How did we get into house sitting? The adventure of experiencing different homes, different lifestyles and different areas of England for the last 6 or so months.
Simply, it was a convenient next step.
After travelling around the world and enjoying a few months of the superb English summer vacation with my family and grandchildren it was time to ask the question “what next?” I had always been fascinated by the idea of house sitting.
I had read a number of articles and stories about people who had done it. Some doing it as a full-time international house sitting lifestyle lasting over years. While others using it as a break between home living to visit other areas of their own or other countries.
Looking through my bookmarks I saw that I had a number of possible sites and that I had also done a short review looking at the costs, reviews and number of house sitting jobs.
I looked through my references and after short listing HouseCarers and TrustedHousesitters decided on TrustedHousesitters. They were the most expensive (USD100 per annum) but offered the largest selection over a wide range of countries. In addition, they had many house sits in the UK.
I signed up and completed my profile details. Our first problem was that we had no 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 as this gave any prospective house owner an overall picture of who we were!
To complete our profile we asked a long-time friend for a character reference.
I had read that the best way to get started was to look for short sits in the near term that didn’t have too many applicants. Then when one has built a good name to then apply 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 very 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 and were prepared to go anywhere and willing to look after most animals except for reptiles or horses that got us our first sit and then 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. They are also far more rare.
Many properties are in outlying areas and a car is essential. Sometimes a car is included in the sit, but many require your own vehicle. In the UK which has a reasonable public transport system we have managed using buses and taxis and the odd pickup by the home owner.
There are many opportunities spread across the globe. House sitting in Europe in countries like Spain, France and Portugal as well as house sitting abroad in locations as spread out as Dubai, China, Costa Rica, Brazil, South Africa and Australia. With time periods from a weekend to yearlong.
We have loved the experience and we’ll definitely look for other opportunities in future. We have enjoyed staying in very different accommodation in very different 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.
On a mission to help others expand their horizons. Who knows where they can end? Passionate about learning and embracing the changing world. Adventurous and skeptical but optimistic!