I’m a travel expert who’s been to 70 countries and I used a trick to stay in fancy places for free

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, caught the travel bug after graduating from high school and has now perfected a way to bag fancy properties without paying a penny.

Sibu De Benedictis, 33, travels the world staying in stunning properties for free

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Sibu De Benedictis, 33, travels the world staying in stunning properties for freePhoto credit: SWNS
The globetrotter wants to encourage others to take the plunge and embark on the adventure of a lifetime

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The globetrotter wants to encourage others to take the plunge and embark on the adventure of a lifetimePhoto credit: SWNS

She admits to forgoing some of life’s everyday luxuries to budget for her adventures since she made travel her “top priority” over a decade ago.

But her cleverness paid off – she has enabled Sibu to visit multiple continents and see the farthest corners of the world.

The travel expert, who grew up between the USA and Costa Rica, decided to travel after graduating from high school.

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

Armed with just a small suitcase, her passport and a handful of clothes, Sibu learned invaluable knowledge along the way.

She worked a number of different jobs to support her lifestyle, including as a waitress, pot washer and bartender.

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

The 33-year-old swears by the Trusted Housesitters app, for which she pays a membership fee — but it’s a small price to pay to stay in some of the world’s finest neighborhoods.

Sibu’s only job is to take care of the owner’s home in exchange for free accommodation while they’re away.

She explained: “There is such a misconception that travel is priceless.

“But in terms of money, my number one priority is to travel as much as possible, even on minimum wage – it’s just a matter of being smart about it.

“For twenty-five dollars, you can buy five Starbucks coffees, but you can also have drinks at a rotating bar in Baku, Azerbaijan, or spend a day wandering the Mayan ruins in Mexico.

“Housesitting has changed my life. Sometimes it’s about taking care of plants or pets, but you can go anywhere.

“Once you’ve paid for membership, the possibilities are endless.”

Housesitting changed my life. Sometimes it’s about caring for plants or pets, but you can go anywhere.

In June 2020, after completing her master’s degree, the explorer stored all her belongings in Germany.

Sibu then spent more than a year traveling across America while going door-to-door instead of paying for hotels.

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

She continued: “All my belongings are in storage apart from the suitcase which I have with me so I can go where I want.

“I’ve been living off minimum wage jobs or below for many years now – I’m living proof that 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 also has a suitcase full of tips to share.

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

Sibu added, “I have about seven tops, seven dresses, and a couple of shorts and pants to mix and match.

“I’m currently focusing on warm destinations, which means I need to pack less clothes due to the climate.”

And she says it’s important to economize where you can, as expensive cabs and Instagrammable drinks “add up.”

Sibu said: “Be aware that every dollar you spend could be spent on experiences, so you have to spend wisely.

“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 need to buy that ticket and hop on that bus, plane, or train.

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

Sibu says she has visited over 70 countries since beginning her trip

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Sibu says she has visited over 70 countries since beginning her tripPhoto credit: SWNS
She says house sitting 'changed her life'

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She says house sitting ‘changed her life’Photo credit: SWNS