Join the house sitting community and enjoy the adventures of living in different homes and experiencing different lifestyles in countries around the world.
So, how and why did we get into house sitting? Enjoying different towns and areas of England through the winter months.
For us it was simply a convenient next step.
After travelling around the world for a year, I had enjoyed a few months of the superb English summer with my family and grandchildren.
It was time to ask the question “what next?”
Over the years I had developed a fascination with the concept of house sitting. It fitted with my restless spirit and looking for new adventures ... and as my friends will tell you "Supporting my low-cost lifestyle"!
I had read many articles and stories about people who had done it and others who were doing it as a lifestyle. Some as full-time international house sitters lasting over years. While others use it as a break between home living to visit other areas of their own or other countries.
Deciding on the best house sitting site.
Looking through my bookmarks which I had collected from various articles I had a list of options. To help decide on the best option, I prepared a short analysis comparing the costs, reviews and the number of jobs offered.
I looked through my references and after short listing HouseCarers and TrustedHousesitters I decided on TrustedHousesitters. They were the most expensive (USD100 per annum) but offered the largest selection with a wide range of countries and length of sits. In addition, they had many house sits in the UK.
I signed up and completed my profile details. Our first problem here was that we had no previous reviews. As although in the past we had looked after friends’ houses, we had never done this formally. However, we had many AirBnB reviews, I had my RovingRetirement website and I also used my LinkedIn profile as a reference.
This package providing any prospective house owner with an overall picture of who we were!
To complete our profile, we asked a long-time friend for a character reference.
Starting our house sitting adventure
I had read that the best way to get started was to look for urgent, short sits that didn’t have too many applicants. Then as one builds a reputation with positive reviews you have more credibility to apply successfully for the longer and more competitive ones. There will also be more opportunities in certain countries at certain times of the year.
After completing our profile, we sent off our first application and waited apprehensively for a reply … it was positive! We had been selected to do a week-long sit in Horsham looking after a special cat. We spoke to the owner on Skype and decided to meet before the sit and go through the requirements.
Some sits have very comprehensive welcome guides, but many others are a mixture of handwritten notes and personal communication using WhatsApp, Messenger or Skype.
Maybe, it was fortuitous that we were available immediately. We were prepared to go anywhere and willing to look after most animals except for reptiles or horses. Our circumstances got us our first sit and positive review.
There are some sites where you can look for paid sits, but these usually involve some additional responsibilities. For example, managing an Airbnb, house or property maintenance, or some other specialist skills. While these opportunities are attractive, they are also limited.
Many properties are in outlying areas and a car is considered essential. Sometimes a car is included with the sit, but many require your own vehicle. In the UK which has a reasonable public transport system we have managed to use buses and taxis and the odd pickup by the homeowner.
House sitting around the world
There are many opportunities spread across the globe. House sitting in Europe in countries like Spain, France and Portugal as well as abroad in locations as spread out as Dubai, China, Costa Rica, Brazil, South Africa and Australia. With time periods from days, weeks to yearlong.
Housesitting in Summary
We loved the experience, and we’ll look for other opportunities in future. We enjoyed staying in vastly different accommodation in quite distinct parts of the UK.
Meeting delightful, friendly people, looking after very individual pets, and experiencing contrasting day-to-day living.
Some of the links in this article are affiliate links whereby if you use them to sign up I get benefits like additional months' subscriptions or a small commission and if you use the Airbnb link you can get a discount of up to USD45.