Housesitting & How We Do It

Just yesterday, we stood on the side of the road, talking to a complete stranger about house sitting. We’re into our third year of travelling the world this way, and I’ve posted about our experiences, but maybe it’s time to share some details about how we do this.

 

First, let me give you a bit of history.  Going back to when I was a kid, I house sat for family friends when they were out of town. I didn’t move in, but I walked dogs, fed cats, watered plants, and even played with newts and hermit crabs (I only needed to feed them; playing with them was for my entertainment).

Classroom pets went home with me over over school holidays.  Poor mom.  With five kids, a dog, and a cat in the house, I’m sure she didn’t need another living thing to worry about.

Karen, is also an animal lover, but her experience was quite different.  Her biggest childhood trauma was not being allowed to have a cat.  She got by with bunnies, birds, and fish, but it wasn’t until she was grown and living on her own that she could start her cat collection.

Fast forward many years and six cats (not all at once!!!), and we said good-bye to our little buddy and travel companion, Monster.  We vowed not to get another pet.  This decision allowed us to travel freely; it also left us without the companionship of animals.

Enter house sitting!

Why did you start? We’ve looked after friends’ houses and pets before, and we’ve even looked after children (relatives, only).  Even so, the idea of using this as part of our travel repertoire didn’t hit us until a few years ago.  Friends asked if we might be interested in pet sitting in Thailand.  They didn’t need us, after all, but that planted the seed.  A little internet search, and I discovered that this is, indeed, a thing.

There are several websites dedicated to matching up home owners and house sitters. I sifted through reviews about several of the websites, took the leap, and joined one.

Round-up of Housesitting Websites

Trustedhousesitters.com  For only $99/year, we have access to a huge pool of gigs around the world.  This is the first website I joined and is, by far, the best of any I’ve used. It’s easy to use, and has excellent tech support. Using this site, we’ve lined up jobs in Canada, England, Wales, Spain, and Australia.

If you decide to join trustedhousesitters, you can use this promo code at checkout for a 20% discount: RAF96070.

Housecares.com  $60/year I joined this website, because it seemed to have a fair number of sits in Australia.  The website, itself, is a little cumbersome, but it’s worked out well for us.  We’ve even had homeowners contact us, without our applying. Through Housecarers, we’ve had sits in Canada, New Zealand, and Australia.

KiwiHousesitters.co.nz  $60/year gave me access to some great sits in New Zealand.  The website was easy to use and landed us on a kiwi orchard near Taranga, NZ.

Through these sites, we’ve arranged 15 house sits which have added more to our three winters of travel than either of us would ever have imagined! The cost of the memberships is small peanuts compared to the experiences and the savings on accommodations.

 

To be honest, at first, we thought of house sitting, primarily, as a really cool way to save money on hotel rooms.  It has turned out to be much, much more. This style of travel has given us the opportunity to experience wildly different lifestyles.  Sure, we’re at each place for a limited period of time, but we are living in homes, experiencing different neighbourhoods, all around the world.

We’ve lived in cities, suburbs & small villages.  We’ve lived on rural properties. Along the way, we’ve had the company of wonderful animals, and met warm and generous people who share our love of exploring the world. We’ve found our niche.

I hope I’ve filled in the blanks about the very basics.  In a future post, I’ll get into some of the other common questions we are asked, such as: What are the biggest challenges you face?  Have you ever had a really bad house sit?  What have you learned along the way?

Is there anything else I should mention?  Let me know in the comments space below or comment on my facebook page.  Feedback is always welcome.


Oh, by the way, that trip to Thailand that sparked all of this in the first place?  It’s finally happening.  Our next house sitting gig will be in Bangkok in under a month!  Woo hoo!!

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22 thoughts on “Housesitting & How We Do It

  1. As happy and very satisfied recent recipients of Leah and Karen’s care of our dog, (she is still talking about all the fun she had!) and lots of questions from friends, you did not mention this is a mutually agreeable fee free solution for the house/pet sitter but also for the home and pet owner.
    People cannot believe that part! Thanks again and have fun in Thailand!

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  2. I will be sure to mention the reciprocal nature of this arrangement in the future post, Suzanne. Thanks! I think it’s an example of the best kind of barter economy, people helping each other out, with everyone benefiting.

    Karen teases me when I give our new dog love, saying that I’m cheating on Miss Tala. Don’t tell on me!

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  3. We’ll come knocking the next time we’re in your neck of the woods, Sally. Thanks! I trust you are all doing well, and that Ozzie is still enjoying his glorious beach walks. Yours remains one of our favourite beaches in the world!

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  4. Interesting. Wish I had the guts to do something like this. Are there sites for places in the United States? Do you have special insurance of some sort? How do you check out the houses you are going to house sit for?

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  5. Thanks for the questions; I’ve noted them for the next blog post, but I’ll tell you that YES, there are plenty of gigs in the US. Once you have a major change in administration, we’re planning to head down there.

    We have no special insurance (although, when driving vehicles that the home owners lend to us, they sometimes have to add us to THEIR insurance (depending on the country).

    How do we check the houses… that is a bit long for here, so you may just have to hold your horses for a full reply. I will say that it’s a bit hit and miss! haha

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I should say that you can do some browsing on the sites without joining. Some have limited information, but it’s pretty fun to see what’s available! Everything from 1 day to a year or more!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the information. I’d love to find someplace near my step family in Florida for a month or so, that would allow me to bring Tippy along. Those are probably hard to come by though, especially since I would want to go in February.

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  8. Thank you for this great information. I follow a few blogs by house sitters in addition to yours (one in the U.S. and the other mostly Europe) and really find this lifestyle fascinating. I may join one or two of these sites just to see whats out there. More info that would be helpful: how do you “audition” for these sits (what do you think a homeowner is looking for) and what do you look for (other than location) in a potential house sit.

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  9. Oh, brother! I’m worried, enough, about the language barrier. I don’t need Thai speaking dogs and cats. LOL

    Fortunately, their peeps are from the UK. I just need to brush up on my British accent for this gig!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I am lucky, in so many ways. We retired early, knowing we wanted to do some longer term travel, but hadn’t really flushed out a plan.

    Sometimes, things just fall into place.

    Liked by 1 person

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