TikTok Star Reveals Her Secret Hack Free of charge Travel – Forbes
Inflation is taking a toll on travel, from surging airfares to eye-watering hotel prices. In fact , 79% of travelers are changing their upcoming travel plans as a result, based on a new #@@#@!! Bankrate survey .
But that’s not holding Kristina Corniel back (or her followers).
This travel content creator from Ny City—known as @KristinaCors on social media—specializes in bucket-list experiences, digital nomad content and travel hacks that she shares on her #@@#@!! TikTok #@@#@!! and #@@#@!! Instagram #@@#@!! channels.
Among her ” inside info ” travel hacks has allowed her to stay in places like Switzerland and California Wine Country for free: house sitting. It’s no wonder a number of #@@#@!! her TikTok videos #@@#@!! in the topic have gone viral.
“When people think ‘free’ they usually think ‘cheap’ and that’s not the case with house sitting, ” says Corniel. “It has been so exciting to stay at beautiful homes I realize would go for $500-$1, 000 a night on Airbnb—for free. ”
Corniel has snagged impressive house-sitting gigs in New York City, from a two-story apartment in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood with private entry to a rooftop overlooking the NYC skyline, to a two-bedroom brownstone apartment in Greenwich Village. She has stayed in the Wine Country home in Northern California set amid rolling hills with a Japanese-style cedar hot tub and 25 mature fruit trees on the property. “I’d wake up everyday and have a plum breakfast every day, ” she says.
In Charleston, Sc, she took care of a three-bedroom house with an exercise room, a hot tub, a fireplace pit and also a huge backyard with entry to a lake and kayaks where she encountered all types of wildlife, including sea egrets and blue herons.
However the crème de la crème was in Switzerland, where she stayed in a four-bedroom Lake Geneva house with stunning mountain views. “The interior was designed beautifully and offered modern amenities like a Sonos wireless audio system, ” says Corniel. “The owner had even continued her weekly cleaning service while she was gone. I was provided with an eBike to explore, as well as a car. ”
So how does house sitting work, and how can you do it? Here, we talk to Corniel about her career background, her digital nomad journey and how to use house sitting to travel the world—for free.
My Background: #@@#@!! Before becoming a travel content creator, Corniel was living a completely different life. “I did all the things I had been told I used to be supposed to do, ” says Corniel. This includes getting an undergraduate degree from Boston College, followed by a masters from Columbia University, followed by work at Goldman Sachs, no less. #@@#@!!
Making a Change: #@@#@!! “Ultimately, I wasn’t fulfilled by the career path which i was on, ” says Corniel. “I had this shift in the way I saw the planet and defined success. It was no longer about accumulating money, prestigious titles or material things. It had been about freedom—the freedom to pick how I spent my time. I realized how time really was. I wanted to live life on my own terms. I wanted to redesign my lifestyle so I could feel the world, spend time with family, learning, trying the euphoric pleasures and truly living. ”
Engaging in Travel: #@@#@!! “It has been a journey, ” says Corniel. “After having this shift in perspective, I had been on a mission to discover my purpose and redesign my lifestyle. I started read more, listening to podcasts and looking for communities on the web and offline that had similar values. I needed more meaningful experiences and am felt a little more alive while i was traveling—so I gravitated toward folks who were traveling and happening fulfilling adventures. ”
Becoming a Digital Nomad: #@@#@!! “I discovered people who were traveling full time and even met some on the road. I started studying the digital nomad lifestyle, ” says Corniel. “The more I traveled, the more resources I discovered. I continued to meet more digital nomads, which fueled my belief about what was possible for my life. I started documenting my adventures and looking for remote work. (Keep in mind this was pre-pandemic, before remote work was a thing, so it was more difficult to find opportunities. ) I started as an online educator. First, I had been teaching English online and i then found other websites and platforms where I could create my own classes about topics I was interested in. That is what funded my travels initially, until I started working with brands on TikTok. ”
Discovering House Sitting: #@@#@!! “One from the things I promised myself during this lifestyle redesign was that I was going to read more. In Grant Sabatier’s book, #@@#@!! Make more money , he mentioned house sitting and I immediately Googled and found the website TrustedHousesitters. com, ” says Corniel. “Then I could see the membership fee and realized it cost $129 for the year. I hesitated for a moment because I wondered if this was too good to become true. But I ended up going for it and it was more than worthwhile after my first house sit. ”
Pet Sitting: #@@#@!! Many house-sitting gigs involve caring for someone’s pets. “If you love animals, the trade-off of having to care for them isn’t really an inconvenience, ” says Corniel. “In fact, if you’re just taking care of one cat or one dog, the amount of time you’re investing is minimal. For most sits, I just had to feed and care for the animals in the morning and the evening, so my responsibilities didn’t prevent me from exploring. And many don’t even require dog walking, since many of the apartments have outdoor spaces, and in some cases the owners were perfectly content with me just letting the dogs out. ”
No Pets: #@@#@!! Wish you can house sit without having to care for pets? “You can, ” says Corniel. “You can filter for the types of pets you’re willing to care for and there is a filter for ‘no pets. ’ You may be wondering why someone would need you to care for a home without pets, but sometimes all they require is watering their beautiful garden. ” #@@#@!!
