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Your Escape Blueprint

How to Test Drive Destinations for Free!

After deciding to get out of the rat race and out of the daily grind in late 2011 and go in search of our ‘perfect abode’. We looked for ways to make our funds stretch further.

When we first plunked our money down and joined a housesitting ‘matchmaking’ service, we had no idea how wildly successful it would be.

We have spent 50 weeks in Tuscan farmhouses, French vineyards, the shores and jungles of Belize, Caribbean villas and stunning Volcano view homes, all because of housesitting.

Bequia Max

Because we have spent 42% of the last two years housesitting and had months of rent-free accommodation, we have saved an estimated $40,000 in travel costs. Plus, saved several more thousands by being able to cook for ourselves, instead of eating an expensive and unhealthy restaurant diet.

Of our 13 completed house sits, 12 of them have involved taking care of dogs and cats. One of them also had a live in maid and another had elderly parents to keep an eye on, along with our regular house caring duties. They have also included stunning views, beautiful gardens, pools, warm sunny climates and welcoming people.

Because of housesitting, we have been able to experience different lifestyles, immerse ourselves in a variety of cultures and make new friends in all corners of the globe. These new friends are from a wide array of countries, backgrounds and lifestyles. Yet they are all amazing, wonderful people and we enjoy keeping in touch and sharing their news. This is the biggest reason we love housesitting so much.

Our passion must have shown through when we met with the editor of International Living while in Panama, as he asked Yvonne to write an article for the magazine–this came out in the April 2014 edition and has been very popular.

Our housesitting adventures continue and we are spending the summer on the tiny island of Bequia next to St. Vincent in the Grenadines.

Within days of arrival, we volunteered for the Easter Sailing Regatta. It was a long hectic weekend and a absolute delight. Michael got a chance to crew and experience sailing in a completely new light (especially as they de-masted mid race). Meeting Sir James Mitchell the former President of St. Vincent over coffee on our second day on the island was a highlight, as was the chance to earn a coveted Mount Gay Red Regatta hat (in fact, we have two).


Housesitting, especially long-term sits has to be the best way to slow travel. It is also the best way to try a lifestyle on for size. If like us you are looking for your ‘perfect abode’ it is the easiest way to try out a new lifestyle before pulling up your roots and plonking down your life savings.

Memberships of the two sites we use Trusted Housesitters and www.HouseCarers.com.cost only $110 annually.

With a small outlay and a little work to build a profile you too, can test drive a retirement destination or have a dream vacation. Some of our friends have already given it a test drive and have completed house sits in France, Australia and Grenada.

Are you a homeowner with concerns about using a house sitter?

Have you done housesitting and have funny stories or horror stories to share?

We want to hear from you, who knows maybe one day it will make you famous…………

You too could become authors, check out our comprehensive report here

The Most Powerful Money-Saving Travel Secret of All Time.





About the author: Born in the UK, with what must be more than a dash of Romany blood in her veins, Yvonne loved to travel even before she met Michael. Yvonne has a varied career history, which includes several laborious years as a laboratory manager, followed by a fun few years as a scuba instructor and crew in the British Virgin Islands, and then many boring years in financial services. Her discontent along with the passing of a dear friend was the prod that led to the realisation that there was a lot more do in life. It has taken almost 40 years to come full circle to realize what Yvonne’s English teacher saw all those years ago……… Yvonne’s true passion (apart from travel) is writing and now finds herself fortunate to have the time to follow her bliss and combine the two as a blogger and travel writer. Yvonne loves to tell stories and talk to lots of strangers (the best way to get the real scoop on the place). Yvonne is a “rainmaker” and makes things happen!

2 comments… add one
  • Rob and Joyce

    Joyce and I are in favor of doing House Exchanges. We have our little retreat on Pender Island , and Joyce would like to share or trade it, with another traveller willing to trade. Do you you know of a situation where that might take place? I know the web sites are out there, but which are the reliable ones?

    Do you you find it a little bit troublesome having to move/relocate to set up life again? I’d find it very troublesome as I like my comfort’s without changing too much at a time?

    Keep it up! Mike & Yvonne, take care and enjoy! We’re thinking of Turks and Cacos this winter, what do you think?

    • mbauche

      Hey Rob

      There are lots of house swapping sites out there. When doing the research for our housesitting book here at the house swapping sites we came up with. We have not personally used any of the sites. I believe like the Housesitting sites, it is free to browse the sites and see what is available – you have to be a paid member to post your listing or contact other homeowners who want to swap homes.

      House Swapping Sites

      Sabbatical Homes
      Free or $20 for non academics per year. Also lists Home Rentals, Home Exchanges, & House Sharing

      70 Euro per year

      Home Link
      $89 USD per year or $39 for limited membership. Can list a second home for $25 USD

      Home Exchange
      $119 USD per year

      Love Home Swap
      $240, $276 or $408 USD er year depends on level of membership

      $29 USD to join plus $495 for one trip or $79/month

      Home Link
      115 GBP per year

      Aussie House Swap
      $65 AUD per year

      As far as finding it troublesome having to move all the time – I love it I guess I am a gypsy – I don’t mind living out of a suitcase at all. The good thing about the housesitting is were stay in some VERY nice homes for a month or two at a time. I don’t think I could travel for 2 1/2 years if I was living in hotels rooms and eating restaurant food all the time.

      As far as the Turks & Cacaos – I have not been and Yvonne was there over 20 years ago. As far as finding a house swap on the specific Island for a specific time – that could be tricky – but not impossible. As with housesitting I think the trick with house swapping is flexibly!

      Cheers M&Y

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