I'm a travel expert who's visited 70 countries and I've used a trick to stay in swanky pads for free | The Sun

A WOMAN who has explored over 70 countries while staying in lavish homes for free has revealed her amazing travel hack.

Sibu De Benedictis, 33, got bit by the travel bug after leaving school and has now perfected a way to bag swanky properties without paying a penny.


She admits skipping out on some daily luxuries in life to budget for her adventures as she made travelling her "number one priority" over a decade ago.

But her savviness has paid off – allowing Sibu to visit multiple continents and see the far corners of the world.

The travel expert, who grew up between the US and Costa Rica, decided to head off after finishing high school.

After moving to China to study a degree, she packed her bags and set off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Armed with just a small suitcase, her passport and a handful of clothes, Sibu acquired some priceless knowledge along the way.

She worked an array of different jobs to fund her lifestyle, including waitressing, pot washing and bartending.

But at the end of her long shifts, Sibu didn't return to a hostel like most travellers – and instead resides in luxurious homes.

The 33-year-old swears by the app 'Trusted Housesitters', which she shells out a membership fee for -but it's a small price to pay to stay in some of the most stunning pads in the world.

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Sibu's only task is to take care of the owner's homes while they are away, in exchange for free accommodation.

She explained: "There's such a misconception that travel is unaffordable.

"But money-wise, my number one priority is travel as much as I can, even on minimum wage – it's just about being smart with it.

"Twenty-five dollars can buy you five Starbucks coffees, but it could also buy you drinks at a rotating bar in Baku, Azerbaijan, or a day wandering around Mayan ruins in Mexico.

"House sitting changed my life. Sometimes it involves looking after plants or pets but it allows you to go anywhere.

"Once you've paid the membership, the possibilities are endless."

House sitting changed my life. Sometimes it involves looking after plants or pets but it allows you to go anywhere.

In June 2020, the explorer stashed all of her possessions in storage in Germany after completing her master's degree.

Sibu then spent more than a year journeying across America while moving from house to house, instead of forking out for hotels.

The globetrotter has also spent time as a resident in the likes of Poland, the UK, Germany and Nicaragua over the years.

She continued: "All my belongings are in storage apart from the suitcase I have with me, so I can go anywhere I want.

"I've been living off jobs that are minimum wage or less for a good amount of years now – I'm living proof you can make it work on a budget.

"The world would be a better place if we could all travel more."

TRAVEL TIPS

The 33-year-old hopes to inspire other tourists to embark on an epic adventure like hers – and has a suitcase full of tips to share too.

She suggests only packing clothes "you love that you can wear over and over again" to save space in your luggage.

Sibu added: "I have around seven tops, seven dresses, and a few pairs of shorts and trousers so I can mix and match.

"I am currently focusing on destinations which are warm, meaning I don't need to carry as many clothes due to the climate."

And she says it is key to cut back where you can, as pricey taxis and Instagrammable drinks "add up".

Sibu said: "Be aware that every dollar you spend could be spent on experiences so you have to spend smart.

"At the end of the day, it's about taking the plunge and doing it.

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"No matter how many tips and tricks I share, you have to go and buy that ticket and get on that bus, or plane, or train.

"The world would be a better place if we could all travel more."


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