Posted: 11/3/2022 | November third, 2022
Home sitting is among the finest methods to decrease your journey prices as a long-term traveler. That can assist you be taught extra about home sitting, our lead content material editor and researcher, Sam, shares her ideas and insights from years of touring the world as a home sitter.
For years, I lived the lifetime of many funds vacationers’ desires: touring full-time and dwelling rent-free in idyllic places, just like the US Virgin Islands; cosmopolitan cities, like NYC and London; vacationer sizzling spots, like Granada, Spain; and lots of off-the-beaten-path locations, just like the forests of North Carolina.
I stayed all over the place from luxurious condos with literal sizzling tubs on the roof to solar-powered properties with outside showers.
I acquired to hang around with the sweetest pets, from a cuddly kitten named Marshmallow to a hilarious parrot known as Sunshine.
I additionally made associates with locals around the globe, getting recommendations on the very best lesser-known locations to eat, and really dwelling like a resident in every vacation spot.
Once I paint this image to fellow avid vacationers, the quick response is, “What a dream life! How do I dwell like that?!”
The reply is to deal with sit.
Home sitting is whenever you maintain somebody’s pets and residential whereas they’re touring in change for lodging. No cash is exchanged between events, because it’s a mutually helpful association: you get a spot to remain for gratis, and the proprietor will get dwelling and pet care for gratis. (I keep away from utilizing the time period “free lodging,” because it implies that there’s no work concerned, which isn’t the case.)
Home sitting is gaining in reputation, but it surely’s nonetheless a little-known panorama for thus many vacationers. Whereas I’m often met with pleasure after I focus on this matter with people who find themselves not acquainted with it, that additionally usually comes hand in hand with skepticism — and understandably so. There are a number of variables to contemplate, and in case you’ve by no means met anybody who’s accomplished it earlier than, it may be straightforward to assume that it sounds too good to be true.
I’m right here to inform you that home sitting in an effort to journey at a decreased value is completely attainable. You’ll not solely take away most lodging bills (you would possibly nonetheless should pay for an evening right here and there, relying on how lengthy you’re on the highway), but additionally join with locals wherever you go (the folks for whom you’re home sitting), really feel a way of dwelling on the highway, and infrequently get different perks as nicely, like a automobile to make use of.
The one prerequisite is that you should love animals, as 99% of gigs contain pet care. But when you are able to do that, then you’re good to go!
On this submit, I’m going to point out you learn how to begin home sitting, so you may be taught in regards to the course of and see what’s required earlier than leaping in and giving it a attempt your self.
1. Decide your targets and preferences
At this level, you could be anxious to dive proper in, discover a gig, and hit the bottom working. However I promise that you simply’ll set your self up for a greater expertise in case you take a while to find out what you need to get out of home sitting.
Your targets will drastically affect the alternatives you make alongside your home sitting journey, and whether or not you stroll away with a optimistic expertise. (As a result of sure, like with something travel-related, there’s at all times the potential for issues to go improper — I’ll share learn how to reduce the probability of this taking place later.)
It’s just about a on condition that in case you’re thinking about home sitting, your purpose is to scale back your journey prices so to journey extra and/or longer.
However do you need to home sit solely domestically, or around the globe? Are you scoping out locations the place you would possibly finally buy a house, take a sabbatical, aspire to journey full-time, or just trying to scale back your prices on a weekend getaway?
These are all frequent causes. Take into consideration which of them apply to you.
For me, I needed to increase my travels for so long as attainable whereas freelance writing, rising my journey weblog and podcast, and seeing what it was prefer to dwell in other places around the globe. I couldn’t have accomplished any of this stuff with out home sitting, which lowered my prices so considerably (in spite of everything, lodging is often one’s largest journey expenditure) that I may hold touring regardless of not incomes a lot cash but.
Along with your targets, take into consideration your preferences. Do you are feeling extra snug with canine or cats? Do you favor the town or the countryside? Do you’ve gotten a great size of time that you simply need to spend in every place?
With the intention to work successfully on the highway whereas nonetheless attending to discover every place, I prioritized longer home sits (round 1–3 months). I additionally choose city environments the place I can discover on two toes or two wheels slightly than needing a automobile, so I primarily looked for gigs in cities.
These are just some variables that may allow you to slender down which alternatives you contemplate. You’ll additionally seemingly develop these preferences over time as you determine what works finest for you.
2. Join an internet site
In the event you’re severe about home sitting, your first order of enterprise is to join an internet site. These platforms join pet homeowners and home sitters to rearrange mutually helpful stays. They’re the best and most direct solution to begin.
Pet homeowners put up listings with their location, the dates they want a home sitter, their pets and kind of care wanted, any dwelling care wanted, and (ideally) photographs of their dwelling and pets. Potential home sitters create profiles itemizing their expertise, references, why they need to home sit, photographs, and every other particulars they need to embrace.
Home sitters reply to alternatives that they’re thinking about (pet homeowners can even attain out to deal with sitters privately), sparking a dialog which will finally result in each events coming to an settlement.
