How I stayed in San Francisco for [mostly] FREE.

Me and my boyfriend, Andrew, spent 12/22/16 – 02/11/17 in beautiful, luxury apartment in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. We enjoyed a huge, comfortable bed, and the company of the sweetest, fluffiest cat in the universe.

Our 21-day trip cost a total of $0.00.*

(* The most expensive parts were free, but obviously we still paid for things like Uber rides, food, entertainment, etc.)

The services you’ll need:

  1. Trusted Housesitters for FREE hospitality.

  2. Southwest Rapid Rewards for FREE airfare.

We didn’t earn this trip right off the bat. It took actual years of investment. But it’s going to continue to pay off. 🙂

First of all, Trusted Housesitters performs a background checks, and asks for 3 personal references up front. Our hosts in San Francisco additionally requested 2 more personal and professional references before finally confirming our gig. Both of our reputations being spotless is something that has taken decades of consistent responsible behavior. I definitely don’t regret it. Now that we’ve done a few sits, we have an ever-growing list of positive reviews on our account!

Caitlin & Andrew being feisty in a Purikura booth

Obviously we’re not well-behaved ALL of the time… 😉

Additionally, I’ve been using my Southwest card for all sorts of every day purchases for about 1.5 years now, so I have tons of points. Prices were crazy for a ticket right before Christmas, but that didn’t matter to me!



San Francisco was amazing, obviously. I went to a lot of free web dev meetups and ate insane amounts of sushi and burritos. The money I saved on housing and travel went towards my Macbook Pro upgrades.

Over the course of 2017, we’re definitely going to be house + petsitting more. Our next one is coming up in March, and we’ll be looking after a cute puppy in an enormous waterfront mansion in our hometown. After that, we’re hitting the road again for our seasonal van-life adventure! This time we’ll be camping, boondocking, as well as housesitting.

 

Headed to San Francisco?

Here’s my obsessive Master Map of things to do/see. I didn’t get to everything on this list, but it was helpful for when I was randomly exploring. I guess I have to go back soon!