Become a House and Pet Sitter and Never Pay for Accommodation

by | Last updated Apr 25, 2024 | Live - Accommodation

House sitting has become one of the best ways to travel long-term when you are on a budget. Why? Because when you become a house sitter and look after someone else’s home you get free accommodation in return. In this post I will answer your questions about what house sitting is and how to become a house sitter. Plus, provide lots of tips and tricks on how you can do this while living, working and travelling around the world. So let’s get your house and pet sitting adventures started to get free accommodation around the world. 

 

What is House Sitting?

 

House sitting is where you live in someone else’s home and look after it while they are away. As well as the house you may need to look after their pets and plants and do small jobs like take the garbage bin out. Basically, it is an exchange of house and pet care in return for free accommodation. This could be for a weekend, a week, a month or longer. For the homeowner, they get peace of mind that their home, pets and plants are being well cared for. And you get free accommodation and use of the house. Win-win.

PS: Sometimes you may be paid to house and pet sit. I highly suggest if you are being paid to get the terms and the amount down in writing so there are no disagreements at the end of the house sit. I’ve also come across where the homeowner wants you to cover the cost of utilities you use.

 

Why Become a House Sitter

 

As with everything there are pros and cons to housesitting. I think the pros far outweigh any cons.

 

Pros of House sitting

 

There are a number of benefits to why you should become a house sitter.

 

  • The biggest pro of housesitting is the money you will save on accommodation costs.
  • As well as saving loads on accommodation, the worldwide house sitting community is full of like-minded people and you can make life-long friends.
  • Also, you can immerse yourself in the local area and discover places you may not have discovered otherwise. Yes, live like a local!
  • You can also travel at your own pace from one house sit to the next. Not only will you save money by slashing your accommodation expenses you can slash your food budget costs by cooking for yourself. This can also lead to a healthier lifestyle as sometimes when travelling we can over indulge in going out for meals.
  • Another reason to experience house sitting is to see whether you like the area or not, just in case you are considering a more permanent move.

 

Cons of House sitting

 

I haven’t found too many cons to house sitting. But the ones I can think of include

  • the distance of some house sits to services. If you don’t have access to a car then you will be reliant on public transport to get around – if there is any!
  • And sometimes, the house sit may not be what you expected for various reasons. The place could be dirty or the animal doesn’t like you!

 

How to Become a House Sitter

 

There are a three ways i have found to become a house sitter.

 

1. Word of Mouth

 

The first way to find a house sitting job is through word of mouth of friends, family and acquaintances. This is how I got my first house sitting gig through a friend. It gave me the taste for it.

 

2. Facebook Groups

 

The second way to find a house sit is through a Facebook group. If you search ‘house and pet sitting’ on Facebook you will discover a number of house and pet sitting groups pop up for a particular country or city or area. For instance, Sydney (Australia) House Sitters or Yucatan (Mexico) House Sitters. These pages don’t usually have the screening like the websites such as TrustedHousesitters, so be very careful on ensuring you understand everything that is involved with the house sit before you arrive.

 

3. Join a Housesitting Website

 

The third way, and I think the easiest way to start house sitting is to sign up with one of the big house sitting websites. These websites have house sitting opportunities all around the world that are updated regularly. Once you create a profile account and pay a yearly membership fee you will be able to contact homeowners and organise a house sit. I think it better finding house sits through a specialist house sitting website because your membership includes insurance to cover property damage, theft, and public liability protection. It gives peace of mind if little accidents occur. You would need to purchase insurance yourself if you are doing housesitting privately which isn’t impossible, but one less thing you have to worry about.

 

World-Wide Housesitting Sites

 

TrustedHousesitters.comThis is by far the best housesitting website on the net with thousands of homes in over 100 countries listed. To use the services of this website and to have access to the housesitting listings you need to pay a one-off registration fee. You then upload your profile and can contact people wanting someone to look after their pet and home or, you could find someone to look after yours. I am registered with TrustedHousesitters and have found some great house sits through them.

