House sitting is one of the best ways to stay somewhere for free when you’re going on a holiday, or spending more time in another country.
When you house sit, you’re looking after someone’s house and/or pets. It’s a win-win situation because the other person knows he’ll find everything the way he left it and his home will be taken care of, and you get free accommodation with everything you need to live well at a new place.
That might interest you if you’re a frequent traveler, a digital nomad, want to explore a new country on a budget, want to escape reality for a while, just started working remotely and are ready to go to another place, are a couple that’s taking a few months off to travel the world, or are pensioners looking for some quiet time away from home.
Whatever the case is, there are people out there who would love for you to spend some time in their places, feel at home, play with their pets, and do everything you would be doing on a standard holiday.
What Makes House Sitting Possible
We live in a shared economy now. Which means we have access to all sorts of resources, share them, stay connected, and thus make everything cheaper and more pleasant.
That’s the case with house renting and couch surfing, transport, lending and borrowing money without having to go to the bank, crowdfunding, sharing office spaces, all the digital marketplaces out there that let you sell or buy anything, or offer your services (whatever they are) and get paid for it.
House sitting is one of them.
Some time ago such opportunities didn’t exist because the Internet didn’t allow people looking for house and pet sitters to find and connect with travelers. What’s more, it wasn’t a safe thing to do.
Such jobs were paid, couldn’t be monitored by a third party (like it is now with the site you’re using to find each other, which takes care of the payment and makes sure both sides are real and trustworthy people).
A Few Important Things to Know About House Sitting
It’s an agreement you make with the home owner, and you’ll have some responsibilities along the way.
Depending on the house sitting assignment, you might need to take care of some animals and take a dog for a walk twice a day, clean litter boxes of cats, or anything else the landlord has mentioned in his offer. Which means that even if you don’t think it’s necessary to feed or clean that much, you should follow the instructions. They are never too many, but some owners just want their pets to feel like nothing has changed.
Needless to say, you should be an animal lover, or at least willing to be around animals, keep them company and make some compromises.
Next, there’s the communication aspect.
First impression is critical here. How you present yourself when approaching a home owner to house sit for him will result in his decision as to whether or not to continue communicating.
Even when you’re at his house, though, you’ll need to keep in touch. That might be one call every few days, but it can also be a daily picture with the pet on WhatsApp. So be prepared to be social and to show that you care.
There will be some other tasks to complete, like keeping things organized, watering plants, letting someone in at a fixed time, or else. It’s never a big deal, but you should pay attention to details and stick to the plan.
Of course, you should feel at home, especially when you’re staying for a few weeks at that place (which is the case most of the times), but you should always keep in mind that this is someone else’s house and treat it with respect.
Where to Look for Assignments
There are many options, but a couple of platforms are the best in this niche. Meaning, they offer many opportunities, work well in terms of searching, loading and processing anything, and are a place where all home owners and house sitters have a profile at.
Let’s begin with my favorite one, Trusted House Sitters. There’s an annual subscription of around $95 that lets you submit proposals to trusted home owners.
Then, there’s Nomador, Luxury House Sitting, House Carers and Mind My House.
To get started, register, pay to become a member if necessary, and start creating your profile. You should seem friendly, and focus more on your relevant experience, countries you like and what can be expected from you once you’re there. These are the things home owners want to know.
A picture of you smiling and holding your own pet would be much better than one with friends, for instance.
Write a few paragraphs about yourself and what you do in your description too, and keep in mind that the words you use show your personality.
Then, you’ll be ready to go. If you’re looking for a place to stay in a particular country, that’s how you’ll search house sitting assignments.
If not, you can browse some near you, or just see what’s out there and decide to go to a new country after you’ve been accepted and know you’ll have accommodation there.
How to Make The Most of House Sitting
It’s not something average people would do. But they don’t really travel, connect with new people or benefit from the opportunities of the digital world either. So just go with it.
Have an open mind about all this. Another person is going to travel and is leaving his home to you, together with all his stuff. A decade ago that would have sounded crazy. Now, it’s a daily routine for some.
Appreciate having such options with the click of a button. It’s never been that easy to connect with such people from all over the world before.
Some places might be quite spacious and even luxurious, so you’ll feel great there. You might be offered a bike, will be able to use the Internet, and any other gadget or comfort that’s in the house.
Just imagine how much all that would cost if you were paying for it.
It can lead to friendships too, be it with the home owner, or people living in the area.
To make the most out of traveling by being a house sitter, feel like a local while you’re living there. Be it for a week, or half a year.
Now that you know what house sitting is all about, share your experience with it. If you don’t have any, are you willing to give it a try?