Our summer 2018 trip happened by fluke. The seed of the idea was planted while we were still in Thailand earlier that year, avoiding winter in North America.
While frequenting one of the many outdoor food/beer gardens in Bangkok, you’re guaranteed to meet other international travellers. On just such an occasion, we chatted up a couple who were travelling through SE Asia without paying for places to stay.
We were all ears.
We ordered an ice-cold tower of Chang and proceeded to glean every nugget of information about the house/pet sitting website they use to offset some of their travel costs. Next to flights, accommodations can eat up a lot of the travel budget.
As soon as we drained the tower and thanked the couple for their insights, we hightailed it back to our apartment to check out the housesitting website. Sure enough, it looked legit.
In short, the site pairs people from around the world who are looking for someone to take care of their pet(s) while they are away, with trusted travellers who want to explore new places. No money is exchanged: free pet sitting for a free place to stay. SWEET!
We’ve been pet parents to cats and a dog, and in previous posts, I’ve talked about my former side hustle of running and walking dogs — so between us, we have plenty of experience with the furry, four-legged ones.
In no time, I whipped up a profile and posted it to the site. I also arranged through the site for an international security check.
The next step was to look for places we wanted to go and see if there were any corresponding “sitting” opportunities.
Hmmmm? Where to go? Where to go?
Summer in New York is always fun, and we hadn’t been in several years, and it’s crazy expensive to stay in Manhattan — so, that’s where we set our sights.
It didn’t take long to find an opportunity. With the click of a button, we applied to take care of Heath for seven days in July while his owners were out of town.
Within a few days we heard back from Heath’s owners that they selected us to stay at their place.
That seemed WAY too easy. I know what you’re thinking. We were thinking it, too.
People who don’t know us, want us to stay in their home, with all their things and take care of their beloved pet — without ever having met or talked to us. Umm. Yup!
We thought, what’s the worst that can happen? Maybe that we book our flights, and they cancel just before we leave. Or we get there and it’s a farce and there is no house or dog to sit.
Being the adventurers that we are, we decided to roll with it. If those scenarios played out, we’d find a cheap and cheerful hotel in the city (yeah, right!) — a more expensive trip but, hey, it’s NYC.
In my next post, I’ll explain what happened when we arrived in New York and ventured out to find Heath on the Upper West Side.