 

How to Apply for House Sitting Jobs

 

Gerroa Beach From Balcony of House While House Sitting.

My first house sitting gig had the best ocean view – Gerroa, NSW, Australia

 

To apply for house sitting jobs or to advertise yourself on a house sitting website. This involves you firstly opening an account with them and then creating a housesitting profile. This is your face to homeowners and you should include a few things in the profile to attract them to choose you to look after their home. As housesitting is a rapidly growing travel trend, there is more competition out there for house sits, therefore, you need your profile to stand out. Things to include in your house sitter profile should include:

  • Previous Housesitting Experience. If you are just starting out you may not think you have any experience but you just might. Have you rented and looked after the rental? You don’t need to list the housesits you have done but include how many you have done.
  • References. Have previous house sitting references available if possible. House sitting is often based on trust, so the homeowner will want to ensure you are trustworthy to look after their property and any animals.
  • Pets. Include how you have a love of animals and are happy to look after them because most house sits will involve caring for a pet or pets. And they are not always cats and dogs either. Be prepared for snakes and farm animals!
  • Skills. Do you have a green thumb? Maybe are handy around the house? These things could be mentioned because looking after plants and fixing things could be involved. If you say you can mow the lawn, ensure you know how to use the lawn mower, and any other equipment for that matter.
  • Enthusiasm. Being enthusiastic about house sitting will take you far.

 

How To Contact a Potential Home Owner

 

If you see a house sit of interest I suggest you apply for it as early as possible because they can go quickly. Also, some house sits can get a couple of hundred applications. When you apply, write an introductory message that will accompany your profile. Write your message addressing the specific house sitting job, just like you would if you were applying for a new job. In one respect you are. The key here is to provide a good introduction so the homeowner will get back to you within a few days to discuss the house sitting further. You should try to arrange a Skype call to discuss and finalise the details, treat this as an interview. This is your chance to ask specific questions also before you become a house sitter, and the home owner will want to ensure you are the right person to look after their home. Questions to ask include:

  • How is the wifi connection? Can you use the wifi?
  • Can you have guests?
  • If you want to explore the area can you go away overnight
  • Can you park your car/van on the property?
  • Are you allowed to use the whole house or certain rooms?
  • Can you use all the facilities? The pool, sauna, tennis court, their car?
  • Is public transport nearby if you don’t have a car?
  • Do you need your own sheets?
  • What is the pet’s routine? Any quirks about the animal/s you should know?
  • Will instructions on how to use things be there? Like how to use the TV, garage, heating/cooling, etc. remotes.
  • Can you get a casual job or work online while housesitting?
  • Are there any expenses you will need to cover? Utilities?

I’m sure you will come up with other questions also. You don’t want to be blindsided with any surprise rules when you arrive, so get as much sorted and agreed upon before you say yes to any house sitting position.

 

My second house sit was in the mountains with fabulous views – oohh ahhh – views from the top

 

How to be a Good House Sitter

 

My best advice on how to be a good house sitter is firstly to turn up. Yes, if you committed to do the house sit, turn up. Secondly always look after the home like it was your own – you would want the same. Try not to break anything. And don’t loose the pet/s or kill the plants – but I know how hard this can be! That sneaky cat runs out of the door when you open it or you overwater the plant! It can happen. But do your best because getting a good reference from this house sit will stand you in good stead for future house sits. And besides living in a van or sleeping in your car, free accommodation is hard to come by.

 

Can you Make Money while House Sitting?

 

You don’t get paid to house sit, you get a free place to stay. So with your accommodation costs covered, it is up to you how you spend your time – well to a certain degree. As long as you complete all the tasks you need to do the rest of your time is yours. So if you want to make some money by getting some work, such as a typical backpacker travel job or working remotely online that is up to you. And this is how working holiday makers and digital nomads save loads of cash by getting free accommodation because they house sit.

 

Is House Sitting Safe?

 

I think house sitting is safe. It is just like staying in an AirBnB or short term holiday rental. While I cannot make any guarantees about the character of the homeowner I do suggest you find places to house sit through the house sitting websites like TrustedHouseSitters cause the owner, just like you, has to pay to join the website and offer their home.

