Travel the World with Free Accommodation by House Sitting
Imagine staying in a five-bedroom penthouse for three months or waking up in the countryside every morning with a view of pine trees, lush hills, and the Aegean Sea – for FREE! Isn’t that the dream? One of the best ways to live that dream is by taking house-sitting jobs while traveling. All you need is your presence and a caring attitude.
But what is house sitting, and how can you do it?
What is House Sitting?
House sitting is when a person lives in another person’s home for free, usually for a period ranging from a few days to several months or longer. The “house sitter” takes on responsibilities like watering plants, collecting mail, managing pet care duties (if applicable), and making sure the property is secure and maintained adequately.
In return for these services, the homeowner may offer free rent, utilities, or other perks such as access to their vehicles.
What is the Point of House Sitting?
For the homeowner, the point of house-sitting is to find somebody to watch over their property while they are away. And for the house sitter, especially those traveling on a budget, it’s a great way to get free housing.
The cost of traveling and living abroad can add up quickly – that’s why free rent in exchange for housekeeping is an attractive option to digital nomads.
Besides saving you money, house-sitting jobs can also help you travel slower, allowing you to immerse yourself in the local culture and explore.
For instance, the experience of staying in a home will differ from lodging in hotels or hostels. In a hotel, you cannot cook, you don’t need to water the plant, or engage in any activity that necessarily warrants you to interact with locals on a more personal level.
House sitting can also allow you to maintain a routine, like making your own coffee in the morning. It is a win for both parties.
How to Become a House Sitter
Before landing your first house-sitting gig, you will need a reference that vouches for your trustworthiness and reliability. Start local; speak with your family and friends. Tell them about your plans to become a “house sitter” and ask them if they have friends or acquaintances who need a house sitter. House sit for them to learn the ropes and earn that reference. With those reference(s), you are now ready to find your first “gig.”
1. Sign Up with a House Sitting Website
Many house-sitting websites, such as Trusted Housesitter and Nomador, offer a platform for homeowners to connect with potential house-sitters and vice versa. Research and register an account with the service that best suits your needs.
You may also want to sign up for many sites to increase your chances of finding a house-sitting job. Other factors to consider when choosing a platform are security, ease of use, support, and reputation within the community.
You will also need to consider the cost since some platforms require a membership fee to access more features.
Here are some well-known house-sitting websites you can explore:
- Trusted House Sitters: Established in 2010, Trusted House Sitters is the most popular international house-sitting platform. There’s a wide selection of house sittings available around the world, but their focus is mainly on the UK, Europe, Australia, and the United States. Price: $ 129-259
- Nomador: Nomador was originally called Ilidor, an agency specializing in house sits in France. Despite its French origins, Nomador has retained a solid French focus. However, they are now a truly global company. As such, the number of international house sit gigs steadily increases yearly. Price: 65 Euros per year
- HouseSitMatch: HouseSitMatch initially served the UK and Australia but is now expanding to other countries. Most of their house-sitting jobs are in Europe and the UK, but the number of international houses sits on the platform is rising. Vacancies are snapped up quickly, so you must apply right away. Price: £69 per year Standard / £89 per year Premium Plan
- MindMyHouse: This is another popular platform for international house sitting that gets regularly updated and improved. Currently, it’s the cheapest house-sitting website. With a membership fee of $20 a year, you really have nothing to lose. Price: $20 per year
2. Create a Compelling Profile
Your house sitter profile is a homeowner’s first interaction with you, so you must make a great first impression. No one will want someone they don’t have a good feeling about watching over their property or pet.
Describe your house-sitting experience in detail, including what skill you have – for instance, gardening or maintaining a pool. More often than not, this arrangement also includes care for the resident pets. So, provide information about your experience caring for animals (Bonus points if you own a pet).
You should also let your profile show how enthusiastic you are about house sitting, supported by a clear photo.
3. Apply to the House Sits That Catch Your Eye
Now you have a great profile, it is time to browse for available house-sitting jobs and apply to them if appropriate. Filter them by location, date, duration, and property type.
