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A young girl is smiling brightly for the camera having shoulder length brown hair; Two Huge Vegan Budget Travel Tips | Lucy Elkin | Ep 102

Two Huge Vegan Budget Travel Tips | Lucy Elkin | Ep 102

Introducing Lucy

In today’s episode, we’ll talk to Lucy Elkin from the blog The Wandering Vegans. Lucy lives on the road full time and works remotely on her blog and also teaches English and has housesat on the east coast of the US as well as all around the UK and is now located in Amsterdam and the house sitting and pet sitting she does what her and her partner do to help maintain this lifestyle long term and that is what she is going to talk about today.

It’s true that we have discussed this on the podcast, but today we dig deep. If you have ever considered this lifestyle, this will be really helpful. Even if you are not interested in housesitting but have a house (or animals) that need good care while you are away on a trip, then you’ll want to listen to learn a little about how you might be able to find someone that is a good fit for your house and family.

In this episode we discuss:

  • How Lucy lives on the road full time
  • House/pet sitting and how this finances her travels
  • Where she has housesat and the benefits of choosing a house/petsitting to get off the beaten track – it’s not just saving money
  • How do get started housesitting, how to get that all-important first few sits?

Learn more about what we talk about

  • Useful Advice for House Sitting.
  • Ways to Experience a City Like a Local Instead of a Tourist.
  • Discover the Cities and Countries Visited Through House Sitting.
  • Tips for Meeting House Owners’ Expectations While House Sitting.
  • Communication Considerations for House and Pet Sitting Opportunities.

Other World Vegan Travel content connected with this episode

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Transcript

Brighde: Hello, Lucy. Thank you for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast.

Lucy: Hi. It’s so nice to be here. Thanks for inviting me.

Brighde: Oh, you are welcome. I’m really pleased to talk to you today because we are gonna be talking about; budget travel and some tips that you have as somebody who travels full-time. Some tips that you have on how people can travel more long-term, more cheaply, and these are really great tips. But before we get into that, Lucy, would you mind telling us a little bit about maybe where you are and what you do in the vegan travel?

Lucy: Absolutely. My name’s Lucy and I am from the US on the East coast in Pennsylvania. But I’ve always loved travel and I’ve been vegan for the past four years almost. Over time those two passions just merged together and I decided to travel full-time and work remotely and just cook along the way and find the best vegan restaurants wherever I go. It really turned into a hobby. Like it was a priority when I was traveling, like what vegan restaurants can I find. So I just started a little travel blog called Wandering Vegans, and I just share information on there about vegan food you can find in grocery stores, the best restaurants you can go to, airport snacks that you can find, and things like this. So just sharing my love for veganism and traveling.

Brighde: Fantastic. And where is it that I’m speaking to you from today?

Lucy: Currently in Amsterdam right now. We’re right in the city center, which is lovely and we’re house-sitting, which is something we’ll talk about, but yes, Amsterdam

Brighde: Fantastic. What is it that you are doing to work remotely? Because I know a lot of people are interested in pursuing this kind of work, but what you do might inspire other people to work remotely as well and travel full-time.

Lucy: Yeah, of course. I do freelance English teaching. I’ve been teaching English to pharmaceutical professionals online, since November of last year. That’s been really great. I get to meet people all over the world and just help them with their English skills so that they can improve their careers. Then the other thing that I do is content creation for some small vegan businesses. One of which is The Vegan Stay, which is an awesome vegan travel company. I help them collaborate with sanctuaries and things like this.

Brighde: Wonderful. Those sound really amazing ways to travel the world. Really cool. Okay, so Lucy, why don’t you share your two tips? They may not sound like many but they are huge so why don’t you share your first tip with our listeners?

