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Vacation Rentals You Don’t Pay For?

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Accommodations around the world for free? The idea is admittedly utopian, but it’s also a reality thanks to the fast-growing website Trustedhousesitters.com, which features housesitting opportunities in 60 countries and counting. That’s right, houses—many of them dreamy amenity-filled homes—where you can stay free of charge.

We can’t say that the site’s founders, Andy Peck and Rachel Martin, coined the term “flexpat,” but it aptly applies to the UK company’s clientele. Housesitting gives travelers a way to, yes, vacation more affordably, and also provides an accessible solution to living abroad—or working from anywhere, if you are one of the 10 million US workers who connects remotely to their job.

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Here’s how it works: You pay a nominal membership fee to have access to listings from Nayarit, Mexico to Helsinki, Crete, London, NYC, and beyond. The online service acts as a matchmaker, connecting would-be travelers with the right homeowners and accommodations. In some cases, guests may be asked to take homeowners to the airport, water plants, or watch pets in their absence. Trusthousesitters.com has even launched a charity partnership with the RSPCA in the United Kingdom.

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For traveling couples, singles, and families, the idea of have a place to stay gratis allows for more money to be spent on experiences. And isn’t that what travel is all about?

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Adrien Glover is deputy digital editor at Travel + Leisure.

 Photos courtesy of Trustedhousesitters.com

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