One of the major benefits of housesitting is that instead of being in what can be a very manufactured environment, like a hotel room, you are living as a local would do. There is no better way to experience another country or culture than by actually living in it.
When you visit a country as a ‘tourist’, you can often miss out of many aspect of the country. For example; living in a neighborhood means you will meet locals who will often share the best ‘off the grid’ places, which you may have never known existed had you been there as a ‘tourist’.
Thanks to housesitting, when you’re on vacation or traveling you don’t have to worry about feeling like a tourist. You see everything from a completely different view; you live as the locals live. We’ve managed to live like locals during our travels which has completely changed the experience for us. We have meet so many wonderful people (the locals) who have given us the insiders take on the place we are visiting.
Separate from tourists
The first step to not feeling like a tourist is keeping yourself away from all the other holiday-makers around you. If you’re in a big group of people who aren’t local, your experiences don’t feel anything like they would do if you were from around that area, and they can seem very fake or simply created for trade.
If you’re staying in a home provided to you by a homeowner, you’re separated from tourists entirely, and sometimes the placements can be hundreds of miles away from where any tourist might ever think of going. We feel lucky to have been included in experiences like this because it gives us travel stories that other people couldn’t even dream of.
Experiences with locals
Although the owners of the house might be away, the neighbors around you can take you under their wing whilst you’re participating in housesitting, offering you local tips and insider knowledge. During one of our housesitting experiences we were pointed in the direction of a secluded beach in the area where there were no tourists to be found; a dream for any traveler.
If you’re lucky enough, you’ll have neighbors who want to invite you for a meal in their home or socialzse with you in other ways. This might not always be the case but housesitting at least leaves that option open for authentic experiences with the local people you are living amongst.
You might find yourself dining out in the local area sometimes, but because you have access to a kitchen during your stay you have the option to experience local cuisine in a more natural way than you would do as a tourist, not to mention, a lot cheaper. Hotels frequently offer menus that are littered with local food, but there is always something about eating in these places that doesn’t feel like you’re getting the real deal.
Having the facility of a kitchen allows you to experiment with local produce and try your hand at making some of the local dishes, or if you’re lucky enough a neighbor might offer to show you the local cuisine and delicacies. You can buy food from a local market or fruit and vegetable stands, safe in the knowledge that you have ingredients that haven’t been frozen or preserved for a long time.
Keeping your options open
While it’s of course fun for traveler to get off the beaten path and stay away from the normal tourist activities, housesitting gives you the option to do a mix of both and allows you to escape the tourist routes but also dive right into them if you want to.
If you’re staying in a hotel it’s very difficult to separate yourself from the crowd, but with housesitting you have the option to mix and match offbeat experiences with classic sights to create you’re very own custom design vacation.
What local experiences do you think you could get living as a housesitter?