Lucy: Yeah. My first tip for budget travel is house-sitting. This is an excellent way to travel and we’ve been traveling like this full-time, since the spring of 2022. So we’ve been doing it for a few months now, and it’s quite lovely. You get to stay in somebody’s house and take care of their home and their pets while they’re away on vacation or away for work. And they can last anywhere between a weekend and a month. It’s just up to you and where you wanna go. It works a little bit like Airbnb only. It’s a free exchange, but you just put in the destination that you’re looking for and the duration of the dates that you’re looking to travel and then you just find profiles that match that and reach out to the person and see if it works for them and for you. Then you go stay and this is really lovely cuz it is a free exchange. So you save a lot of money. A lot of money. Cuz we all know that accommodation can be expensive when you’re traveling. So if you’re younger like me, or if you’re just, taking a break from work, maybe a year off, a lot of people do to travel, this is a really great option.

It’s really cool cuz you can hang out with the pets and you live like a local, which is super special and you can find really great locations. Like right now we’re in downtown Amsterdam, which is super special. You have a whole kitchen to yourself, which is something I’ll get into in a bit. But it gives you the opportunity to cook while you’re traveling and be healthy by eating in when you’re traveling full-time and you don’t want to eat out 24/7. So, it’s a really lovely experience.

Brighde: So may I ask which platforms you use for your pet sitting and house sitting, cuz I know there are a few different ones.

Lucy: Mm-hmm. . So I use trusted house sitters mainly now because it’s international and since we’re in Europe, this is where you can find a lot of sits. When we were in the US we used House Sitters America, which is the same idea. But it’s just for the United States and it’s very densely populated, so if you’re traveling around the US that would be the one to use.

Brighde: So how is it that you register for these sites? Do you have to pay any money? What is it that you can do to make your profile pop and make it so that people will want you to sit for them? Because you’ve done quite a few pets sits already, or house sits already, you must be doing something right.

Lucy: Yeah. So, when you’re setting up your profile, you do have to pay an annual signup fee. I think the house sitters America, is $25 for the year, and trusted house sitters I think is like 50. I’m not sure. There are different plans that you can buy with different perks. We just got the most basic one and it’s been working for us. But to make your profile pop, it is mainly to house-sit people’s pets, right? So if you have any pictures with pets, just showing that animals are comfortable around you, that’s a really big plus. We were already traveling and hiking a lot so just to show our personality. By we, I mean I’m traveling with my partner, my boyfriend, and me, so we just posted pictures of us on hikes and out getting Vegan food and things like this just to share more about our personalities through photos. Then it just gives you the opportunity to write about your experience with animals. You wanna basically portray that you’re reliable, trustworthy, things like this and then we always write that we’re happy to provide references or meet for a video call cuz this helps everybody feel more comfortable. And of course, as you get started, you don’t have as many, but it’s really great to have references and on both of these sites you can get references from past sits so they build up over time. All the house sitters we’ve been with are super great about leaving a really detailed review about our stay. So that really helps build up momentum for the rest of them. 

Brighde: So, you’ve done 15 house sits you told me before we press record. Where have you managed to house-sit?

Lucy: So when we were in the US we did a mini East Coast road trip. We were bouncing all over, but it was fun. So we were in South Carolina, which was great. It was in the early spring, so it was like great temperature for them and the Seventies, which is Fahrenheit. I don’t know how Celsius is, but it’s very warm but not too hot. There’s great hiking there. Really serene, like lots of lakes. It was awesome. Then we were in Boston, Massachusetts, which was a very cool hotspot to visit in the US. Lots of vegan restaurants, and cool historical places, and then we were in Chicago for a bit, which was one of our favorites.

We were near the Lincoln Park area. It’s very bikeable, again lots of vegan food. You can see Lake Michigan, very cool. Then we started our year-up tour. So we started in the UK and we house-sat all through the UK. We were in Edinburgh, which was spectacular. It was a mystical, lovely storybook city. Then in Aberdeen, the city itself is quieter, but it’s centrally located to amazing outdoor places, like along the coastline of Scotland and into the forest a little bit. So, that was very special and then we were all over England. A couple sits near London and Brighton and in Manchester and all of those places had fantastic vegan food again and good hikes. The one we did near London and Chesham, was very serene and we were surrounded by these gorgeous fields and somehow it blew my mind. In the autumn, the grass was still green and lush, so it was very beautiful. We got to go to this old English pub, which for us was very cool. We actually took a hike through these fields at night and went to this old English pub and it was really cool, just like a unique experience that a lot of tourists don’t get to do, which is a perk of house sitting. You live like a local and all the locals that you sit for, share the most special places that you can go and the places that you should visit that tourists don’t usually know about.

