I just got back from a week-long jaunt around the North Island. I saw kiwis & boiling mud & honey bees busily making honey. I had a great time!
I stayed two nights in each of three places, bussing it between hostels as I went. I got to see a lot in a little bit of time, but I felt like I was in a constant state of upheaval. I find that when I'm on the road, I don't spend as much time to relax. There are so many things to see & do, & time is limited.
That's why I much prefer the slow travel method, where I can settle into a place & not feel pressured to cram as much as I can into the time I have. Even staying a full week in one place allows me the freedom to spend an afternoon editing photos or reading a good book without feeling like I'm wasting precious time.
House sitting is a great way to do this. I can usually stay in one location for a week or more, & everything I need is already there in the house - pots & pans, cleaning products, perhaps a vegetable garden. Sometimes even dogs & cats can come with the house.
I've been house sitting in Hamilton for the past six weeks, & it's been wonderful. I've had enough time to figure out the bus system & which grocery store has the lowest prices. I even planted my own vegetable garden with greens for a salad. It's just like home, but I can leave whenever I want. It's a nice happy-medium, & for me, that's the best way to travel.
I prefer to use friends & family to find a house to sit, but I also use Mind My House to find places to stay around the world. There are several other sites to choose from as well. Most of them charge a small membership fee to weed out the riff raff - which in my mind is a good thing.
What about you? Do you have experience house sitting? How do you find places to stay?