Staycations grew in popularity following Covid restrictions on travel abroad in 2020-2022, and they are trend here to stay.

New research by Cofton Holidays[i] revealed that 73% of adults are more likely to opt for ‘staycations’ in the UK instead of a holiday abroad over the next year.

It also revealed that 1 in 3 UK adults (34%) said that the likelihood of them going on UK breaks instead of an overseas trip had increased compared to before Covid-19 and the cost of living crisis.

The top five reasons are because UK breaks are seen as easier to plan (63%); cheaper (51%); easier to travel to (42%); a way to avoid chaos at airports (41%) and avoid uncertainty around travel restrictions in other countries (35%).

But what if there was a way to make a staycation even cheaper and easier, as well as earn a bit of extra money? Well, there is good news there is, and that is to become a home and pet sitter!

Homesitting is a flexible role for people who want to keep active and busy as well as boost their pension income.

The role appeals for lots of reasons with our recent research with our homesitters finding that the top three benefits of the job are the chance to explore the UK, look after pets, and have a change of scenery.

Many of our homesitters have also suggested the role is like having lots of ‘mini holidays’ throughout the year with each assignment giving them the opportunity to visit somewhere new and stay for free!

It’s the ultimate staycation as people can choose assignments in places they have always wanted to visit and don’t have to pay for accommodation.

On top of that, homesitters receive a modest remuneration, are reimbursed for mileage when they travel to and from an assignment, plus receive a daily food allowance.

For two of our homesitters, Martin and Kristine Bell the chance to stay in new places throughout the UK and spend time with pets is a big part of the attraction.

Martin and Kristine are from Nottinghamshire and decided to start home and pet sitting after retiring. Martin retired at the age of 60 from a career in industry and legal secretary, Kristine decided to retire at the same time so they could spend more time together.

The couple didn’t want to sit around doing nothing during their retirement and were keen to get out and meet new people and visit new places. Homesitting seemed a good way of doing this. They also wanted to spend time with animals without the commitment involved in being a dog owner, after the losing their dog.

Martin said: “We started homesitting in 2017 after we lost our 14 year old west highland terrier. We love dogs but we were coming up to retirement and didn’t want the commitment of having another one, so homesitting seemed like the ideal way for us to get our animal fix without the long-term commitment.”

“Generally, we do around 10 sits a year – and they can range from a weekend stay to a couple of weeks. We could do more but we like to do other things too.  The main reason we homesit is because of our love of animals but it can be a very good way to boost a state pension and make savings on utility bills too – particularly during the winter months.”

The Bells thoroughly enjoy the homesitting lifestyle. They spend the evenings reading, or doing crosswords and suduko puzzles and Kristine enjoys knitting. In one home there was a large dining room table so they did a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle over the course of their stay.

Martin adds, “We’re just ordinary people doing ordinary things and getting the maximum benefit from our retirement. You’d be surprised how many people aren’t aware that home and pet sitting is a job and we’d recommend it to anyone who’s retired.

“Where else would you get the opportunity to stay in different homes in new places and experience other people’s pets and lifestyles and not have to pay lots of money to do it?”

We are currently recruiting, so if like the Bells you want to enjoy staycations for free and spend time with pets then check out the Become a homesiter section on our website which explains more about the role, the types of people we are looking for and how to apply.