Secret to “free travel” revealed by Kristina Corniel
The best-kept secret to “free travel” is revealed by the New York City-based travel content maker Kristina Corniel, also known online as @KristinaCors. On her Instagram and TikTok accounts, Corniel posts about bucket-list activities, digital nomad resources, and travel hacks.
She has stayed for free in locations like Switzerland and the California Wine Country thanks to one of her best-kept travel secrets: house sitting. It makes sense that several of her TikTok videos on the subject have gained popularity.
“When people think ‘free,’ they usually think ‘cheap,’ but that is not the case with home sitting,” Corniel explains. “It’s been so amazing to stay at gorgeous homes for free that, I know, would cost $500 to $1,000 per night on Airbnb.”
From a two-story apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea area with private access to a rooftop overlooking the NYC skyline to a two-bedroom brownstone apartment in Greenwich Village, Corniel has landed amazing house-sitting gigs in New York City. She has stayed in a home in Northern California’s Wine Country that is surrounded by rolling hills, with a Japanese-style cedar hot tub, and 25 mature fruit trees.
So how does home sitting work and how can you become involved? Here, Forbes spoke with Corniel about her background in work, her experience as a digital nomad, and how to use house sitting to travel the world for nothing.
Corniel revealed that her secret to travelling free lies in Home Sitting Job. And guess what, taking care of someone’s pets is a common aspect of home sitting jobs. The cost of having to take care of animals isn’t actually an inconvenience if you love animals, according to Corniel.
In fact, the time commitment is negligible if you are only caring for one dog or cat. My duties usually only required me to take care of the animals in the morning and the evening, so I was free to explore during most days. Since many apartments have outdoor spaces, many don’t even require dog walking, and in several cases the owners were completely fine with my simply letting the dogs out.
Want to house sit without having to take care of animals? You can, Corniel says. There is a filter for “no pets,” as well as one for the types of pets you are willing to care for. You might be perplexed as to why someone would need you to look after a house without any pets, but occasionally all they need is watering their lovely garden.
A few suggestions for a wonderful stay: “Always read reviews. Reviews will help you learn about a variety of topics, including the neighbourhood, the pet’s personality and routine, and the household, as per Corniel. The owner should ideally be interviewed beforehand through video chat so that you can get to know one another and ensure that you feel at ease.
The Big Question: Where can you apply for house sitting?
The websites listed below are some of the top ones that Kristina Corniel herself recommends for house sitting.
“I first started house sitting on Trusted Housesitters, which was the first website I came across. That’s part of it. When I started getting positive feedback, it just made it simpler for me to stay on that website. Corniel adds, “I also think it’s had the greatest opportunities.
“Rover is more about pet sitting and less about house sitting. It isn’t an exchange—they actually pay you for house sits,” says Corniel. With Rover, you wait for contacts to come to you rather than actually applying to housesits on specific dates. In addition to home sitting, you can also offer other pet services like dog walking or pet visits.
“The good thing is you can explore their website for house sits before signing up to become a member—but it appears to have less options than Trusted Housesitters,” explains Corniel. “For instance, the last time I looked, there were 236 assignments across all countries. For sitters, the annual membership price is $20.
“This company provides house sitting. They charge sitters a $49 annual membership fee, as per Corniel.
According to Corniel, HouseCarers is a more intimate group that charges sitters a $50 annual membership fee.
Some More House Sitting Websites for free travel
1. Happy House Sitters: Australia’s Trusted Network of House Sitters & Pet Lovers.3.
2. Nomador: Connecting travel and pet lovers around the world.
3. House Sit Match: A trusted house sitter & pet sitter & owners network.
4. House Sitters UK: The largest house & pet sitting site exclusively for the UK.
5. Kiwi House Sitters: Welcome to the biggest house sitting site in NZ.
6. House Sit Mexico: Connecting homeowners in Mexico with reliable house sitters.
7. Mind a Home: Find House Sitters and Home Owners quickly and easily, Australia-wide.