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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

How Much Does it Cost for Eight Months of Travel Around the World?




House Sitting: Travel the World and Your Lodging is Free

When I tell people Conrad and I traveled around the world for eight months, they invariably think we must have an overflowing bank account. But in reality, taking a trip of this magnitude is less expensive than you may think. In this post, I’ll list all the costs, along with the grand total. The other important details I’ll include are how we planned and the major issues. My hope is that in reading this post, you will get another step closer to dreaming up — and embarking on —  your own big adventure. The rewards of world travel are life-changing, without a doubt. As Mark Twain put it,

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”


Immersion travel in Australia while house sitting

Before discovering house sitting, we spent more money to travel

Traditional travel can cost a great deal of money. Lodging and airfare eat up the majority of your budget. For example, Conrad’s and my first trip together in 2008 was to Australia for three weeks. We stayed in B&Bs in four different cities around big, bold Australia. Trip cost: $10,000 USD. That cost could have easily been higher, especially given that Australia is an expensive country in which to travel — and the exchange rate was not in our favor at the time. So we did well to spend only $10,000. That was our budget and we stuck to it.

Our travel style is definitely one where we watch every penny, but also believe that when an opportunity arises, we should splurge. For instance, we took a hot air balloon ride over Australia’s rugged outback. The wonderful trip concluded with a champagne & roasted chicken breakfast. Another time, while meandering the charming alleys in Melbourne, we stopped and had an epic meal while listening to live guitar music. And finally we attend most major museums and many more obscure ones whenever we travel.

But while in Australia in 2008, we were told about house sitting. At one of the B&Bs, the hostess told us, “I’m not the homeowner here. I’m house sitting for them while they’re away.” We couldn’t wait to try it out.

Conrad and I now have thirteen house sits under our belts, encompassing

if you were to string all our trips together —

three years of  living in other peoples’ homes. 


We looked after sweet Megs the dog and Misha the cat while in the tiny village of Galmpton, England


Our beautiful contemporary home in Copenhagen.


Historic Stonelands Farmhouse, circa 1700, was our Sussex home.


This closed-for-the-winter B&B became our French home for five weeks.

An upscale apartment in Madrid’s suburbs was our home



We loved our Australian bush ranch



We felt so at home in this traditional home in Canberra, Australia’s capital city.


Considerations for Long-Term Travel

Not everyone is cut out for lengthy trips on the road. Here is a list of traits that we possess that help the process work.

  • Both Conrad and I adore travel. (We know couples where only one loves travel.)
  • We both collect Social Security.
  • We have several income streams, all of which can go with us or be suspended, or can be handled by our hand-picked substitutes.
  • Living in a university town means there are abundant possibilities for renting out our furnished condo while we’re away.

Planning for Eight Months of Travel and House Sitting

  • Eighteen months prior to leaving, we employed the “credit card churning” strategy to gather up airline miles. Here’s how.
  • We worked out at framework of where our travel would take us. This took a very long time to decide because it’s hard to say no to any country! We whittled and whittled until the basic regions were worked out.
  • Six months prior to leaving, I signed up on three house sitting match-up sights: TrustedHouseSitters.com, HouseCarers.com, and Nomador.com. (The links on each of these goes to my reviews.)
  • Two months prior to leaving we made one-way airline reservations, (using miles), for our first stop, Helsinki, Finland.
  • About the same time, we committed to a house sit in Copenhagen that started 2 weeks after we would arrive in Helsinki.
  • One month before leaving, I made Airbnb reservations for a nice apartment in Helsinki.

With a one-week Airbnb reservation and one committed house sit, we flew to Helsinki. I offer these details because it’s important to consider your own travel style. Many people to whom we’ve told of our 8-month adventure said they couldn’t just wing it like we do. They need to have every move decided with reservations made ahead of time. This is our style. Yours may differ. As we traveled, I religiously watched for new house sits several times a day. Because we had our basic traveling framework, I knew we needed a house sit in France for December, for instance. Or in Australia for March. It was a commitment I was happy to tackle because the rewards of house sitting are so great — not the least of which is free lodging.

If I couldn’t book house sits tightly back-to-back, we’d reserve an Airbnb for the in between times. Getting from one region to another was achieved by taking trains or with regional airlines. Those we paid for out of pocket. Major flights, seven in all, were “paid” for with miles. We had gathered nearly 400,000 miles, which covered every major flight around the world.

Bottom line is that the cost of major flights and most of our lodging was ZERO!


Lush backyard with colorful Lorikeets in our Sydney home



We enjoyed the luxury of this Coogee Beach home in Sydney’s southern suburbs.


So here we go with the numbers. They include every item purchased while traveling, from a few cents on up. I kept a spread sheet, but there are many good apps for travel budgets, such as Trail Wallet or Spent.

Cost for eight months of travel, in USD


Food:                                    $5,001.16

Transport:                            $2,158.75

Lodging:                               $3,132.04

Cultural:                                $470.68

Clothing/Gifts:                     $353.13

Household/Tech:                  $613.50


Total:                                  $11,729.26


Cost per day = $49


Today, we’ve been back home in Ann Arbor, Michigan for six months. All went well on our adventure — no dramas or injuries. Little glitches caused momentary headaches, but in the grand scheme of things are just that — momentary. For instance, my health insurance would not fill eight months of my prescriptions up front, so I decided to see if doctors and pharmacies in Europe would fill those for me. They did, and the acquisition of those pills turned out to be a pleasant and enlightening experience about health care around the world. By the way, I included the price of acquiring those prescriptions in the numbers above.

House sitting and immersion travel in Spain

That’s me at our off-the-grid house sit in Spain.

My sincere hope is that Conrad’s and my travels will inspire yours. Where will you go?

Wishing you safe and happy travels.


Click here for tips to help you succeed at house sitting





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2 Responses to “How Much Does it Cost for Eight Months of Travel Around the World?”

  1. Great article Josie and as you make clear, it is possible to travel on a small budget. We use TrailWallet to track our expenses and like you, seize memorable opportunities when they arise. So pleased to meet up with you when you were in Sydney.
    Andrew recently posted..Sydney: House Sitting in our Home TownMy Profile

    October 8, 2017 at 9:18 am Reply
    • Hi Andrew — and welcome!
      I so appreciate your comment, and the validation that low-cost travel exists.
      And yes, one of the joys of house sitting around the world is connecting with you and Christopher, part of our friendly house sitting community. Happy travels to you.

      October 8, 2017 at 11:43 am Reply

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