If your ideal vacation involves taking care of a furry friend, you need discover Trusted Housesitters.
The website links homeowners with pets who are going out of town with animal-lovers looking for a cheap vacation. Essentially, the visitor comes to your home to pet and house sit for free, in exchange for a free place to stay and a furry friend to cuddle. Because traveling with pets is tricky, and leaving your house unattended can be nervewracking, it's actually a pretty sweet deal for the homeowner as well.
To get the best housesitting gigs (think California mansions or Parisian walk ups), you'll need to earn a solid enough reputation on the site through more local, less desirable homes.
Membership costs approximately $119 a year, but for a free place to stay and/or a free petsitter, we'd say that's a pretty amazing deal.