So that’s really cool. Then we went to Switzerland for Christmas, which was again, very special. We got to spend New Year’s in Interlaken, which is a very popular, Swiss place.

Brighde: That’s a good house sit.

Lucy: Yeah.

Brighde: That’s great. Well done. Interlaken at Christmas. Accommodation there is so expensive at that time. 

Lucy: Oh my goodness. Yes, it saved so much and we got to see some really cool cultural stuff. They go through the city at that time and ring like big bells and wear these scary costumes to scare away the evil spirits from the cities. They do it on the longest nights of the year, so that’s pretty cool. Right now we’re in Amsterdam, which has been one of our favorite ones. We are right in the Canal Center and there’s lots of vegan food here, lots of shops. Everybody’s riding bicycles, even though it’s like rainy and windy all the time. So just really special, unique experiences and living like a local, watching the pets, like every sit we go to, we feel like we’re living there. So it’s a cool connection to have with every place we go to.

Brighde: Yeah, that really does sound very nice. I’m curious about whether you’ve ever been drawn to a particular sit. It’s not necessarily in a super famous touristy place, maybe because the house is really nice or it looks quite a scenic area. I’m wondering whether your house sitting has made you go to parts of the UK by the sounds of it or the west-east coast in the US that you wouldn’t go to otherwise.

Lucy: Yeah, definitely. So if you’re traveling full-time, you do prioritize certain areas based on things you wanna see, but sometimes you just have gotta go with the flow and go to a place nearby. Like London, for instance, we wanted to be as close to London as possible, but we were in Chesham, which was like, an hour’s train ride out of the city and we weren’t really drawn to it. But it ended up being such a lovely surprise because it gave us an opportunity to see the English countryside and again, walk through the fields at night which was so weird for us. See the sunrise every day and it was just so peaceful. My goodness. So we’re drawn to places based on things we wanna see. But if we’re just nearby, like the Aberdeen sit, there was a lot around Aberdeen if you rented a car that we wanted to go see. So, places tend to end up being pleasant surprises, even if you didn’t really want to go there in the first place but when you’re on the site, you do look for houses that are nicer because you’re gonna be there for a few weeks. It’s just comfort to you so that, you feel comfortable living there and with the animals too. Some people have horses and stuff and we don’t have a lot of experience with horses, so you stay away from that. So it’s just, what you wanna see what you’re comfortable with. If the owners and you connect, like on the video call, like sometimes it’s awkward, so you’re like, eh. But other times it’s so easy to talk to them and you feel great and comfortable already. So there are just some things like that to take into consideration. But overall, it’s very smooth and you end up going to places that you really wanna go to if you stay on top of it. Stay on the searches and make sure you’re reaching out to people regularly.

Brighde: Hmm. Something I’m wondering about is whether you are able to get back-to-back sits because I think some people might go into house sitting thinking that every single night they’ll be able to be doing a house sit. But I don’t know whether that’s really practical or possible. So do you have these funny like between sit situations and how do you deal with that? As someone who’s trying to house sit and pet sit full-time, like how much of the time do you end up having to get an Airbnb or staying in a reasonably priced hotel or with friends?

Lucy: This is a really good question and it comes down to, again how much you prioritize it and how organized you are. My partner and I are very on top of it, so we like to plan about a month or two in advance and it also depends on where you’re going. Like the UK and the US, Australia, there are so many houses sits, you won’t have any issue finding one and a lot of them can be back to back. Now in more of the EU, where we were in Switzerland, Amsterdam, our next ones in Budapest, these ones are a little bit more sparse. So you have to be really on top of it. There was a two-week period where we were messaging people every other hour because it was a little bit more competitive.

