You love to travel but find accommodation expensive? If so, we have a suggestion: become a house sitter!
Not everyone has the opportunity to do home swapping. Perhaps you’re not comfortable with having strangers in your house or maybe you’re just renting a tiny little place yourself?
There are quite a few opportunities out there to get cheap or free accommodation. We mentioned house swapping and you’ve probably heard of coach surfing, which doesn’t literally mean ending up on a sofa. Sometimes you can get a room to yourself. But why settle with a couch (or a room) when you can get a whole house to yourself! In many places, owners of houses and apartments want someone to stay in them while they are away, as it feels safer than relying on the alarm.
It was the idea of the chance to get to know a place on a more local level that triggered us.
We had read about these opportunities in an article somewhere and then we started searching a little more. It was the opportunity of looking after houses around the world (it is actually possible to stay in some really fancy properties out there) and staying there for free. It was the idea of the chance to get to know a place on a more local level that triggered us. To talk to the neighbour, shop at the local supermarket and find your favourite little places…
After some research, we came across Trusted Housesitters, which also includes looking after pets. It is usually the animals that are the reason why people need someone living in their house. Not everyone has family and friends who can look after their fury loved ones. Also, many do not like the idea of using a kennel. At the end of the day, the animals are most happy being home in their own environment. Plus, it is also easier to take care of them in a place they know.
House sitting has become really popular, especially in the British Isles, but there are opportunities in other places. South Africa, St.Lucia, Costa Rica, Seychelles and Australia as well, to mention a few!
There are charming houses in small villages, properties with stunning views and fancy apartments in big cities
Who can do this?
Basically everyone, but it will depend on the house sit. An acquaintance of ours is a single mom and thought this was an excellent opportunity for her to take her son on vacation, without breaking the bank. At the same time she had a unique and excellent opportunity to experience an exciting place from a different angle. The local.
There are small household farms that need house sitters. Perhaps something for an active toddler’s family? Feeding the chickens, giving the cat some cuddles after its busy mouse hunting and maybe pick fresh vegetables from the field. It must be heaven for active children and in addition you have plenty of space to enjoy.
There are charming houses in small villages, properties with stunning views and fancy apartments in big cities, where a little dog or an old cat needs food and TLC. Occasionally there is a long term sit, where a house needs residents while waiting to be sold. Maybe the owner has become ill and does not live there.
We got to know the AGAs really well, both oil and wood heated. Certainly an interesting way of cooking.
How much does it cost?
You have to pay a fee to create a profile on these sites, but the house sit is free. After all, you are doing a favour for someone. As we see it, you get a lot back by doing this. We have lived in beautiful places for free, have enjoyed the company of lovely animals and have learned to know these places from a local perspective. In addition, we have made new friends by doing this.
In some cases, a homeowner may want you to pay for electricity, for example. They may ask if you can paint or do some maintenance. This is usually the case if a house sit is going to last for a while. We are talking months or years.
How does it work?
You create a profile and fill out the info. You can be alone, a family or like us, a couple. Photos and clear information about you are important. You can also record a video where you present yourself. It is also important to gather references, to get the homeowners to select you. We started with collecting references from friends, colleagues and people we had looked after animals or houses for previously. As soon as we got our first house sit through Trusted Housesitters, it became easier to get the next one. And now we also receive requests from people who need home sitters.
If we look after houses and dogs for someone outside the Trusted Housesitters system, we make sure that we get our references and add them to the profile.
What do you think? Is this something you would like to try?