Benefits: #@@#@!! “You are becoming access to a lifestyle—you’re placed in ways that you most likely wouldn’t be if you were checking right into a hotel room. You are able to house sit domestically or internationally. You’re getting access to a kitchen, so you can buy groceries and cook (which you can’t do in a hotel room). You might be gaining access to a free carrental, which is a huge savings. (If this is a must, you can filter for house sits with all the ‘use of car included. ’), ” says Corniel. “You may also house sit long term: Filter by ‘duration’ and look for six-month stays. This is not just a travel hack, it’s a life hack. ”
Downsides: #@@#@!! “I have already been very lucky with my sits and extremely happy. But obviously, there is a risk with everything you do, ” says Corniel. “I’d say the largest concern would be if the pet got sick, hurt or lost. Then there are other items to think about, depending on where the house is located. For instance , when I was sitting for three cats in Northern California, the homeowner let me know that forest fires were some thing to think about. ”
Methods for Having a Great Stay: #@@#@!! “Always read reviews. Reviews will give you insight into a lot of things—what it’s like to stay in an area, the actual pet’s temperament and routine is and what the homeowner is like, ” says Corniel. “It’s also a good idea to interview with the owner beforehand—ideally via video chat so you can get to know one another and make sure you feel comfortable. ” #@@#@!!
Pet Tips: #@@#@!! “Make sure there are written instructions or video instructions about pet care, plus emergency numbers for the veterinarian, ” says Corniel. “Communicate regularly with the owner and send them picture or video updates—it helps build trust with the homeowner and puts their mind at ease. ”
Red Flags: #@@#@!! “Make sure you understand the responsibilities beforehand, ” says Corniel. “One red flag as if the person forgets it’s an exchange. Put simply, they are overly concerned with pet duties but maybe not as thoughtful about things should know about the house to enable you to have a comfortable stay. ”
Best House Sitting Websites: #@@#@!!
- #@@#@!! #@@#@!!
- Trusted Housesitters : #@@#@!! “Trusted Housesitters was your first website I discovered and I started to take a seat on that site first. I started receiving great reviews and it just made it even easier to carry on and sit on that site so that’s portion of it. I also feel like it has had the most opportunities, ” says Corniel. #@@#@!!
- Rover : #@@#@!! “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 are waiting for inquiries for individuals to reach out to you versus actually signing up to house sits for particular dates. Additionally, there are other pet services you can provide besides house sitting, like dog walking or visiting an animal for an hour. ”
- House Sitters America : #@@#@!! “This company offers domestic sits. Their annual membership fee for sitters is $49, ” says Corniel. #@@#@!!
- HouseCarers : #@@#@!! A smaller community with an annual membership fee of $50 for sitters, ” says Corniel. #@@#@!!
- MindMyHouse : #@@#@!! “The cool thing is you can browse their website for house sits before signing up to become a member—but it appears to get fewer opportunities than Trusted Housesitters, ” says Corniel. “For example, the last time I checked I found 236 assignments in all countries. The annual membership fee is $20 for sitters. ”