New York can be an expensive city to visit. We all know that. But, just because that’s true, it doesn’t mean that you can’t visit the city with a low budget and still enjoy it as if paying its full price.
I’ve been a New York City “local” since 2007 when I moved there to work at an architecture firm. I lived there for several years before hitting the road to become a nomad.
So, in my opinion, I got to know the city pretty well and understood where each neighborhood is, their “aura” or social identity, and of course, the cost range to live or stay there.
Even though I’ve been a nomad since 2011, I still feel a strong attachment with New York City, so I’ve used it as a home base (without an actual permanent home) every time I visit the US or do a stop-over between continents.
Now, I dreaded staying in NYC because of the cost of renting a room or an apartment.
As you might know, renting short term is more expensive than renting long term, and I already knew from experience how expensive a long term rental could be (For example, the lowest of the average studio rentals in the city is over $1,700 a month).
At first, I tried my best to save some money by staying more on the city’s outskirts or neighborhoods that I knew were cheap, but that wasn’t always convenient.
Housesitting, and even pet-sitting, wasn’t a thing I considered at first because I wasn’t too aware of how to plan for it, find places or pets to sit, and all the logistics behind the sitting process.
But, I quickly found out that sites like Nomador do a fantastic job of taking care of all that logistics and making the experience very smooth.
Finding the Right House-sitting Experience
Nomador’s mission is to connect travel and pet lovers from around the world and to make it easy to find like-minded people, AKA house-sitters, to look after homes and pets when owners are away.
This is a win-win situation because house-sitters save a lot of money with their free accommodation, while the owners have peace of mind of knowing their home, plants, and pets are safe and being taken care of – while saving money too!
Do you know how much a dog/cat boarding per day?! Yeah, it can be a lot!
Additionally, Nomador is free to use for house-sitters and safe. You pretty much create a free account, or a “Trust Profile” similar to a social media account, and verify your identity.
Of course, it’s a necessary part of the trust system to allow people to take care of their furry friends and home or stay at someone’s place for free.
The great thing about this type of site is that finding a home to stay in or finding someone to take care of your home/pet/plants is easy, thanks to the review-based vetting process you can conduct on the site.
Just like with any product or service, reviews help us understand how good and safe it is, so Nomador uses past experience reviews on each Trust Profile to enrich the profile with feedback whenever a successful house sitting experience is gained. This feedback is what makes finding a perfect match an easy task.
This type of house-sitting experience was eye-opening to me thanks to its convenience and the amount of money it helped me save. And boy, it was fun! I enjoyed it so much that I even started house and pet sitting more regularly in NYC and other places.
The Ease and Cute Side-effect of House-sitting
One of my favorite experiences was pet-sitting a cute cat named Oliver in Cobble Hill, a neighborhood I love and (unfortunately) above my means to rent short and long term.
Cobble Hill is a historic area full of beautiful brownstones that share a view of New York’s late 19th century past, so I was more than looking forward to staying there.
Getting to the apartment was extremely seamless, thanks to the owner sharing all the details and instructions on how to take care of Oliver via messaging. (In some cases you might meet the owner in person, while in others you might not)
For example, Nomador has a free messaging app that sends you updates on plants, pets, and home maintenance and allows you to stay in touch with the owner easily.
The apartment was an incredible and huuuuge 1-bedroom, fully renovated, and with great accessibility to public transportation and tons of restaurants and bars nearby (I really wish it were my apartment!).
But, again, this type of location would be so expensive on a hotel or home-sharing website.
Based on what I know about New York, I estimate I was saving over $200 daily! And I stayed there for a week, so you can do the math!
But Oliver is not the only furry friend I’ve taken care of while visiting New York. There is also Marcel, a cute Frenchie in Queens whom I’ve dog-sat a few times now.
Since my first experience taking care of Marcel was so smooth, I’ve built this trust with his human parents that whenever our travel schedules align, I’m now the “traveling uncle” who takes care of him.
Marcel now gets to see a familiar face every time his parents are away, so the whole sitting experience becomes even more comfortable each time we do it.
Just like Marcel and Oliver, I’ve done a few other sitting experiences all over the city, exploring different and new neighborhoods I never thought I’d explore in detail. But these free stays allow me to discover and go deeper into these parts of a city I love so much.
At first, I thought house-sitting would be complicated and limiting since I had to take care of a home, a pet, and maybe some plants. So, I thought it would be somewhat of a burden. But, I quickly discovered through experience that it isn’t. At all.
Every house-sitting experience is different, of course, and some pets require more attention and care than others.
Still, from experience, none has been too cumbersome to limit my opportunity to explore the city as I please and do touristy things. All it takes is a bit of planning and scheduling. And of course, being a responsible person.
And you know what’s become a fun side-effect of house-sitting? The joy of seeing a happy dog whenever they get used to you being around and seeing you come back home after spending the day out.
And to me, one of the most surprising was getting Oliver (the cat), get so used to me that he even started taking naps on my lap. That was totally unexpected to me because most cats have a very “stay away” attitude!
Beyond the free stay, these moments are what I love the most about house-sitting, and they have become some of the memories that I cherish and help me identify a moment and place in the city.
Slowly, I’ll continue to explore more of New York City and the world, one furry friend at a time!
This post was commissioned by Nomador, but as always, all words and opinions remain my own.
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