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HOW TO BECOME A HOUSE SITTER AND NEVER PAY FOR ACCOMMODATION
Travel

How to Become a House Sitter and Get Free Accommodation Again

HOW TO BECOME A HOUSE SITTER AND NEVER PAY FOR ACCOMMODATION

House Sitting. Not many people think of this as a legitimate alternative to accommodation when travelling. But I have found this to be – not only a rewarding option – but also a major cost saver when you’re not necessarily sitting with a massive budget BUT still want to travel.

Most House Sitting jobs come with some responsibilities, but if you like me are flexible and are open to staying in someones home and being a caretaker of sorts in return of a place to stay, House Sitting is something which I think is well worth the look.

A House Sitting gig can range from 1 week to 1 year. Locations are as diverse and widespread, ranging from the French countryside to the rainforests of Costa Rica. With no rent, no utilities, and often a form of transport at your disposal (usually a bicycle), the options are endless when considering House Sitting.

A very important note to be aware of – though not with every House Sitting job – a love of animals is a general prerequisite as most jobs do include the caretaking of a furry friend. If you are an animal lover (or like me, be travelling away from your own four-legged family) House Sitting is a beautiful salve to any homesickness.

The other really cool bonus which is generally not experienced when staying in a hotel is the opportunity to really be immersed and experience a new location from a local perspective more so; intimately.

 

How to become a House Sitter

How to become a house sitter and travel the world for less

It’s without saying that if you’ve never house-sat before, the best place to start is close to home i.e within your own network. Ask family, friends, and colleagues about the possibility of house sitting for them. Chances are that someone within your circle of acquaintance may someone heading out somewhere and be in need of a sitter.

You are then able to use them as a house-sitting reference which allows you a better shot at convincing a stranger across the world that you’re worthy of their trust. Versus going in green (which is still doable).

Whichever route you take, there are several really good house-sitting websites out there to match homeowners with house sitters. Though they all do have membership fees, the benefits far outway in cost in relation:

TrustedHouseSitters.com

$119 per year 

Started in 2010 as a UK Startup, Trustedhousesitters.com is currently the largest and arguably the most trusted site on the web with accommodation options all over the world. An added If you’re unsure about sign-up is you can search for house sitting assignments for FREE.

MindMyHouse.com

$20 per year 

In comparison to Trustedhousesitters.com, these guys offer an incredibly low fee to join. There are also a good number of house-sits and a modern, user-friendly interface. If you are keen to explore North America and Europe (primarily the UK), Mindmyhouse is definitely worth signing up for.

Housecarers.com

$50 per year

The first of the house sitting sites which I was introduced, Housecarers is a really good option if you’re considering Australia, New Zealand, and North America as core destinations. Though the site does lack intuitive design which makes it a bit difficult to navigate, the established history and sorting function and ad previews make up for it.

Nomador.com

FREE for three contacts, $35 per quarter, $89 per year

This is the one I keep coming back to. Maybe it’s the “discovery” option or their “stopover community” or the fact that there is an alternative to a yearly option. I’m not sure what it is. Maybe it’s because they’re newbies (only 4 years old at 2018). The site is heavy in European house-sits (especially France), but this is shifting. The only real downer is remembering to hide house-sits that are “no longer available.” Which should be intuitive no? Leaving the best for last? Possibly.

HouseSitMatch.com

£49 Standard or £79 Premium Membership per year 

By connecting friends, and friends’ of friends Lamia Walker, who is the founding traveller and adventurer behind HouseSit Match has created a network across Europe, Australasia, and the Caribbean. If you’re a newbie to house sitting this site is a great start (and gaining in popularity). There are two levels of registration which is also a really nice touch, so whether you’re a homeowner or housesitter there is an option to match your budget.

How to become a house sitter and travel the world for less

Remember when you’re reviewing available listings to make a choice according to your own wants whether that be based on location, timing, or other needs. The key to finding a great space though is flexibility in your plans. So rather than searching for a house-sit in Le Angles for the first week of October, widening your search to all of Occitanie for a week at any time during the month. This small shift then allows you a much better chance of finding a great house-sit.

Once you’ve seen a few house-sitting options that suite you be sure to have these basics in order:

A winner profile — A well written and up-to-date profile is your shot in. Make sure you include the following:

Experience: Include any house-sitting experience you may have. Whether that be for colleagues, friends or family or even as a previous homeowner.
Pets: Share your love of furry, scaly, slimy, large or small creatures (if applicable) as the large majority of house-sitting gigs include pet care of some kind.
Special skills: Do you speak a foreign language or two? Have a green thumb? Handy with a spanner or saw? Be sure to mentions these skills in your profile.
Attitude: Expressing your enthusiasm and willingness to care for a homeowners home goes a long way.

Initial Email — The key to a good first impression and your initial email is to keep things “short and sweet”. Try not to get too longwinded, but keep in mind to highlight important information while injecting your enthusiasm.

Pay close attention to the specific listing and make sure each email addresses the specifics of each particular house-sit. Eg. if they have a dog, mention him/ her and what in particular about this listing gets you excited.

Be Swift — Be like Flash. Great house-sits get snapped out at the speed of light (almost). Being one of the first to apply greatly increases your chances of being selected. The best way to be ahead of the crowd is to sign up for email alerts in your fancied areas or keep track on social media to be the first to know what’s newly listed.

Reference — The reality is references count and one of the first things homeowners will look at. If you do have any, make sure to have your best lined up. If you have no previous house-sitting experience though, no need to worry. You could ask a former landlord, an old neighbour or boss. Or anyone who could vouch for your character, reliability, and trustworthiness.

As with any momentum, one good reference will lead to another placement and another good reference to another etc. And once these begin to add up in number, potential homeowners will be greatly inclined to work with you, making subsequent house-sits much easier to come by.

 

How to become a house sitter and travel the world for less

How to be a good House Sitter

In the beginning, it’s easy to get excited about the possibility of living somewhere exotic for nearly nothing and forget about the finer details. As much as house sitting is a GREAT alternative for saving on accommodation while travelling, it is important to keep in mind that this is a job. So it’s important to remember to ask the homeowner a lot of questions beforehand. Questions like: Can I have guests over while I house-sit? Can I leave the property overnight? Is there a vehicle or another mode of transport available to me? Will there be an Internet connection? These are all good questions to think about asking ahead of time.

When you get all the details out the way you avoid being blindsided with rules or surprises when you arrive at your homestay. 

It is also important to remember that in exchange for a free place to stay, you’re being asked to take care of someone’s home (and likely their much-loved furbabies).

Though most of your time will be available to you to chill out and take in your surroundings, there will be moments when you have to earn your keep.

The not-so-secret-secret to getting house sitting gigs is to do a great job. So keep the following in mind:

  • Treat the Homeowners house with respect. This means returning it to the Homeowners in as good — or better — condition as when you arrived.
  • Stick to the Homeowners’ guidelines. This may mean on correspondence, how to deal with mail, instructions for pets, etc.
  • Be prepared to deal with unpleasant situations. Things can go wrong. This is the reality of life, so be prepared and make sure you have emergency contact information on hand. And should anything go leftfield, be honest with the Homeowners about anything that comes up.

The truth is that house-sitting will have trying times. But this is all a part of the journey. Besides the positives will no doubt outway any challenges you’re likely to face. House-sitting isn’t just about money-saving but more so the opportunity to live like a local (and do something nice) in a new corner of the world. Whether you’re going away for eight days, 8 weeks or 8 months, house-sitting is a great alternative to the norm.

How to become a house sitter and never pay for accommodation again

How to Become a House Sitter and Get Free Accommodation Again

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