An Australian woman has found a great way to travel for less: she minds people’s cats in the cities she visits, and in exchange, she gets free accommodation. This trick has saved her $28,000 since she started traveling.
Her name is Madolline Gourley, and she is a 32-year-old Australian writer from Brisbane who enjoys traveling.
But, vacations can be prohibitively expensive, mainly due to the high accommodation cost once you arrive. So, Madolline devised a clever trick to follow her wanderlust without breaking the bank.
An ingenious way to follow her passion
When she travels, Madolline looks after the cats of the inhabitants of the cities she visits. She goes to the homes of citizens who are away for a few days and has to keep the house clean, feed the cats, play with them and clean their litter boxes.
Madolline gets to stay at the house for free in exchange for taking care of the animals.
She initially learned about this occupation from a fellow housesitter three and a half years ago and has since stayed in more than fifty homes around Australia and the world. The housesitter told Mamamia:
“I just think it’s cool that people open up their homes to strangers… and then being able to live in that house in really desirable locations for free is kind of what really sold it to me.”
As Madolline explained:
“If you take away the fact that I’m from Australia, it’s not that different from a friend or neighbor watching your pet. Their housing is the only form of payment I get,”
To locate pets she can watch throughout her stay, Madolline uses house-sitting websites such as Trusted House-Sitters. When it comes to working with animals, she’s gained a lot of experience.
Madolline got her passion for cats from her mother, a woman who has owned cats her whole life. When the Brisbane native discovered that she could enjoy a home by babysitting cats, she took the opportunity.
Caring for cats while saving money
This trick allows Madolline to save a lot of money. In three years, she has saved $28,000. In addition, the woman has already traveled to fifty different homes in the United States and Australia.
In the United States, she was able to spend seventy-five days without having to pay for accommodation. Madolline said:
“I kept 15 cats in 9 homes in 7 cities across the country. I started in Seattle before moving to Austin, New York, and found homes in Chelsea, South Park Slope and Prospect Heights, Salt Lake City, Denver, Chicago, and Portland,”
About thirty minutes a day is all that the young traveler devotes to her daily chores. For fifteen minutes each morning and night, she spends time caring for the cats and cleaning the house.
Madolline says that she always finds time to get out and see the sights, even when she has to follow more difficult cat routines. In her spare time, Madolline enjoys exploring the cities in which she is residing.
Her smart strategy has allowed her to travel to places she wouldn’t have otherwise considered due to their price. For example, Madolline recently stayed in Sydney’s Surry Hills with a Scottish Shorthair cat named Pixel for the Easter holiday, a place she had never considered.
Since COVID, Madolline has found house sitting has become more popular. There are many other pets to care for, but the writer prefers to stick to cats as she finds them easier to handle.
Madolline now runs a blog where she journals her activities. Her website has become a resource for potential housesitters and her social media accounts feature adorable cats as well gorgeous photos of her destinations.