Ever wondered what is house sitting? Because of housesitting I am living abroad and travelling around the world without paying for accommodation.
House sitters look after someone’s pets and their home whilst they are away on holiday. House sitting is beneficial to both the house sitter and the home owners.
It benefits the house sitter as they get free accommodation, and it benefits the pet owner as someone gets to look after their pet in the comfort of their own home (which saves a fortune and a lot of distress by not sending them to a cattery/kennel).
WHAT IS HOUSE SITTING & HOW DOES IT ENABLE ME TO TRAVEL?
Why I started house sitting:
I am not rich, and like everyone else I rather begrudge spending a significant amount of my budget on accommodation so I often look for ways to keep my accommodation costs down, which in turn enables me to travel more.
Even though it is an economical option, I didn’t fancy staying in hostels night after night as a way to travel around Australia, plus I really like having my own space and spreading out.
I also didn’t want to sign a lease to rent a flat somewhere as that would mean being tied down to a place for at least 6 months which would limit how much I was able to travel.
Then I discovered house sitting. It seemed like the perfect solution – I would avoid paying for accommodation in exchange for looking after people’s pets, and I would get to travel around and see different parts of Australia!
Advantages to house sitting:
1. You get free accommodation!
The most obvious advantage to housesitting is that you get free accommodation! Not only that, but as you are living in someone’s home you get all the extra home comforts without having to pay for them.
Free laundry, free internet, Sky TV and dishwashers and even the use of the car sometimes included! When you stay in a hostel or hotel, all those costs are additional. Therefore all this money you save really starts to add up!
Also, because you are staying in a home, you can save money by cooking meals instead of always eating out, which tends to happen when you are travelling. This also really helps to cut down costs.
And more often than not, they also leave a fridge full of food for you to help yourself to!
Whilst you’re not getting paid to look after the animals, you make some really huge savings on accommodation costs! Take for example the housesit where I am staying now in Sydney for 5 weeks – it costs about AUD $10,000 per month to rent!
I don’t know about you but I certainly wouldn’t be able to afford that. Many housesits are pretty upmarket – most of the houses I’ve house sat have had outdoor pools, I’ve even had ones with saunas and indoor cinemas!
2. You get to experience slow, local travel
House sitting gives you a chance to slow down from the fast-paced travel we are often used to and travel slowly.
Many of the sits I have organised have been several weeks or even months long, which means you get to know the area very well and all the best places to visit. Often the host will also recommend their favourite local places for you too!
You really start to feel like a local and the house also really starts to feel like home as you are able to properly unpack your belongings and get into a routine.
There are of course house sits available just for a couple of nights too if you wish – these are the perfect option if you’re visiting somewhere only for a few days!
Places such as Paris and Sydney have hundreds of sits available, and with the accommodation being fairly pricey in these cities, housesitting even just for a couple of nights can save you a lot of money!
You can find house sits in great locations: in the centre of cities, as well as house sits in the middle of the countryside! It all depends what you are after!
Shortly I have one on a farm near Byron Bay looking after 20 goats and a couple of dogs which will certainly be an experience!!
3. You get to have somewhere all to yourself!
Hostels are great and all, but they sure come with their distractions and limitations. You always need to be mindful of others and leave your things tidy and locked away.
Plus someone is always snoring loudly or coming in drunk and turning on the light in the middle of the night. You just don’t have your own space to hang all your clothes or even put out your toiletries.
They’re fun but after a while you just need your own space and need somewhere that feels more homely.
With house sitting you have a whole house to yourself so you have plenty of space! And you don’t have to share with other people, just the pets!
They’ll let you watch what you want on the TV, or cook your favourite smelly food, and they definitely won’t come in drunk in the middle of the night waking you up!
4. You can house sit all over the world!
Trustedhousesitters has sits in over 70 countries! This is great if you’re going to be visiting several countries!