 

A Typical House Sitting Day

 

Taking the dog for a walk is not uncommon

 

Your typical house and pet sitting day will vary from house sit to house sit. This was my typical day when I recently housesat a beach house with a dog. I wake up at a convenient time, well actually being licked on the face by a hungry dog. Fed the dog. Made coffee. Made breakfast. Took dog for a walk along the beach. Home and do some work or sightseeing. Late afternoon I took dog for another walk. It’s not bin night so I don’t need to put the bins out. Check the letter box to see if any post. Dinner. Share couch with my fury friend. Bed.

Another house sit saw me up at the crack of dawn to feed the chickens and the goats on a hobby farm. I then had my day to myself until it was time to feed the animals again.

My favourite house sit so far was for a couple of weeks looking after a unit in a ski resort. Though this was during the summer months. It still was cool at that time of year and I often would put the fire on. I enjoyed my cuddles with resident feline who was extremely affectionate and kept my lap warm! The views of the mountains were just spectacular. There wasn’t much to do in the mountains though I enjoyed daily walks and a couple of times I took the mountain bike out for a ride. It was a great place to get a lot of work done.

I’ve had my share of difficult moments though, but the positives of house sitting have far outweighed any negatives.

 

Homeowners: Get Free House Sitters for Your Pets

 

I’ve written this post mostly aimed at people living, working and travelling the world who want to save on accommodation costs by housesitting. If you love to travel yourself and are a pet owner, consider having a house sitter come and housesit your home and care for your pet. The housesitting community is full of pet-lovers who will treat your home like their own. You will receive many applications, just sift through them and schedule a Skype or Zoom call for your top three candidates to find the perfect fit.

 

Are You Ready to Become a House Sitter and Get Free Accommodation?

 

So there you have it, my take on house sitting. House sitting is a great way to save money as you travel. This is because we always need somewhere to stay each night and paying for accommodation is one of the biggest expenses a traveller has. So getting free accommodation in return for minimal effort of just being there and looking after pets is great. As many of the house sits are not in the centre of major towns – though it could be – you will be able to immerse yourself in the local area and what it has to offer. I have enjoyed all my house sitting gigs so far, and I hope you enjoy yours! I’d love to hear about them in the comments following.

 

READ MORE: Other Free or Low-Cost Accommodation Options

Beginners Guide to Camping
Hostel Living
Top Accommodation Types as You Travel the World
Is Booking.com Legit? And How to Choose Accommodation with them

 

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Person cuddling a cat and another looking at a great view. Both have housesitting gigs getting free accommodation.

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 🚑 Should you buy travel insurance? Absolutely Yes! SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers and World Normads has policies for general and adventure travel.

 

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Sharyn McCullum Sailing Through The Panama Canal With Storm Chasing Boat.

Sharyn McCullum – Travel Writer / Blogger, Remote On-line Worker, sometime Digital Nomad and Travel, Live and Work Abroad Expert. Is a chocoholic, coffee connoisseur and lover of ’80s music. Been travelling all her life thanks to her dad who worked for an airline. Lived in London 4 years on a working holiday. Has holidayed in Hawaii over 15 times and currently calls Melbourne, Australia home. Is inspiring others to get the live work play travel lifestyle with this blog. Read more about Sharyn here.

33 Comments

    • Sharyn McCullum

      I’m glad you think it’s a cool idea as there are literally thousands of other people who think it is cool also. Some people travel the world and never pay for accommodation.

      Reply
  1. BeeLoved City

    Never thought about house sitting before but it’s such a good idea when you are on a budget!
    Would love to look after the pets.
    I did some woofing in Australia in a mini donkey farm, that was pretty cool too!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I think it is a great idea no matter your budget because there are some fantastic house sits available including those with beach views like my first house sit. And most of the pets are pretty good too. That sounds interesting WWOOFing on a donkey farm!

      Reply
  2. Lenore

    I’ve always been interested in doing something like this! I appreciate you sharing valuable information on how to get started.

    Reply
  3. Renee

    Great alternative for those that love to travel and want to stretch their budget as much as they can. It brings you to places and offers more of a realistic travel experience that you might not have otherwise. We’ve often thought of opening up our home for someone to do this, in exchange for pet sitting.

    Reply
  4. JJ Jordan

    This is such a great idea! I would love to try housesitting, especially if the house came with a pet to take care of too! 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Sounds like you would be perfect to do house sitting. I hope you get the chance – I love house sitting. I’ve done it many times now.

      Reply
  5. Bea

    I used to house sit when I was younger, I now actually use Trusted House sitters to find people to sit for me when I’m away. If travelling for longer periods I’d certainly consider house sitting!

    Reply
  6. Ildiko

    This is a very intriguing idea. I will certainly look into it. I would want to start by going through a house-sitting company. Would be wonderful for longer stays and curious to see the list of locations.

    Reply
  7. Anja | Anja On Adventure

    this is such a cool idea! I heard of it before but I never use it. I should try though

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Give it a go. I loved it and saved heaps of money on accommodation costs.

      Reply
  8. Farrah

    I was actually just looking at house sitting! Definitely love the saving-money aspect of it and yay for getting to hang out with pets in the meantime! Definitely saving this so that when I have more time to actually travel, I’ll be able to utilize this! :]

    Reply
  9. Kim

    I love house sitting and have made great friendships out of it as well. It’s great for exploring a city and not feeling like a tourist.

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I love it too and am heading off soon for another.

      Reply
  10. ANUKRATI DOSI

    Made a note of trusted house sitters. Great way to travel across a country on a budget. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  11. Lina

    House-sitting is definitely the coolest way to save a lot of budget for travel. Great read!

    Reply
  12. Tia

    i have always been interested in this for travel!! thanks for the great information

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Good to hear you have always been interested – I hope this post inspires you to try it!

      Reply
  13. Monica

    This is so great to know. I never thought of this!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Glad to have brought this to your attention. I hope you consider trying it in the future as you will save loads on accommodation if you do.

      Reply
  14. Kelly

    Loved all these helpful tips for finding ‘free accommodation’ on your travels. Pet house-sitting seems like a great option for me as a dog person. Thanks for sharing all your helpful tips!

    Reply
  15. Linda (LD Holland)

    It was interesting to read more about house sitting. We don’t have any pets so that might limit the options we have. Our condo has limitations on Airbnb so we might not be able to share our place at home. Might look at this for future travel. We are generally ok with being outside the centre on longer trips.

    Reply
  16. Jan

    Good blog post on house sitting. I totally agree that if the animal does not like you, it could be major pain. Also if the house is in a remote area without easy access to transport, it will be a lot of trouble. Other than that, money is a great motivator! 🙂

    Reply
  17. Timpani

    I’ve never tried housesitting as a way to save money while traveling. But I feel like if I was traveling long term it’d be something I would look more into

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Not everybody does it but many do to save money while travelling. Sounds like I’ve inspired you!

      Reply
  18. Anastasia Finch

    Good overview of housesitting as a way to save money on accommodations! One thing I worry about is something catastrophic happening (pet dying, house damage) and having to deal with that as a solo traveler. I know TrustedHousesitters has a helpline/emergency vet, but I’m not sure how helpful they’d actually be when/if something happens…

    Reply
  19. Shweta

    House sitting is not for me, but I like the comprehensive info you have put out there.

    Reply
  20. Yvonne

    I am sharing this article with a couple of friends who are very interested in doing this! Great tips. Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
  21. Tracy

    House sitting is a fantastic way to travel – we have sat in NZ, Wales, England and Australia and highly recommend it,

    Reply
  22. Katelynn K.

    I was actually just telling a friend about this last week! He has the opportunity to slow travel all over the U.S. in his position and we were discussing how to cut back on accommodation costs. I’d already heard of trustedhousesitters so I shared that but I didn’t think to have him check facebook groups! That’s a great idea.

    Reply

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