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If there’s anything I love as much as travel, it’s animals. If I weren’t a nomad, I would probably own ten dogs. So when I found out there’s a way you can watch animals AND get a free place to stay all around the world, I couldn’t believe it. If you’re wondering how you can become a house sitter and travel the world, this post is for you.
I’ve saved thousands of dollars this year on accommodations because of it. In this post, I will share how I became a house sitter, the best websites for housesitting, and tips for getting your first house sit!
What is housesitting?
Housesitting is when you watch someone’s home (and usually pets), and in exchange, you get to stay there for free! It’s a win-win for everyone because you get free accommodation, while the homeowners get peace of mind their homes and pets are well looked after.
Benefits of housesitting
The obvious benefit of housesitting is that you get free accommodation. So if you’re visiting an expensive destination like Austin or Switzerland, this can save you thousands of dollars. And it’s not just accommodations costs you’ll save on either!
Staying at a house or apartment means you’ll have access to a kitchen and can cook at home, which is one of the best ways to save money while traveling.
Aside from that, one of the main reasons I love housesitting is because I get to have a pet temporarily! I miss my cat like crazy, so having furry friends to spend time with while I’m traveling is so good for my soul.
Housesitting also gives you a different experience than staying at a hotel or hostel because you’ll likely be living in a more local community, and homeowners will often introduce you to their neighbors, which is a great way to connect with locals.
If you’re a full-time traveler, housesitting can give you a sense of stability for a while. Traveling can be exhausting, and sometimes it’s nice to just relax for a while in a place that feels like home.
As a bonus, housesitting can help you if you’re considering moving to a specific location. Finding a house sit opportunity there first can help you get a sense of what it might be like to live there before committing!
How long is a typical housesit?
Housesits can vary in duration. I’ve done as short as four days and as long as two weeks, but I’ve seen sits posted for just one night or as long as six months. Typically, I would say most house sits are between 3-10 days. I enjoy doing house sits that are longer in duration so I can travel at a slower pace and connect with the destination on a deeper level.
Who is housesitting right for?
If you’re a lover of animals and travel, you will likely love housesitting too. That’s why I’m obsessed with it, as it combines my two biggest passions. If you don’t like animals, then housesitting’s probably not for you. It’s rare to find housesits that don’t require watching animals.
Housesitting is perfect if you’re a digital nomad or remote worker. Some homeowners want their sitters to be home for most of the day, which is ideal if you’re working online. Plus, most homes usually have good internet connections with comfortable workstations. Oh, the joys of a desk!
If you have a flexible schedule, this will help you succeed as a house sitter. The dates depend on when the homeowner is going on their vacation, so you need to have pretty open availability and accommodate other people’s schedules.
How I Became a House Sitter
When I quit my job in 2019 to be a travel content creator, I knew I was going to have to find a way to save money, and that’s when I discovered housesitting.
After doing some research about the best websites for finding housesits, I decided to join TrustedHousesitters. It’s not free, but it will have more than made up for the annual fee if you get one housesit.
To get my first review, I started looking at local housesits. Over Christmas time, I found one in St. John’s, Newfoundland (where I’m from) and got it as there were few applicants. That got me my first great review!
In February of that year, my friend offered me to housesit her dogs in Yellowknife. I always wanted to see the northern lights, so I jumped on the opportunity and had an incredible time exploring the northern region of Canada.
With two experiences under my belt, I was excited and ready to housesit my way through Europe. But, unfortunately, the pandemic had other plans, and house sit opportunities became next to none as most of the world went into lockdown.
Since the world has opened up again, house sit opportunities are once again plentiful. This is how I was able to stay in Colorado all summer without paying for accommodation. I did two sits in Denver and another in Aspen, saving me thousands of dollars in accommodation costs as the U.S. ain’t a cheap place to visit!
How to Become a House Sitter
The easiest way to start house sitting is to sign up for one of the housesitting websites I’ve listed below.
There are several housesitting platforms where you can find housesits worldwide, but the one I use is TrustedHouesitters which is widely considered one of the best because of the number of housesits available.
Best Housesitting Websites
TrustedHousesitters is the largest pet and house sitting platform out there. You can find housesits in over 130 countries, whether that’s New York City or the mountains of Switzerland.
You can filter by date, location, types of pets, or even type of stay like the beach, mountain, or city. If you have some flexibility in your plans, you can find some unique places to stay. Just think about the travel opportunities!
The community on TrustedHousesitters is very warm and supportive. I’ve had hosts offer to let me say there the night before and after to make my travel plans easier.
After setting up a profile, you can browse the available housesits and apply directly to the owner.
On TrustedHouse Sitters, sitters must pay an annual fee of about $129, but as I said, if you do even one house sit, the subscription pays for itself.
