We recently sold our home and started traveling full-time. Many people ask how we can afford to do this. Most of our expenses are paid out of our own pockets so staying in hotels every night can get very costly very fast. We have found a way to mitigate those costs by house sitting. We’ve been using a few different tools to make this possible but the biggest help for us with house sitting has been House Carers.
Everyone goes on vacation (and we fully support that :) ). When we owned our own homes, we usually had friends or family housesit for us. We always had a love for travel. Kenin and I vacationed often, so it was very expensive to board our doggies while we were away. We also didn’t like the idea of them caged up and unloved while being boarded. We started asking friends and family to housesit for us while we went away. This was great not only for us, but for the dogs as well. They were able to stay in the comfort of their own home with their own beds as opposed to being in a “doggie hotel” where nothing was familiar and they had no familiar faces either. It was less stressful for everyone involved.
What Happens if you need a House sitter?
When you are gone for a long period of time, it is nice to know there is someone there to get your mail and keep your house clean, someone to mow the lawn and water the plants. The biggest reason for needing a house sitter though is typically pet care. We’re not just talking about cats and dogs either, sometimes people have exotic pets or livestock that need caring for as well. If you find yourself needing a house sit, it’s pretty easy to join a site and find a house sitter. All you need to do is create an account, and then you have two choices, you can either browse the existing library of house sitters, or choose the most popular route and place an ad. Once people respond to your ad, you can chat with them, check their references, and set up a house sitting contract. The best part? All of these services are free to the homeowner!!
So what happens if you want to start House Sitting?
If you think house sitting fits your travel style (I’m not sure how free accommodations wouldn’t ) all you need to do is sign up for a house sitting website and get started. We use HouseCarers.com because we feel they provide the best set of resources for us as travelers. Before you actually apply for any house sits, it’s important to figure out the answers to a few different questions. First of all, you need to ask yourself how long you are willing to stay in one area. I’ve seen house sits ranging from a week to 9-months long. I’ve found that the most common house sits are the medium length ones ranging from 3-6 weeks but those also tend to have the most competition. The second thing you need to decide if how many and what kind of pets you are willing to look after. It’s one thing taking care of two cats and a dog for a few weeks, but sometimes homeowners have small farms worth of animals to take care of. If you’re not an animal lover those might not be the job for you. If you are, you get to take care of great pets like this cutie.
Then the last question you want to ask yourself is an easy one, how much do you like to save money? I know that’s an easy one, but it was only after Lauren and I started house sitting that I realized just how much money we could save. Yeah we had to pay a trivial $50.00 fee to sign up for the website but considering it costs less than one night in a hotel, it’s a no brainer. Just consider this: since our first house sit in July of 2013 we have been able to arrange free housing through August of 2014! The only thing we’ve had to pay for are single nights in hotels in between destinations!
If you’ve asked yourself the above questions and you feel like house sitting is for you then I highly recommend you browsing over to HouseCarers.com and signing up today! A $50 membership get’s you a 12-month subscription that literally pays for itself with one use.
As a full time traveling couple from Canada, Pete and Dalene have been on the road since 2009. They’ve learned quite a few tricks of the trade and recently put together a guide on house sitting “How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World”, gives all the secrets behind their house-sitting success. They’ve had 12 jobs in 8 countries, and saved nearly $40,000 in the cost of accommodations as a result.
Click here to visit Hecktic Travels and purchase their book
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I found my Mocha Kitty! Love this picture. Your housesitting truly made our vacation stress free!
10 Points for you Becky!!
Great post thank you. I’d never thought of doing something like this before. I’m certainly going to look into it.
It’s a great way to slow travel and save money!
Hi, we just secured our first house sit a few days ago and will be just South of London for the last week in October. We are so excited. As a family of 4, it has been challenging being accepted. We have applied for at least 40 and finally have a family that would love to have us house sit! We are living on a budget in Spain and these are the things that make travel much more affordable. Now the kids get to add England to their passport too!
There are some tricks to getting noticed on HouseSitting sites, but that’s a whole other post :-) Glad you had the chance to fo it in London though, that should save you some serious money.
Some good tips to get started here.. I recently signed up with MindMyHouse to check out some housesitting opportunities..
Seems like a great idea for travelers looking to be in a destination for more than a few days.
Lance, its a great way to slow travel.
I am totally signing up! I’ve been wanting to house sit for awhile now. Ever guesthouse sat?
Interesting idea if you don’t mind moving around a lot.
Would love to do a house sit. I know a few people that are big fans of using house sits to travel.
Very cool way to sustain travel and lower costs. I’ve looked into this before and I may actually get into it when I leave SE Asia. If I ever do :P
I love finding more and more folks discovering the low-cost way to travel that allows total immersion into a new culture. House sitting is the best!