So it just depends on how much of a priority it is to you and how on top of it you are. But we’ve been house-sitting since the spring and I would say 90% of those were very easy to find. We weren’t like stressed out or anxious about finding them, and 90% of that time we were house-sitting. We prioritize it very heavily and it was not an issue for us to get back-to-back sits a lot of the time.

 All through the UK. Sometimes we would end a sit and then the next day starts another sit. So, that was very nice. There were a couple of days here and there, like maybe if the sit started a few days earlier or later, we would just have to have an Airbnb or something for a night or two. The longest time we’ve gone so far from the spring until now without a sit is a week and that’s actually after this one between Amsterdam and Budapest. But that’s the longest we’ve had without a sit. So it’s very easy to do it back to back if you’re on top of it and just a little organized about how you plan.

We try to get sites that are between two and three weeks. So it’s not too long, but it’s enough time to help you relax and plan accordingly and you don’t have to like anxiously find, a new place to go every time you’re searching. The people are very nice. Like a lot of the sitters we’ve stayed with, let us stay an extra day or let us come to an extra couple of days early because they know we’re traveling and they’re just really cool about oh, you stay another night until you need to leave. We’ll take you to the airport the next morning or something. They’re very gracious about it most of the time.

Brighde: Yeah, those are great tips. I’m curious this week that you don’t have between sits. Are you still trying to find something to fill in that week? I’m guessing somewhere between Amsterdam and Budapest. Are you still looking for that and you haven’t been successful yet, or have you just thought, ah, it’s okay I’ll stay at an Airbnb. Like if you quit on that.

Lucy: Yeah, we actually haven’t been looking just because we are actually looking to go to Prague and it’s a very specific place. They don’t have as many sits there and it’s a cheaper country. So we weren’t too concerned about it, we’ll just find Airbnb for this specific week and just enjoy ourselves until we go to Budapest. 

Brighde: Something I was wondering about is some of the sits that you do or you try to get, especially like the countryside ones. It must be quite hard with transportation, like getting to the sit and being able to do stuff during the sit and leaving the sit. So how do you asses whether this is gonna be a good sit for you in terms of transportation?

Lucy: So, nine times outta 10 we won’t have a car. Cause if we did, we’d have to rent one and that would be expensive, like, if you say somewhere for two weeks or something. So we tend to look for places that do not require a car. Usually, house sitters will list this if they’re in the middle of nowhere. Now the sits like Chesham, we were in maidenhead. Those sits were more out. But since Europe is blessed with a very good rail system in most places, we made sure that, there was still a subway or a train that went from those places into London per se. So it was very easy for us to still get around. Now in Chesham, the bus schedule, for instance, was a little bit wacky cuz it was a smaller city. The bus stopped running out to us around 7:00 PM. So you just had to be aware of this and there were still taxis. So if we came back late from London one night, the taxi could take us back up to our house. So this is just something to keep your eye out for. If you don’t have a car, like if it’s marked, must have a car on the house that is the site, just stay away from that. You can always confirm with the sitter because you usually talk to the sitter before doing these. you would just ask them like, is there transportation? Can I get around? Can I get into the city from where you are? Then they just help you out with it. When we were in Brighton, we were staying about 20 minutes out in Saltine, and we just took the bus, back and forth. So, in most places, especially in Europe, it’s easy now. If you’re in the US not so easy cuz there’s no public transportation.

 So if you’re in the country, you’ll definitely need a car. But there are so many sits in the cities, like in the US that you would be fine, but countryside in the US you would definitely need a car. So it just depends on where you are.

Brighde: Do people offering the sit ever offer the use of a vehicle? I’m guessing you would have to be very careful and make sure that you were fully covered by insurance and everything.

Lucy: Mm-hmm. Yes. So some of them have, it just depends on the sitter. Now we usually don’t take anybody up on that offer because we didn’t get international driver’s insurance. We do have the international permit, but if we’re driving abroad right now, we have to actually go through a rental car service to purchase the insurance, like with the car for the time we’re using it. But if you are planning on taking driving more seriously when you’re abroad, then you just have to plan ahead and make sure you get international driver’s insurance. But we just really weren’t prioritizing that cuz we figured in Europe, like most places, again, you can get around by train and bus and whatnot. So it wasn’t a huge priority for us.

