Happy House Sitting: A Budget-Friendly Way To Travel Well
I’m writing this from our terrace overlooking the hill towns of Tuscany. Cheryl’s in the herb garden picking fresh basil for tonight’s dinner. We’re not paying $250 a night for our accommodations, though that’s the going rate for other villas in this area. In fact, we are staying for free! We’re HOUSE SITTING!
You’ve probably heard of house sitting before. You may even know someone who has done it. In fact, it’s becoming the fastest growing travel trend of the decade! We’ve saved over $30,000 in a year and a half of travel (based on $75/day) and that’s allowed us to stretch our travel budget enough to keep on traveling. House Sitting is great for families, solo travelers, vacationers, retirees and especially for location-independent travelers.
In return for watching a pet, maybe some light gardening or housekeeping, you’ll have the opportunity to live like a local and experience the culture in a way not possible from a hotel room. Not to mention how much money you can save on accommodation costs. But what’s this new way of traveling all about – and most importantly – how can YOU take advantage of free accommodation when you travel? Read on below!
We’ve also written an informative and fun e-book packed with loads of information to give you a leg up in the often competitive House Sitting world. It’s called Live Your Dream! House Sitting Around The World and that’s exactly what we’re doing!
So far we’ve sat in Fiji, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, Florida, Tuscany, and Ireland…and we’re just getting started! The book will guide you through all the steps to get started with housesitting and if you really enjoy it, we have an affiliate program for those who would like to make a little money on their own web sites.
BONUS!!! Included with the purchase is a discount to Trusted House Sitters, one of the premiere house sitting sites, valued up to $19 for house sitters and a $75 value for home owners. The discount itself covers the cost of the book!
First a little House Sitting 101
House Sitting is NOT a home exchange. You don’t have to own a home to swap to be a house sitter, but being a homeowner can be a plus when it comes time to write your profile (more on that later). House Sitting is an even exchange of services. Yours – to watch the home, pets, and garden as though they were your own (or even better). The homeowner – to allow you to stay in their home rent-free knowing the home and pets will be well taken care of. Typically, no money changes hands. You aren’t paid to take care of the home/pets and the homeowner doesn’t require any payment from you to stay. It’s a service based on trust between both parties.
How do I find homeowners looking for someone to watch their home and pets?
There are HUNDREDS of pet/home owners planning a holiday right now around the world who are looking for someone trustworthy to take the worry off of leaving their home and pets behind. Several web sites are doing an excellent job of matching up those homeowners with travelers like you who would like to visit a particular place and have a “home-base” to do so. Here are a couple of our favorites…
This is the company we used for our first house-sit in Fiji. Yes, we spent 3 months house sitting in a Fijian paradise – with an incredible view over the water! The House Carers connection made that possible. House Carers is an Australia-based site with an extensive listing of worldwide opportunities from a few days to months at a time. The free membership allows you to make a basic profile, allows searching and notification of house-sits; while with the $50 annual membership you can upload photos and references (a good idea for those competitive positions), receive e-mails, and apply for assignments as soon as they become available (another must for landing the prized positions).
Tip: If you’re not 100% sure you’re ready to commit to house sitting or you haven’t quite decided what part of the world you want to visit, use the free trial at House Carers to take a look at what’s available. They have a wealth of guides and information to get you started.
One of our first “go-to” sites when it’s time to plan a trip. Trusted Housesitters has a very strong Facebook presence and more than a few of their posts have made us drool. We’ve found their site to be easy to navigate and their worldwide choices exciting. A yacht in the Greek Islands? A manor house in the Cotswolds? Sure, sign me up! Registration is required and there are 3 to choose from: 3 months /$30, 6 months/$45, and their most popular option of 1 year/$60. As a registered member, you’ll receive a daily e-mail of new assignments or a real-time alert for those special places you don’t want to miss. According to the site, 75% of house sitters with fully completed profiles (e.g. a photo and character reference) manage to secure 1-5 house sits within their first 3-6 months.
Tip: The competition can be fierce for the prime house sitting spots. Some homeowners receive hundreds of applicants for their assignment. Sites like Trusted Housesitters that match the perfect house-sitter and homeowner often say the majority of their homeowners tend to search the PROFILE first, before listing their homes. Be sure your profile is top notch before you apply.
Okay, now you’re ready to get started. You’ve found the perfect spot you want to visit, the time frame fits exactly, and the idea of walking that adorable Golden Retriever in the park every day has your heart skipping. How do you make the homeowner fall instantly in love with YOUR profile and know you’ll be perfect for the job? Our next segment will focus on Creating A Killer House Sitting Profile.
In the meantime, here are just a few of the adorable pets we’ve had the opportunity of looking after while house sitting…you’ll find more about these furry babies on the upcoming post, House Sitting – It’s All About The Pets.
If you have any questions about this fun way to see the world, please don’t hesitate to ask…and keep checking back for more in-depth information on snagging the best house sit opportunities!
Good luck to you and we hope to see you around in our mutual travels! Happy House Sitting!
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