And that you and your family were able to take advantage of both sides of the house sitting equation is even better. So glad you’ve had good experiences.
House sitting has changed our lives — (my husband Conrad and me.) On our first house sit in Copenhagen, we took in 6 weeks of touring, exploring, biking, hiking, dinners and shopping with Irene, the next door neighbor, lingering over and over downtown, getting haircuts by Sammi, and buying fish out of buckets at the pier. In those six weeks, we know much more than the facts and figures of the place — we understand Danes, their disciplined culture, their precise natures, and their obsession with order. A two-day tour can never deliver that. And our lodging cost: $0.
I wish you many more wonderful house sitting assignments!
I’m a big fan of house sitting. Seems like it is more commonplace in North America and Europe though than here in Asia. I recently did a six-week sit here in Indonesia, that one was unexpected. But otherwise haven’t seen many house sitting opportunities since returning to SE Asia. Maybe I just haven’t looked in the right places yet….
Hi. Great post! I’ve been toying with the idea of housesitting for a while. Have tried any other housesitting sites?
Funny you should ask. We are in the process trying out another site, but haven’t spent enough time on it yet to be able to credibly say whether or not it’s a good choice.
We are heading off to the Bahamas on vacation next week and for the 2nd year have sitters we found on Housecarers. Both times we have communicated well in advance about our house and its amenities and will be entertaining our sitters to lunch on the day before we leave on vacation so they get the guided tour and meet the dogs. We will go for a walk on one of our best routes so they get an idea of how the dogs behave etc. This is an absolute godsend for us as we would never consider kenneling for the girls. This way it costs us nothing – our housesitters get a stay in our riverfront property with hot tub for a couple of weeks while we are on vacation feeling confident the house and our pets are being looked after. It is such a win-win situation.
It really is a great solution for both parties. We get to stay somewhere at no cost, play with other peoples pets, and explore a new city while the homeowner gets safety and security.
I’ve heard about this. It’s so neat! It is also a great way to travel. Kudos to you for finding a style that best fits you. Thanks for the information on ways to get started. :-)
Mary, It really does work out well for our style of “slow travel”.
Have just used a house/petsitter and after the fact, decided to check out just what one can expect of someone doing this.In doing so, a whole new world has opened up to me, and I am now looking ahead to possibly become one myself along with my young son, for only a short period, as we both want to do the theme parks on the Gold Coast next year 2015.Any advice at all, plus what particular areas I should target to be close to the Theme Parks would be much appreciated given the whole concept is alien to me and really don’t know the layout of what areas are close by
Lauren, your article was great. Your five questions were terrific. My wife actually made up a really comprehensive checklist for the people we house sit for. We work from home and it is essential that we have wireless Internet where ever we stay – but people’s idea of wireless varies greatly. We have found that you need to be very specific for the sake of the home owner and ourselves.
Thanks John, It’s always best to ask more questions than less. It’s better to know that the house sit won’t work early in the process than for either party to be surprised.
My partner and I have been house sitting from April to October for the past six years. We live in southern California, USA, and prefer to house sit in CA, OR, WA and sometimes NV, AZ or CO. Our biggest problem is finding house sits back to back. This year so far it is a huge problem. We have two scheduled house sits in northern CA to fill April and May, but the next one is the middle of June, the next is the middle of July and the last in the middle of September. Each of these is two or three weeks. Driving back each time to our home in soCal is expensive but motels are more expensive. Housecarers has very few listings this spring for our preferred areas. We have applied for all of those that would fit our schedule but I am sure that the homeowners have received many applications.
All of our previous years have been wonderful. We have many repeat house sits and every one of them has given us a glowing reference. House sitting is the way of the future.
We’ve found the same problem this year across a couple of websites. There seems to be less out there this year than last year.
This is a great way to travel…but how do you find places or people to house sit for? is your website what you use to find people to sit for? I would love to travel and house sit too but I think it would be hard to start off because I won’t have that many people to house sit for since I kind of have no clue where I would start! is joining a company rather the way to go and get experience before I start travelling?
We have lots of house sitting resources here: https://www.theconstantrambler.com/guide-affordable-long-term-travel-accommodations/ You should check that out as it includes several house sitting sites.
Thank you for the help. My wife and I are leaving for about three months and we were unsure of what to do about things like simply getting the mail. I like the idea of hiring a house sitter a lot. I think we would have more peace of mind knowing that we could be contacted immediately if something important came in the mail or just happened at our house. How would you recommend looking for a good sitter?
Every house sitting site offers memberships for house sitters as well as homeowners. You can learn more with our handy guide here: