No you’re not crazy, you read that correctly. By taking advantage of trusted house sitting you really can travel the world free from having to pay accommodation costs!
Of course there are some things you may have to sacrifice from your travel experience, but there are a ton of interesting opportunities that house sitting offers. We’ll cover everything you need to know about the different websites and what to expect before you jump on this incredible opportunity!
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What is House Sitting?
When people go travelling, often times they want someone to look after their house. Nowadays, there’s a few major websites where they can be paired with house sitters. Trusted Housesitters calls housesitting, “a way for pet lovers to travel” as the exchange is basically, “you can stay at my house for free if you take care of my house and pets“.
On the websites that are mentioned in this article, there is no exchange of money between the house owner and the house sitter. By the time you’re finished reading this, you’ll have all of the information you need to start trusted house sitting and travel the world free from the costs of accommodation!
What to include in your house sitting profile
On Trusted Housesitters, it’s pretty foolproof to go through the process of creating a profile, but we’ll just give you a few tips for being chosen for housesits here.
First you’ll enter your general information like your name, date of birth, occupation, who you’ll be housesitting with or if you’ll be solo etc. Remember: people will want to know everything about you since you’ll be responsible for their house and pets so the more information you can provide, the better.
Then you’ll be asked to upload photos of yourself. We recommend to upload as many photos as possible where you’re looking friendly, smiling, and ideally any photos you have with pets. At the time of this post, on our profile, we have pictures of us with dogs and horses, but the more house sits we do we’ll be sure to take pictures with cats and birds and whatever we can to really showcase our portfolio.
Here’s an example of a photo that we include on our house sitting profile
When you’re writing your “about” section, be sure to add any experience you have at all, what animals you’re comfortable with, etc. The more open and flexible you are, the more you have a chance of being chosen for the sit.
The pros and cons of house sitting
Below, we’ll talk about some of the pros & cons of house sitting – what we love and not-so-love about the experience we’ve had.
Save on accommodation (pro)
This is essentially what this post is about. If you’ve read this far, you already know that this is by far the biggest pro! Budget travellers like you and like us understand that accommodation can be one of the biggest expenses and saving on hotel and AirBnb fees can really help you to afford that much needed vacation.
However, the amount of hours you can spend outside the home can be cut short (con)
If you choose to housesit while travelling, you have to keep in mind that you now will likely have a pet to take care of, and most pets have a schedule that you’ll have to follow. It’s very important to know that although this is an amazing opportunity, it’s also a big responsibility to take on.
Be sure to understand the animals needs and prepared to make travel sacrifices while taking on a house sit.
A way to save money on rent (pro)
In addition to those of us who use house sitting as a way to save on hotel fees while travelling, many people also house sit as a way to live rent free by planning out house sits for months at a time. Sometimes you can even find year long house sits!
Note: some house owners may ask you to pay utilities. We personally would not take a house sit if the utilities had to be paid by us. This is because we already feel like the deal is a fair trade off, considering the owner would have to dish out a lot more cash if they were paying for pet boarding. This is our personal opinion and preference and you can decide how to deal with this circumstance as per your discretion, but just an FYI!
Some owners will even lend their car (pro)
This can save you a huge amount of money on car expenses or rental costs while travelling.
If you plan ahead, you can plan housesits for the entire year, but you have to be well-organized (neutral)
This can be a pro or a con depending on whether you like organizing or not. For some people this may be a headache, for some people it may be sort of fun, but if you’re planning on stacking house sits then you’ll have to do some planning.
Housesitting isn’t always completely free, and there can be subscription fees (con)
In our opinion, the subscription fees are a small price to pay to save on accommodation but it’s worth noting that most house sitting websites aren’t completely free to use. We’ll put the 3 main websites and their annual subscription fees below.
Trusted Housesitters: 139 CAD/year
Mind My House: 25 CAD/year
Nomador: 126 CAD/year
Note: If you’re travelling to somewhere on the more affordable side, say Thailand for example, it’s important to note that you can potentially stay in a hostel for $6 a night. This is far less expensive than annual subscription fees – so keep this in mind when considering the house sitting opportunity.
You get to fill your pet fix (pro)
We love travelling and being nomadic, but this lifestyle comes with some sacrifices. The biggest sacrifice in our opinion is that we’re not really able to own a pet. As animal lovers, we were thrilled to find house sitting because we get the cuddles without the long-term responsibility of being a pet owner
You can’t really take overnight trips (con)
Taking on a house sit is a big responsibility and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It’s important to ask the owner all about the pet you’ll be looking after and if it is ok to take them out for long periods of time, on overnight trips, or to leave them for the night.
Most of the time, the house owners will expect you to be at home with the pets & house every night. This is no big deal for some people, but for others, this means missing out on camping trips with friends or nights out with fellow travellers.
If you anticipate that you may need a night off, you can always ask if there are neighbours or family in the area that can potentially help look after their pet for the night – but always prepare for the answer to be no.
Be ready to take ownership when things go wrong
Think worst-case-scenario here. In the event of an accident or death of an animal under your watch, you are the person who is responsible. This means (again, worst case) that you could be the person up late at the vet or taking care of an injured animal for the duration of your trip.
If you aren’t ready to step up to this type of responsibility on a stress-free vacation, we don’t blame you! But it’s up to you to decide whether or not you are ready to accept the risks when taking on a house sitting opportunity.
Once-in-a-lifetime chances to explore areas you may not have otherwise visited (pro)
One of the best parts about house sitting is the places that it can bring you. This is a great excuse to avoid tourist-heavy areas and get a taste of rural and sometimes even remote communities.
Isolation – not like staying in a hostel (con)
For some folks, a huge part of travel is the social connections you make with like-minded travellers in hostels! When taking a house sit, you’re essentially taking away this part of travelling as its difficult to go on those late night, last minute pub crawls with your temporary roomies. It really depends how you like to travel.
For us, we’ve grown to appreciate the ability to wake up in a big comfy bed and make breakfast with an adorable animal by our side. Hey, we still like to party – but we don’t mind skipping out on those big groups and late nights.
Luxury house sits (pro)
What is cooler than getting to travel the world, free of charge? Doing it in luxury! If the timing works out just right, you could find yourself in a mansion in the hills or a beachfront bungalow with perfect surf! Whatever your definition of luxury is there is potential for you to find it while house sitting. Your Instagram followers will be jealous of these occasional finds for sure!
Enjoy the comforts of home from the road (pro)
Anyone who travels frequently knows how real homesickness can be. Sometimes hotel rooms can be lonely, and sometimes you just miss the comforts of home. House sitting usually means high-speed wifi, laundry, a proper cooktop, a comfy bed, all of the usual expected home comforts, all while travelling. Win, win!
Looking for other budget living alternatives? Our website is filled with tons of tricks, tips, hacks and information that can help you travel on a budget and save money while on the road.
Are you looking for ways to live alternatively and save money? If you’ve ever considered van life, you may be wondering how much money it can actually save you. Find our post about van life vs. city living here!
House sitting means keeping your belongings to a minimum. If you’re curious about how we live as minimalists you can check out our article including all of the things we still buy as minimalist nomads.