How to enjoy a luxe summer holiday without pending a penny! Thrifty mother reveals she’s spent weeks staying in mansions with private pools and farms around the UK for FREE by housesitting
- Jenna, 33, from Worksop is a former NHS doctor turned travel expert
- She uses house sitting websites to travel the UK for free
- Her family have enjoyed Surrey, Devon and other holiday hotspots on a budget
- One home had a pool and some pet alpacas to look after
A thrifty mother has revealed how she saved thousands of pounds on holiday accommodation in the UK over the course of the summer by using ‘house sitting’ websites.
Jenna, 33, from Worksop, has not only saved money, she and her family have also managed to enjoy themselves in homes offering spacious rooms, pools, private gardens and kitchens – including a beautiful Surrey based mansion.
The family also enjoyed a house sit which involved looking after alpacas, a unique experience for the children.
Jenna’s husband Joao and son Leo enjoy the beach during a housesitting stay in the UK for a fraction of the cost of a usual staycation
Pictured: Jenna and her husband and son Leo enjoy a dog walk in Saunton, Devon, whilst housesitting – the mother of one and former NHS Doctor came up with the genius idea to save thousands while travelling in the UK
The former NHS Doctor runs The Travel Mum, a DIY travel business offering custom travel trips for a fraction of the price of a package holiday.
Her team help customers find a perfect holiday and ways to save money when travelling with family.
The site is run by Jenna, and her team – which includes Anna, an NHS Nurse who is also a single parent travel expert- finding breaks for solo parents and Lia who is Jet2 cabin crew and city breaks expert.
But it’s not just her customers who she helps to find a bargain.
The mother of one has been sharing how she saves hundreds of pounds on accommodation for her and her family, by using a house sitting websites instead of hotels.
House sitting sites can’t always accommodate children or pets, but Jenna searches around the site to find something suitable for her family whilst also helping out people who are away on holiday with extra needs such as pet care
A grab from a video showing Jenna and her family enjoying holidays around the UK with free accommodation showing sea, white sands and a happy three-year-old
Jenna says the stays are ‘addictive’ and her family has saved thousands of pounds during school holidays, where prices skyrocket
Some homes have pets to look after such as chickens, dogs and even alpacas which would be a delight for any family or house sitter
‘We discovered housesitting a couple of months ago, it was recommended to us by a follower of ours actually,’ Jen told NeedToKnow.online.
‘You essentially pay for a membership on a house sitting website, and then can apply for ‘sits’ all over the world.
‘The membership is £100 which at first sounds very expensive, but then you realise one night in a hotel is £200 in the south of the UK – so it quickly became a fabulous investment!
Jenna has been travelling with her family which includes her husband Joao, an engineer and three year old son Leo-Benjamin for a month, using house sits as a base.
She said: ‘When people go away on holiday, they want people to stay in their house to look after their pets, or water their plants.
‘Different sits have different responsibilities and you can search through these using the website to find the one that works best for you.
‘But then other sits we have chosen because they are close to things we wanted to explore, for those sits we chose places with animals that didn’t require too much from us during the day.’
Jenna said: ‘When people go away on holiday, they want people to stay in their house to look after their pets, or water their plants. ‘Different sits have different responsibilities and you can search through these using the website to find the one that works best for you.’
The view from one of Jenna’s housesitting ventures in the UK. Flight prices increase rapidly in August when the children are on holiday from school – so many house sitting jobs are available during peak times
Jenna, who had originally planned to travel the south coast of England staying in hotels said: ‘A weeks accommodation was looking to cost around £1,400 for us as a family of three.
‘We would never have been able to afford to stay away for a month like we have currently, but if we did, it would have cost us around £5,600 just for this four-week period!’
She said: ‘We have stayed in a beautiful mansion house in Surrey with a pool and Alpacas to look after.
‘We stayed at a huge house with a pool, and we only left to go shopping. The grounds were so relaxing and beautiful, the pool was great for our son – we didn’t need to go anywhere else.’
As if that wasn’t enough, Jenna got her dream trip along the south coast, for a far better price.
A dog walk on the coast for Jenna and her family – who run TheTravelMum website, which helps people get budget friendly holidays
Jenna and her husband and son Leo enjoy Brighton Pier. Brighton is famously expensive to stay in during the summer months as August is Pride Month and the city-wide event causes hotels and guest homes to almost double in price. Yet Jenna and her family managed to enjoy the delights of the beautiful seaside city for free.
She said: ‘We’ve stayed in a beach side property in Brighton. We have just stayed in a lovely little village in Devon.
‘Most of the adventures we have are free, we like to explore beaches, forests, coastal walks – we don’t tend to pay for expensive theme parks and things we could do anywhere in the world.
‘We tend to pack a picnic and set off exploring our surrounding area. The coast along the south is breathtaking – people spend thousands of pounds to travel abroad and witness what we have in our backyard.
‘We started at Brighton and made our way all the way towards the west until Lands End.
‘Stopping at so many beautiful places on the way. We’re hoping to see the Welsh and Scottish coasts later in the year.’
Life’s a Beach!Jenna’s husband and son Leo enjoy a day at Brighton beach whilst housesitting
‘I think housesitting is ideal for families as it gives you extra space, often a garden, and more comfort than a traditional hotel room would when travelling.
However, the mum says there are some negatives to house sitting – particularly if a home is not suitable for children, but it hasn’t stopped her seeing more of the UK with her family.
She explained: ‘Some sits have turned us down because of our son, saying their house isn’t child friendly, or their animals aren’t used to small children.
‘It’s just a case of applying to different places and chatting to the owner about your family and the responsibilities you will have to find somewhere that works and is safe.
Jenna prefers ‘sits’ over traditional hotels, especially during the school holidays when there’s better availability.
She said: ‘Housesitting is a perfect way to travel in the summer on a budget.
‘Lots of people are limited to expensive school holidays when they have kids, and this gives you a way to do it for cheap.
‘People go on holiday more often during these peak times, so there are tonnes more house sits to choose from.
‘As everything becomes way more expensive – fuel, electricity, gas, etc – it is important to find ways to have a change of scenery and enjoy time with your loved ones, without having to spend a fortune.’
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