Brighde: Yeah, that’s a really good point. I didn’t actually know that there was such a thing called international drivers insurance. That’s new learning for me and I think this is a surprise to many North Americans because often in the UK and Europe, If you drive somebody else’s car and you are not a named driver on that person’s car, then you are not covered at all. That’s, I think, quite different from North America where you can have somebody else drive your car occasionally, and sometimes you can have anyone driving your car at any time. So I think some people might think that they can just drive the house owner’s car and assume that they’re covered by insurance, but actually they’re not.

Lucy: Yeah.

Brighde: Good tip there.

Lucy: Yeah, I don’t know all the details about it, but there is insurance like that in the US but a lot of people still drive other people’s cars anyways. You just have to look into it and there are plans that cover you internationally. They’re just expensive, it sometimes is cheaper just to rent a car and buy the insurance with it, if it’s a temporary thing when you’re traveling.

Brighde: Yeah. You might not know the answer to this question. I happen to, cuz I dug into this a few months ago, but like what happens if something goes wrong in the house sit? Let’s say for example, an accident could happen where you had a fire and you were deemed to be legally liable for this and maybe it didn’t even just damage the homeowner’s property, but maybe it’s spilled onto neighboring properties. How would you deal with that kind of situation?

Lucy: I actually don’t know too much. I feel like I should probably know more. I do know that, with trusted house sitters, there are different insurances that come with like the plans that you pick. Like one of the plans we were looking at would cover, if a house sitter were to cancel, right before the sit, you actually get some money basically to help you pay for a stay within that time that you were supposed to be sitting. But when it comes to damage, I don’t know. If it was caused by us, I would guess that we would be liable for it. But if it was caused by something else, I really don’t know what would happen.

I think it would partially come down to the owner. How cool they are with those things. If lightning strikes your house, for instance, it’s not the sitter’s fault, but how’s the owner gonna react, kind of thing. So I think it would depend on the person, but when it comes to the actual legalities of it, I’m not too sure. 

Brighde: I had an incident in my house, which means I’m like really highly sensitive to it and not connected. My niece came to stay with us and she wasn’t the person that caused the issue at all, because of a situation that happened to me that I dug into this a little bit more and I’m a renter, so I have a tenant’s insurance here. Because I had my niece staying at my house while I was away for a longish period of time, I called up my tenants insurance because I knew that my niece probably wouldn’t have personal liability insurance and I think with travel insurance there is a lot of personal liability in there, but I wasn’t entirely sure that my niece had personal liability insurance cuz she’s a young person and she’s flitting around to different places at the moment in this time of our life, which is entirely reasonable. I contacted my tenant’s insurance and this is something that maybe house sitters should consider doing making sure that people that stay in their house are actually gonna be covered under their policy, even if that sitter or that person was legally liable for something. A suggestion for the potential house is just to make sure that should the house sitter become legally liable for some sort of damage, what would the coverage be? I had a bit of a scare last year and as a result, I’m like, hypervigilant about these kinds of things.

Lucy: Yeah, the thought has crossed my mind, it just doesn’t really come up with the sitters or with the owners. But the thought crosses your mind, we’ve been in apartments where, the apartment below us, I can smell like traces of cigarettes, smokes. My mind goes to oh, like what if the apartment catches on fire or something? So the thoughts have crossed my mind when I like to see something. The house that we did in Chesham actually was struck by Lightning the week before we came. I was even a little scared going with electrical things. Cause I get really shaky about that stuff. But they had people come in and scan everything and do all the safety checks, but there’s always a chance of something happening. So the thought crosses my mind all the time. But when it comes down to the technicalities, I don’t really know. But that’s definitely a good thing that both sides should consider more deeply.

Brighde: It’s true. So I actually got my niece as a named insured person on my tenant’s insurance. I didn’t have to pay anything more in my case. But yeah, that would be a tip for all sitters and for people having their house sits because the big issue is I don’t care so much if I might slip and fall if I am a sitter that wouldn’t be too bad, but being on the hook for half a million dollars worth of damage that is terrifying. 

