There are many paths to experiencing the world. From vacation tours, robust dining, and studying abroad to just enjoying blissful retreat at hotels, home rentals, or the outdoors -- each travel style offers a different global perspective, making them all worthwhile.
The sharing economy (like home sharing and bartering) has been my favorite way to travel as of late: it is cost-effective, offers local flavor, and creates opportunity for networking. Currently, I am housesitting my way around the United States (and world) with my partner in an attempt to evaluate whether housesits could be seen as a new, viable way to live everyday life.
Want to learn more about housesitting? This article will share first-look insight on the business of housesitting and how it can help you see the world:
What is housesitting?
In this instance, "housesitting" is a term used interchangeably with home and petsitting. The booming housesitting industry that I will discuss refers to caring for one’s home, pets, plants, etc. while home owners are away for an extended period of time. The tradeoff offers value to both parties: one saves on boarding fees and can enjoy vacation with a peace of mind while the other saves on accommodation costs.
How much can you earn housesitting?
I don’t earn money housesitting. While some sitters may earn a tip, it isn’t common. Yes, there are agencies out there that can arrange paid housesits for you, but you wouldn’t be able to travel the world as easily doing that. Why? Because you’d suddenly need work visas to do so legally. It is not just an international hurdle: some US destinations (like NYC) prohibit petsitting without a license or kennel.
Where can you housesit?
Anywhere in the world that has a listing. I find North America, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia often have the most options. I check listings once a day and sometimes book as far out as 3 months, or as last minute as 1 month. Because of the competition, it is rare that a home owner will contact you. You have to be diligent about your research and take initiative the moment you see a home that is a good fit.
Do you have to pay anything to housesit?
Always double check the listing but from my experience the answer is no. The only thing you should be paying for is your transportation to get there, daily food, and your membership fee to the housesitting website of your choice. Utilities and all should be included. Many of our housesits let us drink some of their wine and finish what is in the fridge. We then leave them our remaining grocery when we "check out" (so they have something to come home to).
#Philadelphia #Rittenhouse • Our latest 3 week housesit has been the easiest. We've been caring for a cat who is quite shy. 🙌🏾🙌🏾 #dreamscometrue #soulmates Also, this isn't the house because you know, privacy. This is a 1906-built home on Delancey Place: Philadelphia's most filmed and prestigious street. Philadelphia is our last stop on the east coast before heading west for the remainder of the year.
What are you expected to do when housesitting / petsitting?
First, you have to realize that most listers want a sitter because they either work from home or are retired. Their pet is used to them being around and they want someone to keep their loved-one well cared for while they’re away. The other type of lister just finds it to be a heck of a lot cheaper and couldn’t care less about the cuddles -- they just want to make sure the pet is fed and the house doesn’t burn down.
When Alex and I housesit (couples seem to be highly desired on the site we use) we are often expected to take in the mail, water the plants, tend to the garden/backyard, and care for the pets (food, water, walks, and meds if needed). We love to go above and beyond for the homeowners so they can feel extra comfortable.
How do you book a housesit?
There are many housesitting websites out there; we use one of the popular ones. It has worked well and we’ve invested in building our profile and reviews so I don’t know that we’ll switch to another site anytime soon.
The site we use is called trustedhousitters.com (referral link*) and it costs about $119 per year to become a house sitter. It is also $119 per year to list your home if you want to do that instead. Luckily, if you want to do both under your account, it is only $148 (major discount). Here is my 20% referral link for a TrustedHousesitters.com discount, if you want to try it out. I get two free months for every person that signs up.
Housesitting is a great, inexpensive way to see the world — but can you live a life of housesitting?
Only time will tell! This journey is just the beginning and as my housesitting resume grows (we've officially sat for 4 homes in the last 3 months) I will look for longer and longer stays. So far the longest we've done is 3 weeks. The goal is to housesit for 2-4 months at a time, per home.
I have a few more housesitting articles to share (that I will link here when published) so if you have more questions please leave them in the comments below!
Housesitting blog topics include:
- How to create an awesome house sitter profile
- 5 ways to get accepted for a house sit when you have no reviews
- Fun housesitting stories (Read the Housesitting Diaries series online now)
- anything else? email email@example.com or comment below
Also, one of my favorite bloggers, Nadeen from The Sophisticated Life interviewed me for her latest article about housesitting 101 and you might get even more questions answered there.
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Talk soon xx