House sitting as an alternative to expensive family holidays
British families are having to find cheaper alternatives to the usual summer holiday getaway due to the high increases in prices outside term time, which can see parents paying over double the usual rates. Trustedhousesitters.com has seen a sharp rise in the number of families registering to become house sitters. House sitting has become a new holiday trend offering free accommodation in both the UK and abroad.
“With the economic climate it’s not surprising that families are looking for a different way to enjoy a holiday without being penalised by summer price hikes from the tour operators and hotels”, said Andy Peck, CEO of Trustedhousesitters.com. “With house sitting you could be enjoying a luxurious home here in the UK, Europe or further afield, for free – in return for caring for the owner’s home and sometimes pets, while they are away.”
With home owners registered in over 60 countries ranging from villas in Tuscany, renovated farmhouses in France, apartments in New York to beach homes in Mexico, the opportunities are varied – but the most popular destinations for British families are proving to be in the UK and France.
Andy Peck says, “For as a little as the petrol money to get there families can be enjoying a luxury staycation – we have hundreds of homes all over Britain looking for house sitters, from thatched cottages in the Cotswolds to stone houses near the beaches in Cornwall, to loch houses in the Highlands – it’s proving to be a great way to enjoy your own country. Usually a holiday at home can be just as expensive with hotel bills, house sitting is providing a way to still get away and experience something new and relaxing, without breaking the bank.”
The Loshan family are looking forward to their house sit this summer, “With three children, the cost of going on a package holiday abroad during the summer holidays is too prohibitive. However the thought of staying at home and not giving the children a different environment to explore and for me to relax in, would have been depressing,” Lisa from East Sussex said, “We are looking after a cute dog in return for the free accommodation, the kids are very excited about this prospect!”
A recent survey* found that 37pc of parents admit to taking their children out of school to get a good deal on a holiday. However the Government has no plans to change the policies on absences during term time and have given schools the power to increase penalty charges up to £50 per person per day, so any savings made on a holiday purchase can quickly be cancelled out.
To register as a family of house sitters costs from just £29, enabling sitters to apply for as many house & pet sitting opportunities around the world as they like. House sit durations can vary from a long weekend to several weeks, with many lasting for the average length of a holiday.
*Nationwide survey Summer 2013.