Lucy: Yeah, no, that’s a big deal. And it would really put a dampener on everybody’s experience. 

Brighde: Absolutely. 

Lucy: Yeah. 

Brighde: So Lucy, we’ve talked about ways to get the house sit that you want but as we know in this day and age, getting good reviews is key to getting more and better house sits. So what are some tips that you can share on how to be the best house sitter you can be? I have had house sitters, so I know what I would like. But tell us what do you do?

Lucy: A really big thing for everybody is communication, right? So like you’re going into these people’s houses and it’s a trust thing. So they usually trust us to come into their home, but it’s maintaining that trust. So especially like the first few days that we’re here, we like to just check in, send a picture of the pet, like playing or out in the park if it’s a dog or something like that. Reassure the house owner that the pet is comfortable with us and feels happy and calm and things like that. So providing just some check-ins, is really good. And then as a sit goes on, I don’t do it every day, maybe like every other two days or they text us, respond promptly and just let them know that everything’s okay.

So communication’s a really big thing. Following through with your word. I’ve heard a lot of house sitters that have had a really bad experience where the house sitter just leaves or cuts the sit early or something like this, or shows up late. So following through, like they’re relying on you. So make sure that you’re there on time and you leave the time that was agreed upon. This is a really big thing and it seems self-explanatory, but some people I think don’t take that part seriously, and that’s something to take seriously. Being clean is a really big thing. I am anally clean myself. I keep the house clean the whole time we’re here, but I try to live by my mom’s rule. When I was a babysitter, she would always tell me, to leave the house cleaner than you found it. That’s something we always do, just make sure that it’s at least as clean as it was when we came. But even cleaner is a bonus. A lot of the reviews we have always say, they left the house super clean and I think that’s about it. Following through with your word communication, being clean, if something happens to the pet like if they’re feeling sick or something, update the owner immediately. Just being reliable, responsible, organized, and overall is just a really good thing.

Brighde: Yeah, those are great tips. I’m just thinking about it, I travel with a friend quite often and she just started using trustedhousesitters.com she found an amazing sitter and she’s just converted. She wants to use them all the time. But before then, she really had some challenges. She just wasn’t receiving the information that she wanted that was helping her to feel relaxed when she’s on holiday, which is entirely reasonable. I’m thinking about what a house sitter could do in these situations like maybe say to the homeowner, Are you happy with the amount of feedback that you are getting? Do you want more pictures or fewer pictures? I’m trying to balance this line between bothering you when you are on a holiday, at same time reassuring you what is it that you want from me. I think that would probably stop a lot of issues.

Lucy: Yeah, I think that’s something, we usually ask at the very beginning, like when we get on the interview more or less with them. We don’t even have to ask it sometimes. Usually, they’ll just say what they’re looking for or they’ll talk about a bad past experience. So then you reassure them that you’ll make sure that this experience is better for X, Y, Z. But if they do, don’t talk about that. Then you should definitely ask them how many updates you want. Or is there anything specific we should know about the pets? Just asking those kinds of questions at the beginning reassures them that you’ll be the right fit for them. 

Brighde: Have you ever had any things go wrong on a house sit? I’m thinking like an animal gets sick and dealing with that, that’s just one example. Has anything bad happened so far?

Lucy: Luckily, no. We’ve had really good experiences so far. We’ve been really blessed with that because there are a few house sitters, I know that, for instance, one of them, like the cat, that they were supposed to go house sit died, two days before they were gonna get there, which is really horrible but the owners were still really gracious and let her come anyway, so that’s really cool but things like that happen. The worst experience that we had was a couple of pets that didn’t really seem properly potty trained. So that was like one awkward thing. The one big downfall honestly, as a vegan is, when you’re feeding pets. More often than not traditionally they eat meat and things like this. So every once in a while we had to serve some things that we weren’t super comfortable serving, just as vegans ourselves, but these were very few and far between. Most times people just have like dry pet food, which isn’t the most offensive thing to us.

That’s really the biggest thing that we struggle with mentally sometimes. But other than that, it’s been very smooth, very easy, and not bad at all when it comes to things that could have happened with the pet.

