Do you fancy having free accommodation in return for house and pet sitting, the chance to explore a new town, city or country or maybe stay long enough to improve your language skills? Housesitting is ideal for digital nomads, travellers or just a way of experiencing living in another place. We started our housesitting journey with Trusted Housesitters and haven’t looked back!
So what is housesitting?
In its simplest form, housesitting is where you go and live in someone else’s home while they are away. You don’t exchange houses but you look after the house treating it as if it’s your own, so that includes keeping the place neat and tidy, cleaning, washing, maybe some gardening and maintenance. You may also have to take care of pets, walking, feeding, grooming and possibly giving medication.
Most housesitting gigs are not paid, you also generally have to pay for your travel expenses and buy your own food, but other household bills – gas, electric, water, wifi etc. – are normally covered for you.
Before you sign up to House Sitting Sites
Housesitting isn’t for everyone. Leaving your creature comforts to stay in someone else’s home and be surrounded by their things for days, weeks or months, can be a tough ask. You don’t exactly live out of a suitcase, but you don’t have all your things around you, so if you forget your favourite jumper, scarf, boots etc…. you either have to buy new or go without. Virtually all housesits require you to be there at night, you are custodians of the house in their absence.
But there are so many good things about housesitting; the chance to look after some wonderful pets and houses; there are opportunities all around the world, or you can stay local; you can experience new towns, cities, countries; stay in the countryside, the city, beach or experience island life. Go for a few days, a weekend, a week or for months; learn a new language, or brush us ones you know already; make new friends – human, furry and feathered ones.
Before you go ahead and sign up, here are a few of the things to consider before you sign up:
- Can you get the time off work, or can you take your work with you?
- Do you want to sit locally, nationally or internationally?
- How long can you sit for? Days, weekends, weeks, months?
- What types of animals do you want to look after? Are there any you don’t want to look after?
- What will you do with your own home? Rent it out? Have housesitters yourself?
- Do you want to be in the city? countryside? rural? beach? remote?
- What are you willing to do? Gardening? light maintenance?
- Are you okay to use your own car/hire a vehicle?
- Do you need internet? TV?
Have a long hard think what you will and will not do. We came up with our deal breakers before we went any further:
- Must have good internet
- No horses or reptiles (neither of us is comfortable with them)
- All bills included – we don’t want any nasty surprises
- If in the UK and Europe we would consider weekend and short sits
- International sits we would consider a minimum of 4 weeks
- Nothing too remote
- We are willing to do some gardening and light maintenance
Make a list of your deal breakers, and try to stick to them…. we do sometimes go for housesits that don’t fit in with our deal breakers, just because it would be an amazing opportunity.
How we started Housesitting
I have been house sitting for about 5 years, but our house-sitting journey together started about 4 years ago, when we went to the south of France to look after a house with a pool for three weeks. This led to sits for a couple of dogs and cats in England. We then signed up to Trusted Housesitters and in 2015 we did our first sit with them: 3 weeks in Copenhagen looking after 2 house rabbits!
So far we looked after rabbits, dogs, cats, geese and chickens and visited 7 different countries and have sits lined up in Yorkshire, Botswana and Honduras for 2018. We have stayed in some amazing places and made new friends around the world.
Want to know more?
Head over to the Trusted Housesitters website and have a look at what is on offer!
Two of our Housesitters
So how do long-term housesitters occupy their time? Here is a brief insight into two of our recent sitters:
Paula & Paul
Paula and Paul are musicians and they came to housesit for us in 2017 when we went over to Honduras for two and a half months.
During their time with us, they managed to remix their album (in our cellar which had great acoustics!), Paul busked, finished writing his book and even signed a publishing deal at our kitchen table! In between all that they kept our house immaculate, the grass cut and our chickens and lovely Izzy well looked after.
Hazel & Craig
We knew we were going to have a lot of travelling from December 2017 to April 2018, so we enlisted the help of Hazel and Craig to look after the house, Izzy and the chickens.
While Craig has managed to pick up some contracting accountancy work, Hazel is busy with her craft business – BlossomHill – making gorgeous handmade baby mobiles and cake toppers which she sells all over the world with her Etsy site.
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