… And never having to pay for accommodation again!
A lot of my followers and readers have been asking curious questions on my house-sitting adventures and I am happy to provide the answers in one short & comprehensive guide!
As I am writing this, I am sitting on a long wooden dining table in the winter garden of a beautiful old villa in South England. Two cute cocker spaniels lie at my feet, exhausted from the long walk we took this morning.
I came here for a couple of months, to prepare for my next long trip to Asia. I am living in this house for free – Means I pay no rent & no utilities! The home owners went on a long vacation and trusted me to take care of their house and their beloved puppies.
WHAT IS HOUSE-SITTING? Watch other people’s houses and/or pets while they’re away in exchange for free accommodation.
House-sitting saves me between $400 and $1200 per month, depending on my current location.
Not so bad, right? All this money stays in my bank account, ready to be used for the next adventure!
You say, all this sounds great, but you can’t take off month at a time to take care of somebody elses home in their absence? No worries!
House sitting is not just for long-term travelers and digital nomads!
House-sits range from weekends to many months! You can spend a weekend in France or 2 months in East-Asia! It is up to you.
(Almost) Anyone can do it!
It can work for families looking for a large house to stay in while on holiday, but also suits independent travellers (like me!) who are easy going about the exact location of their accommodation. The homeowner will usually have a preference and it will also depend on the size of the property.
What are your tasks?
Keep the house safe, tidy and in a good condition until the owner returns. It is quite common for house-sitters to have to look after pets too, so be prepared to find yourself in the company of a variety of animals: Dogs, cats, fish, chicken and even horses.
Some homeowners will ask you to take care of the garden or clean the pool once in a while, but this should all be discussed and agreed on in advance.
Where do you start?
Firstly, you should question yourself, wether house-sitting is really for you or if you would be better off with other forms of accommodation!
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you love pets and are you able to look after them?
- Are you ok to live in and take care of someone elses home?
Many of the home owners are seeking a sitter not only to care for their home whilst they are away, but also to look after their beloved pets. Are you comfortable with that responsibility?
- Are your travel plans flexible?
- Are you willing to renounce last minute traveling?
- Are you willing to put work into organizing your travel route?
Broadening your search area and having flexible travel dates can help in your search for a suitable sit. The more flexible you can be, the more house sits you can find, and the more applications you can send, the more likely you are to secure a sit.
As you see, planning ahead will become the key to successful house-sitting. It takes a bit of work and can be time-consuming, but in the end, it will be worth it.
A tip: Sign up to your house sit platform’s newsletter and check it on a daily basis, to not miss out on the best sits – and reply right away!
- Are you willing to pay for memberships?
As so often in life, good things are not free. House-sitting memberships can be quite expensive. But keep in mind, if house sitting works for you and you get some free accommodation, then of course the membership fee is nothing.
GOOD NEWS! I rely on Trustedhousesitters.com for all of my sits. As a member I can grant you 20% off on a one-year-membership. All you have to do is to use my personalized link! - I am not getting payed for this, but receive 2 free months on top of my own membership for each new member! Click here to get the discount!
If you can respond to the questions above with a “Hell yes!”, than congratulations.
Should you however decide, that house-sitting is not for you, there are plenty alternatives.
Have a look into couchsurfing (meet and stay with locals all over the world for free) and working holidays, such as offered via workaway.info or WWOOFWWOOF (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms). Typically these offer easy jobs in exchange for food and accommodation.
Where do you sign up?
TrustedHousesitters is one of the largest house sitting websites, with thousands of listed houses. Sitters need to register to create a profile and receive emails about new opportunities on a daily basis. Registration fees vary.
Get 20% off on a one-year-membership using this personalized link!
You signed up and are looking for your first house and pet sit?
These tips should come on hand!
1. Build a good profile
Your profile should represent your experiences and passions. Add photos that show you at home, completed house-sits and with pets. A personal video describing yourself and your experience is always a wonderful idea!
Videos can be the most compelling way for homeowners to get a feel for who you are.
2. Manage your reputation
Collect references from previous house-sits and one or the other professional reference. Offer to share them without being asked! Always ask the homeowner of a finished house sit for a reference. Often that can be done within minutes on the website.
Sometimes it is useful to have a current police check at the ready to share with homeowners. It shows you are organized!
3. Be communicative
Be ready to receive email messages and to respond to them quickly. Securing good house-sitting assignments can be quite competitive as there are always more sitters than house sits.
It is worth making the effort to communicate as frequently as the homeowner would like! When you have secured as much information as possible, you should get an agreement in writing. This is also critical if you are booking flights or making other travel arrangements.
4. Be proactive
If you get newsletters and alerts from your house-sitting network, you need to get to them quickly and contact homeowners right away. Most of them will receive many offers of house sitting for one assignment. They can usually pick and choose between sitters.
Advice from experienced house-sitters
Sam and Veren from Alternative Travelers have been house-sitting for years and developed their own strategies to get the best sits!
“Perseverance is key. Be prepared to apply to many house-sits and don’t get deterred if you don’t hear back initially. A lot of people go into house-sitting expecting to get the first house sit they apply for – often in a popular location, too. They get discouraged when they don’t. House-sitting takes time and effort but it can be a great way to travel and meet new people and pets.” Sam
Check out Sam and Veren’s post on common misconceptions about house-sitting!
I am always a little surprised that more people don’t know about, or take advantage of, the opportunities presented by house-sitting.
It’s not just about the money-saving aspect, but the ability to live like a local in a new corner of the world!
If you’re looking for other ways to travel for cheap, check out these articles: