A globetrotting woman who has visited as many as 70 countries has revealed her trick for staying in swanky apartments and stunning houses - for FREE.

Sibu has travelled the world on a budget

SibuDeBenedictis

A globetrotting woman who has visited as many as 70 countries has revealed her trick for staying in swanky apartments and stunning houses - for FREE.

Sibu De Benedictis, 33, left her last permanent home after finishing high school - and has not settled anywhere since.

She estimates she has visited as many as 70 countries across several continents since her teens.

And she said people assume she must be rich to afford her lifestyle - but the she insists it's possible on a low budget when you know how.

Over the years she has worked out all the tips and tricks to get the trip of a lifetime without the huge price tag.

This includes getting the best accommodation for free - by house-sitting while owners are away.

And Sibu says she has no plans to settle and encourages others to take the plunge and book a ticket somewhere - because she believes in "experiences over possessions".

The globetrotter, whose parents are Costa Rican and American-Polish, said: "There's such a misconception 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.

"There are so many things you can do or get for free too, you just have to do some research and pick your favourite.

"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."

Sibu stands on the shore, with the Golden Gate Bridge in the backgroundSibu enjoying her travels in the view of the Golden Gate BridgeSibuDeBenedictis

Sibu grew up between the US and Costa Rica until she finished high school - then she left home to study a degree in China.

Since then, she reckons she has visited up to 70 countries in total, as well as spending some time as a resident in Poland, the UK, Germany, Nicaragua and the US over the years.

In order to fund her lifestyle she has worked countless jobs including waitressing, pot washing and bartending.

In June 2020, she decided to take the leap - putting all of her possessions in storage in Germany, where she had been based for a while while completing a remote masters qualification.

Since then, she has officially been a digital nomad - a person who is completely location independent - and hasn't looked back.

The travelling expert knows all the tricks in the book for making the most of your experiences and you don't need to spend a fortune to do it.

Incredibly, she has discovered a way to stay at the swankiest and most stunning accommodations - totally rent free.

Using an app called Trusted Housesitters, she pays for a membership meaning she is able to stay in some of the most spectacular homes while their owners are away in exchange for keeping everything safe and in order.

She said: "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."

She told how when she left Germany, she spent over a year travelling around the US living in a range of house sits, which cost her pennies compared to what she would have spent on hotels.

But this isn't the only tip travel-savvy Sibu shared.

She told how to pack light - even for long stays - allowing her to save money by only taking hand luggage with her when flying.

At the moment she is travelling around Africa meaning she is able to carry less clothing due to the climate.

She said: "When buying clothes, I don't buy something unless I'm going to make the most of it.

"You don't have much space so you should only take items you love that you can wear over and over again.

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

"For me, that's more than three weeks of outfits.

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

For the past year, she has been working a remote marketing role with a company based in the US.

For Sibu, every penny she earns has to be stretched to extremes in order to fund her lifestyle.

While she vowed never to abstain herself, she told how being smart with your cash is key to making it work in a digital nomad lifestyle.

She said: "You have to account for the little things you buy - $10 here and $10 there does add up.

"Do you really want to take a taxi when you could catch public transport?

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

Another top travel tip is to search for scholarships, which are often free and allow you to learn new things as well as travel.

Sibu has visited eight countries by completing eight different scholarships because she loved them so much.

She has just arrived in Tanzania after staying in Uganda where she was running group trips for tourists working with a local tourism company - and is planning more in the future.

In her spare time, Sibu also does travel writing and has recently completed an advice book for money-savvy travellers.

She said: "There are so many more things possible for you to do than you think - I want to highlight that again and again.

"I don’t believe in gatekeeping so if I can share some information, I will.

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

"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."

Reporting by Amy West

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