[divider] RETREAT WHEN IT ALL GETS TOO MUCH [/divider]
Tradition for many is to visit family but I’m sure we’re all too familiar with the stresses of extended family living under your roof.
If you’re planning to travel to visit your loved ones why not search for a house sitting assignment close by and ensure you’ve your own space to retreat to when you’ve had enough of Aunt Marg or your annoying cousin Greg.
[divider] ESCAPE CHRISTMAS ALTOGETHER [/divider]
If you’re a real Scrooge and despise all things tinsel and reindeer then why not escape the festive season altogether and house sit in a remote location where Christmas cheer can’t reach you?
Pack whatever it is you’ll need to survive without returning to civilization for a week or so and relax in the sanctuary of a house sit.
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Have you taken on a house sitting assignment over Christmas? Share your comments with us below.