Aside from TrustedHousesitters, here are some other housesitting platforms you can try out. I haven’t personally used any of the other ones.
|TrustedHousesitters||$129 base (they have higher paid plans with more support)|
|Nomador||$89 (can apply for three sits free)|
Best Regional Housesitting Websites
The above websites are perfect if you want to housesit worldwide, but if you’re just interested in one region, these sites might be beneficial. The costs are also a bit lower than the international platforms.
|House Sitters America||United States||$49|
|House Sitters U.K.||United Kingdom||£29|
|Aussie House Sitters||Australia||$84|
|Kiwi House Sitters||New Zealand||$84|
|House Sit Mexico||Mexico||$79|
|House Sitters Canada||Canada||$59|
How To Apply for House Sits
Once you’ve made an account, you can browse sits and start applying! TrustedHousesitters also has an e-mail alert feature that will give you a rundown of the new sits each day, or you can set up alerts for specific locations.
When you apply for a housesit, it sends a message directly to the host. If they are interested, they will reply back and likely set up a skype call so you can get to know each other more.
If you’re both in agreement, the host will accept you as the sitter and provide all the information you need in a welcome guide that includes the address, emergency contacts, instructions for house maintenance, and pet care instructions.
When you apply for a housesit, you can see the range of how many people have already applied. If the number is high, don’t expect that the host will reply. Some will let you know they accepted someone else out of courtesy, but often you won’t hear anything back. Don’t be discouraged or take it personally!
Hosts often get overwhelmed by the number of applications and just speak to the first people who apply. This is why I recommend applying for sits as quickly as possible and for less competitive ones.
Tips for Getting Your First House Sit (without any experience)
When you’re just getting started housesitting, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd of other house sitters if you don’t have reviews. So here are some tips to help you get your first house sit without any experience!
Create a killer profile – This is what the homeowners will see first, so make sure you impress them! Create a detailed profile with information about you, your experience with pets or taking care of homes, any special skills, and a whole lot of enthusiasm! I’ve also found having pictures of myself with animals helped.
Request external reviews – If you have any experience housesitting for friends and family, you can request external reviews from them. These can help boost your profile when you’re getting started!
Get verified – On TrustedHousesitters, you can earn trust and verification badges for uploading identification information and getting references from friends and family.
Apply early – As mentioned, hosts often get a lot of applications and probably stop looking at them after a certain point. This is why it’s so important to be one of the first people to apply! If a house sit has a dozen-plus applicants, I wouldn’t even bother applying unless you already have a lot of reviews.
Personalize your application – When writing your message to the host, make it personable to stand out. Tell them why you’re the perfect sitter for them, addressing them and their pet by name.
Start with local housesits – Even if you don’t need a housesit, it can be beneficial to do housesits in your home city to gain experience.
Be flexible – The best way to get your first house sit is to be flexible with the location and duration of a house sit. Look for sits in less popular destinations. Last-minute sits also tend to have less competition, so these can be great to apply for if you can make them on time.
Tips For Impressing Your Host
Once you’ve gotten your first housesit, be sure to do an amazing job so you get a reference which will make getting your next house sit so much easier!
Be communicative – most homeowners will want you to show up the day before or the morning of so they can show you around and meet you. Be flexible and try to accommodate their schedule.
Take notes and ask questions – Once you’ve accepted a sit, the homeowner will send you a welcome guide with the information – be sure to read it in case there are any questions you have.
Send updates. Ask your host if they want regular updates, but in my experience, most people do. People love getting pictures of their pets, so take lots (especially when they look snuggly and cute) and let the owner know what a great time you’re having!
Take care of the house and pets as if they were your own – the owner is trusting you with their home and pets, so take care of it as if it were your own! Make sure everything is as clean as when you found it, and all the pet and home chores are taken care of daily.
Make their lives easier when they get back – before the owners get back, throw the bedding in the laundry and make the bed if you have time. No one wants to do laundry when they come home! Another nice thing you can do is offer to get groceries or just stock the fridge with essentials.
Say thank you – leave a thank you card or flowers for letting you stay there!
Is Housesitting Safe?
Housesitting is as safe as using Airbnb or a similar platform, especially if you are using a platform like TrustedHousesitters where you can read reviews of the owners first. No personal details are given out until you are in deep discussions for a house sit with the owner.
Even as a solo female traveler, I have always felt very safe in my housesits. Most homeowners have security systems and will connect you with their neighbors should anything go wrong.
How To Become a Houseitter FAQ
Yes! Anyone can become a house sitter if they want, but you should have a passion for animals foremost and be responsible enough to take care of someone else’s home in a professional manner.
Duties of a house sitter range depending on the home and owner. If there’s a pet, they will need to be fed, walked, cleaned, and most importantly, given lots of love! The house should be kept clean and in good condition, and sometimes there will be extra duties like shoveling or mowing the lawn. Always check with the homeowner before starting the house sit so expectations of responsibilities are clear.
A house sitter should know the duties required in regards to taking care of the pets and home, as well as emergency contact info. All of this should be given in a welcome pack before starting the sit.
Don’t leave the animals unattended for long periods, invite guests over (unless you check with the homeowner first), leave the home messy, or neglect being in communication with the homeowner,
I hope this post could give you some inspiration on how to become a house sitter and travel the world! It’s a wonderful way to travel full-time and get a local perspective. If you have any questions about becoming a house sitter, let me know in the comments below!