There are many other house sit websites that are just specific to certain countries, such as Aussiehousesitters (exclusive to house sits in Australia).
Whilst these country-specific housesit websites are great, all housesitters have to pay a membership fee when they join a housesitting website.
So if you are travelling to many different countries, you’ll have to likely pay several membership fees for several different websites.
But if you go through Trusted Housesitters you’ll just have to pay the one fee and you can travel anywhere!
There are other international housesitting websites too, such as MindMyHouse and HouseCarers, however Trustedhousesitters is my favourite. It is the easiest to navigate and I have met some lovely people on there!
5. You always have company!
Whether you want to house sit with your partner or by yourself, you’ll never be lonely as the furry friends will keep you company!
Often when I’ve been travelling in the past I’ve missed having an animal for company as I always grew up with pets. Pet sitting is a great opportunity to look after pets but never have to actually pay for their vet bills or food! P
lus I’ve always found the homeowners to be such great people and have stayed in touch with most of them!
Things you must be aware of before you consider house sitting:
- The pet is the priority. Their needs come first, not your travel plans.
- You will need to keep the routine of the animal. Whether that means the dog needs to be walked when they wake up at 5am (yes, that is me right now!), or needs to be taken out to pee 5 times a day as they live in an apartment (also me right now), you must adapt to their routine.Pets struggle when their owners leave them, so by keeping their routine you can keep them as happy and comfortable as possible.
- Don’t think the house is just somewhere to sleep and leave your belongings whilst you go off sightseeing all day. The pets need companionship and regular feeding, dogs need to be taken for walks and litters need to be changed.I have had to look after some very clingy animals who hate to be left alone, meaning I couldn’t be out of the house for more than a couple of hours at once.
Of course some pets are very independent and can be left alone for most of the day, but some can’t. You need to really think about things like this before you agree to house-sit.
- It can actually be very competitive to get a house sit, especially in big cities like Rome and Melbourne, often over 50 people apply for one house sit!Usually the better the location, the more popular it is, and you will need to show that you are the best person to provide care to their animal.
Which kind of people is housesitting particularly suited to?
House sitting is particularly suitable for people who work from home or make money online, or those who are not working such as retired people.
If you work from home housesitting is ideal as it is often quiet so you can concentrate, and you get your own space.
Things to bear in mind with house sitting:
- DO NOT apply if you don’t love animals! Although there are some housesits available without any pets (they just want you to mind the house and do the gardening), they aren’t that common.
- Don’t apply to look after an animal you aren’t comfortable with! Even if the house is in a perfect location, if you don’t feel comfortable with a certain pet then don’t apply.The websites usually have pictures of the animals on so you can see them before you apply.
Personally I don’t feel comfortable around certain really big breeds of dogs, however friendly they are. I know the breeds I am good with and I stick to those.
- You are living in someone’s house for free. They are entrusting you to take good care of their pets and their property. Always leave everything nice and tidy when you leave.
Do you have to pay to join the house sitting website?
There is an annual fee to post or apply for sits, however you can visit the website and just browse it for free to see if it is something that may interest you.
Here you can get 25% off the membership fee of Trusted Housesitters!
I love housesitting, I think it’s such a great way to travel round and save some money! This is actually my fifth year of living abroad without paying for accommodation!
My first year I was an au-pair in Italy, the following 3.5 years I was a flight attendant living in Abu Dhabi so I had all my accommodation covered by the airline, and now I am housesitting my way across Australia!
Follow along on my Instagram stories where I share my daily housesitting fun!
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Catrina is a Travel Writer, SEO Specialist and ex-Flight Attendant based in Sydney, Australia. She has visited 85 countries and lived in several – including Italy, Australia, United Arab Emirates and England. Her work has been featured in a variety of popular travel publications including Fodors, Escape, Australian Traveller and Bear Grylls, as well as several international aviation and travel companies. The majority of her work however features on her own website – 24hourslayover.com where she has written over 500 travel articles!