House Sitting Gives New Meaning to ‘Experiential Travel’
Today travel means more than just going on a cruise or sightseeing. After all, with modern technology making it easy to pass around photos and videos of places, travel is past the stage of “been there”.
It’s moved into the area of “done that”.
Having bunked in a state room or lived in a luxury suite isn’t enough. Merely seeing the pyramids, browsing the paintings of the Louvre or walking the Great Wall are becoming humdrum. A new form of travel experience has emerged.
It’s called experiential travel. It focuses primarily on the “quality” of a visit rather than the number of places you go to. This means turning your visit into an experience not just of sight and sound but of emotion. It means making your trip an activity that gives you an insight into a place, its culture and its people.
But getting to know a place and its people can pose challenges of time and resources. One way to address these and make travel really experiential is to get a house sitting job. First of all, house sitting enables you stay in a place for weeks or even months. This gives you plenty of time to explore the place, get to know the people, share in their daily routine, participate in their festivities and really live the life.
With a house sitting job you get a comfortable place to live in so you don’t have to pay for an expensive accommodation. You also get to use the kitchen. This means that you can buy your food at markets where the locals shop and prepare your own meals, sparing you from costly restaurant expenses. You can even learn how to prepare the local delicacies and enjoy them at your leisure. On special occasions when you eat out your friends can show you where they go to enjoy the best food the place has to offer.
If you’re getting paid for house sitting, you can use what you earn to make your stay even more memorable and meaningful. On your days off you can rent a car or bike and travel all over the area, discovering new places, attending festivals, going to markets in other villages and meeting new friends.
Different types of experiential travel and tour packages have mushroomed everywhere. You can choose from a wide range of exotic getaways in every continent to give you the travel experience that suits your fancy. Trade shows like PURE Life Experiences and Luxperience bring together the world’s travel providers, buyers, media and other parties to exchange ideas and craft deals. Magazines and online sites promote the advantages of experiential travel and the available packages.
However, at a simpler, less sophisticated level house sitting continues to be an attractive way for true experiential travel. You can decide where and when you want to go, how long you want to stay and what you want to do while you’re there. You might even earn some money in the process.
Contributed by Mel Hogan. Mel is a house sitter, blogger and travel writer who likes to work from home. Someone else’s home that is – thanks to house sitting. He writes for the house sitting website MindaHome.