Before accepting a gig, make sure:
- You can see the property. In case an ad doesn’t include images, ask for them. Ensure that the home you’re considering is livable before you commit!
- You ask the right questions if you are also pet-sitting. For instance, asks the homeowner: “What are your pet’s feeding and exercise routines?” “Does your pet have allergies?” “Do they require medication?” These details will help you easily care for any pets on the property.
- You confirm the actual location of the property. An advertised house can actually be quite far from the center of a city despite being listed there. It can be a hassle if you need a car to move around town. You may be able to borrow the owner’s, but you should check first.
6 Practical House Sitting Tips
Congratulations! You have landed that house-sitting job. What happens next? Here is what you need to know to ensure a successful house sit and start building a reference for future jobs.
#1: Prepare for An Interview
Be ready for a virtual chat with the owner of the property. See this meeting as another opportunity to put the homeowner at ease by exuding a positive aura. Reassure them that you have experience house sitting and will take good care of their home and pets.
Additionally, you can take a virtual tour of the property and see what to expect. Ask questions and clarify information if necessary.
#2: Care for Their Property
Don’t get carried away when you arrive at the property. You are not just there for the free accommodation. The owner is offering you free rent in exchange for housekeeping. So ensure that you keep the property clean, tidy, and well-maintained while you are there.
If there is a pet, give it the right amount of attention, walk it daily, and attend to its basic needs (food and water).
#3: Be Security Conscious
Safeguard the property as you’d safeguard yours. Observe your surroundings and call the relevant authorities when you notice an abnormality or suspicious activity. Ask the host about any security protocols or tips that they would like to see you observe during your stay.
#4: Communicate Regularly
Especially if a pet is involved, always communicate with the homeowner regularly about how things are going. Some people want a daily picture to see how their pet is doing, while others prefer a video. Work it out with your host and stick to it.
Also, be honest with the homeowner if anything goes wrong or you have a problem during the house sit. They will appreciate it if you tell them directly, keeping them in the dark.
#5: Follow House Rules/Agreements
While staying in someone’s home, a few do’s, and don’ts may occur. For instance, some people may not want you to wear your shoes in the house. Others may ask you not to go near an area in their home. Regardless of what the guidelines are, do not break them.
#6: Leave Home in Good Condition
Always leave the property the way you met it or in better condition. That way, you will ensure that the homeowner has a smooth time on their return. You can also leave a thank you note for your host as a token of appreciation at the end.
After you leave and feel that they are settled back in their home, ask them to leave a review for you, and you do the same. Just make sure it isn’t too long before you make that request since it may be tricky for them to recall all the details of the stay.
Keeping in touch with a satisfied host could also lead to potential house-sitting jobs through referral.
FAQs About House Sitting Jobs
Generally, house sitting is free. In essence, you and the homeowner trade what you have for what you want. Since no money is involved, you do not need government permission to have a paid job when house-sitting abroad. It is a win-win situation for both parties.
To house-sit in another country, you will need to apply for house-sitting jobs in your preferred destination. Once you get the job, make travel plans and head to that country. Meet with your host and start the house sit.
A house sitter can only have guests if the host has approved it before the sitting period starts. Accommodating unapproved guests is a breach of the homeowner’s privacy.
Some of the house-sitting don’ts are:
Don’t neglect the pets
Respect the homeowner’s privacy
Avoid unauthorized guests
Don’t leave the property dirty
Don’t change settings or rules
Short house-sitting jobs can last from one day to a week. On the other hand, long-term house sits can last from a month to six months.
Bye Bye Hotels!
House-sitting jobs can help you find free accommodation while you explore the world. These jobs can also let you enjoy what a place offers since you are not worried about paying rent.
To land your first house-sitting gig, gather some experience, and join a house-sitting service. Create a compelling profile, apply for the job that piques your interest, and prepare for your interview.
Happy House Sitting!