Brighde: Hmm. Do you write that you are Vegan on your profile? I’m curious cuz I’m thinking from a house owner’s perspective. That you would assume that this person really did love animals to be vegan. But then on the flip side, maybe they might not want you to stay just because you’re vegan. So I’m curious, what’s your stance?

Lucy: So we do have it on there. I took it more from the perspective of we’re animal lovers kind of thing. I don’t think that everybody reads the profile in detail like they don’t necessarily remember that detail. Ours is pretty extensive, just cuz I like providing more than needed in this circumstance. A lot of times they’ll look at your profile, and really like you. You’ll interview, everything’s good, but then that sits a month from now. So they forget those details. Sometimes they fall through the cracks. Now we have had some extremely nice house hosts, that asked us ahead of time, like a couple of weeks before we came, do you have any dietary restrictions like vegan, gluten-free, things like this. When we got to the house, they had some vegan snacks already there. One of the most gracious sitters, had a vegan cookie dough mix for us, a vegan wine, some vegan cheese, and butter in the fridge all ready to go, so that was lovely then we had a couple of sites, where they actually prepared us a meal when we got there.

So as our Edinburgh sit, for example, she was so sweet, like she cooked us these vegan bacon burgers with homemade sweet potato fries and a salad, like super nice. So yeah, that’s not every scenario, but some people are just very considerate in that way and have some stuff prepared for you. That’s just been really nice and like a good homey personal touch from them to show that they appreciate that you’re there taking care of their pets. So that’s been really nice.

Brighde: Oh, fantastic. Yeah, It really does sound like such a great way to see the world. I just wanted to add, cuz I know I’ve trusted how sitters fairly well cuz I’ve had a few sitters come and look after my cats when I was living in Thailand. Something that I thought was really cool was that they have a vet on stand-by 24/7, I believe. So if a sitter has a health concern about one of their pets that they’re looking after, you can actually reach out to a vet and they will get back to you. I believe that’s a service that they provide from what I know. Maybe I have old information.

Lucy: I haven’t looked into it much, only because usually the sitters will provide and write down the vet information for you, like the dogs or cats like a personal vet, that’s usually something that’s always provided and normally they’ll also provide like a 24-hour vet number or something like this. So usually they already have that written down, so I wouldn’t even think to look at that on the website. But that would be so helpful cuz not everybody thinks of it, just cuz nothing usually happens with your pet. So you might not think of it. So that would be really helpful as a kind of security blanket.

Brighde: Oh, wonderful. Okay, great. Let’s get onto our second tip. Can you tell us about your second tip for, long-term travel on a budget?

Lucy: Yeah. So, the second tip is an attachment of the first. So with the house sitting, we have access to a full kitchen. Instead of staying in a small place with just a couple of burners or a microwave or something. So we take advantage of that and we cook meals for ourselves quite frequently. As full-time travelers, this is a huge budget thing, but it’s also a health thing, right? Like eating out, and finding vegan restaurants. It’s so fun and delicious. But eventually, it starts to feel like too much. You have the salt and the heaviness of the food, and it can become very overwhelming. So from a health standpoint, it’s very refreshing and it’s awesome for the budget. Between the two of us in, a country priced like the US we spend 150 per week on groceries and we keep everything very whole foods based. Like we’re eating soups, homemade pasta, not the pasta itself, but we make our own sauce and things like this. Oatmeal in the morning, yogurt bowls in the morning, different kinds of salads and stir-fries so that when we go out it’s more rewarding and we can get a burger and a milkshake or something. So it helps us save money and just helps us stay a little bit healthier as we’re going along.

Brighde: I’m curious because this would be quite different in an Airbnb, which would also maybe have a full kitchen, but a house sit. I bet they have all of the condiments as well. I imagine that they say, use spices, use these few things, and don’t drink our $100 bottle of champagne, please. Because this is offered a big expense when you are cooking for just a few days, you have to buy a bottle of olive oil or you have to buy all of these spices to make food that’s enticing and delicious that makes you actually want to use the kitchen. So this is a really lovely benefit as well.

