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A savvy mum has revealed how she saves thousands on holiday accommodation in the UK, even staying in huge mansion properties with her family 'for free'.
Jenna, 33, from Worksop, runs a DIY travel business known as The Travel Mum, which provides trips for a fraction of the price of package holidays.
Sharing her own tips and tricks, Jenna has revealed how she managed to save thousands on accommodation despite travelling to different areas of the UK with her family for a month.
By using a house sitting websites instead of hotels, Jenna has dramatically cut the cost of her hols. You can watch a video of Jenna's travels below:
“We discovered housesitting a couple of months ago, it was recommended to us by a follower of ours actually,” Jenna 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!
"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 had originally planned to travel around the south coast staying in hotels - until she saw the cost.
“A weeks accommodation was looking to cost around £1,400 for us as a family of three," she said.
“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!”
And some of the properties Jenna has stayed in have been amazing, with spacious rooms, pools and private gardens.
She said: “We have stayed in a beautiful mansion house in Surrey with a pool and Alpacas to look after.
"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.
“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.
“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."
Jenna says there can be some downsides, particularly if the property is not suitable for children.
“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," she said.
Jenna explained that the idea is perfect for the summer holidays, when there's better availability and holiday prices are super high.
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.”
This is such a wonderful idea!