Lucy: Definitely. Yeah and even depending on the Airbnb, we have been in some, where it’s just a kitchenette or you don’t have an oven sometimes, like if it’s a smaller apartment. It’s just like you said, you have access to all the spices. When we do stay in an Airbnb occasionally, it’s like go buy a bottle of olive oil and then you end up wasting all of it cuz it just stays there hoping for the next person to use. But it really helps on that kind of matter. And also the cooking supplies. We have all the dishes. Today I made banana bread, which was so great. I had that accessible to me and all the different cooking where that you could ever possibly need. In the house that we did in Brighton, she was a personal Chef, so she had everything you could imagine.

 We were there over American Thanksgiving time. So we made our own little Thanksgiving meal, like these little mini vegan pot pies and these baking dishes and stuff. That’s been fantastic too because we just have access to everything. Whereas an Airbnb or a hotel, like it’s very minimal or none at all. So, that’s really good.

Brighde: Yeah, it’s really hit or miss Airbnb. Sometimes there’ll be quite a few supplies that you can draw on, but there are absolutely no guarantees.

Lucy: Yeah. It’s cleaner. Like with the Airbnbs, there’s no guarantee that everything’s completely clean, but with the house sit it’s more of a guarantee and if you’re still feeling iffy about it, then you can go ahead and just throw everything in the dishwasher that you’re about to use for a second check. Especially with Covid and stuff like that, it’s like another added plus where like the Airbnbs again, even if it says they clean it, you don’t know. But if it’s your own house that you’re staying in for three weeks, we usually do an extra wipe down of some of the surfaces cuz We’re living here for three weeks and it just helps you feel a little bit safer, like germ wise with all this crazy stuff going around. So, that helps.

Brighde: Yeah. I can imagine as well. They would probably have other supplies that you can use that are not just like kitchen supplies, like lots of Tupperware so that you can go and take pack lunches and picnic blankets 

Lucy: Yeah, 

Brighde: All of these other kinds of supplies that would just never be in an Airbnb.

Lucy: no. And the Tupperware is super helpful because we do meal prepping usually where we’ll cook enough. For at least like three days to save us time with cooking and stuff because when you’re traveling you don’t wanna spend all your time cooking and we do work online too, so we have to balance everything. We usually cook enough and then just store it away in some of their containers in the fridge and eat it for the next two or three days. So that’s really helpful too, cuz again, in an Airbnb there are never containers, there are pots and pans sometimes not containers. So that’s good. You never know how to store it like in an Airbnb, if there’s extra, just put it in a bowl and put it in the fridge and it’s not ideal, but it works.

Brighde: Okay, great. So, Lucy, you have shared and we’ve gotten really deep into two amazing tips to travel long-term for much less money. I’m sure people will be interested in following you and checking out your blog posts and all of that. Would you mind sharing all of your platforms with our listeners, please?

Lucy: Yeah, the major platform that I work from is Wondering Vegans on Instagram. This is truly the one that I use the most. It has all my reels. I post my stories very frequently, you can find recipes there. I’m currently in the process of refurbishing my actual blog right now, but as of now, you can go on and see reviews of recent vegan cities that I’ve been to and all my recipes.

Eventually, this will be changing to just the simple recipes that I use while traveling, but right now it has all the recipes that I’ve ever made. So if you’re looking for fast vegan food or vegan desserts or anything like this, you can find it there. It will be changing soon. But if you wanna follow me through my travels, Instagram is the best way.

Brighde: I see. All right. Thank you so much, Lucy, for sharing your tips with us today.

Lucy: Yes. Thank you so much for having me, and I hope it was helpful to all, that wanna go on a vegan adventure and save some money.

Brighde: Awesome. Thank you.

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COMING SOON: Paris to Dordogne Valley: Castles, Caves, and Countryside with Colleen Patrick-Goudreau

TBC: June, 2025
8 Days, 7 Nights
Group size: 15-26
stay in a private southern France villa
Tons of castles and quaint villages
17,000 year-old prehistoric cave art

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