Most web sites function on a membership foundation, that means that members should pay a charge to be part of the group and to have the ability to organize gigs.
Many would-be home sitters balk on the concept of paying a yearly membership charge for these web sites. Isn’t home sitting presupposed to be free?
However when you concentrate on the amount of cash that you might save, it’s a no brainer. Even the costliest web site, TrustedHousesitters, nonetheless solely prices the equal of a few nights of lodging. You solely should do one keep per yr to recoup your prices, and likelihood is that you simply’ll be doing much more than that, at the same time as an occasional home sitter.
There are a selection of internet sites to select from, however the principle ones are these:
1. TrustedHousesitters.com (begins at $129 USD/yr) – That is the most important such web site worldwide, with 1000’s of lively listings throughout the globe. It began and is predicated within the UK, so that you’ll discover the best variety of gigs there, although Europe, the US, and Australia are additionally nicely represented. If you’re open to house-sitting wherever on the earth, that is the positioning to decide on. You may learn my assessment right here if you wish to be taught extra.
2. Nomador.com ($99 USD/yr) – Nomador facilities on alternatives in Europe (principally France), although you may as well generally discover some within the US and Australia too. There’s a free “Discovery” choice, so you may have a look at what’s out there, in addition to a “Stopovers” function, which is like Couchsurfing, so you will discover a spot to stick with members of the Nomador group between your gigs.
3. MindMyHouse.com ($20 USD/yr) – This web site has a low charge to hitch, a good variety of listings (primarily in North America and Europe), and a well-laid-out web site.
Along with the above web sites that cowl a number of international locations, there are additionally country-specific ones, corresponding to Home Sitters America, Home Sitters UK, Home Sitters Canada, and many others. In the event you’re solely thinking about home sitting in a specific locale, these web sites often have manner much less competitors than the larger gamers, making it simpler to get your first gig. Additionally they have decrease annual membership prices, making it a extra palatable alternative for getting your toes moist.
3. Create your profile
When you’ve signed up for an internet site, it’s time to create your profile. Above is an instance from my TrustedHousesitters account.
Your own home-sitting profile is like your résumé. That is the place pet homeowners look to be taught extra about you, and it’s important to element any and all pet-care expertise you’ve gotten. Have you ever accomplished any house- or pet-sitting for family and friends? Many individuals have seemed in on a neighbor’s cat whereas they have been away or taken a member of the family’s canine on walks.
Embody something you may to point out the breadth of your pet-care expertise (although in fact be trustworthy). Any related home-care expertise or different abilities (corresponding to in case you communicate one other language) are value mentioning right here as nicely.
You’ll additionally need to embrace a bit about your self, with details about why you need to home sit, what you prefer to spend time doing, and anything, in order to color a portrait of your self.
Lastly, select some photographs of you (ideally with pets) to spherical out your profile, in order that the homeowners can see who you’re!
4. Ask for references
Now that you simply’ve crammed out your profile, it’s time to hunt references to beef up your profile.
When you begin home sitting by these web sites, you’ll get “native” references exhibiting that the gig was organized by the web site, rising your belief issue for folks you would possibly home sit for sooner or later.
However most web sites additionally let you get “exterior” references to point out that you simply’re a reliable individual earlier than your first “official” gig. Ideally, you’ll have accomplished some sort of pet-sitting earlier than and may ask these people to supply a reference. However references can even come from work colleagues, a landlord, or anybody else that may communicate to your accountable character.
These references are key at first, as being vouched for generally is a highly effective belief indicator. Don’t skip this step!
5. Browse and apply for home sitting gigs
So that you’re all arrange together with your profile and references crammed out. Now comes the thrilling half: shopping for and making use of for gigs!
Spend a while wanting by the listings on the web site(s) you’ve joined. In the event you discover one which sounds good to you — and also you’re out there for the timeframe — don’t hesitate to use! Gigs, particularly in fascinating areas, can go in a short time, so don’t dawdle in case you’ve discovered one that you simply’re thinking about.
Keep in mind: An software shouldn’t be an settlement to deal with sit; it’s merely a press release of curiosity.
In your message to the pet proprietor, embrace a bit about why you’re , spotlight your related expertise, and point out that you simply’d like to arrange a time to talk additional in regards to the alternative. You don’t want to write down an essay right here, simply sufficient to pique their curiosity and have them have a look at your profile for extra info.
6. Organize a video chat
When you could be so excited to begin that you could be need to comply with a chance as quickly because it’s provided to you, don’t skip this essential step. In a fast video name, each events can ask questions to make sure that everyone seems to be on the identical web page and that the association is an efficient match.
As a home sitter, you’ll need to ask questions on pet and residential care to make sure which you can (and wish) to do it, in addition to the quick space round the home or condo, dwelling facilities (at all times ask about Wi-Fi!), and anything that you simply’re itching to know.
Each single time that I hear of a home sitting gig gone improper (whereas it’s uncommon, it does occur), it’s attributable to mismatched expectations that often may have been prevented with a direct and trustworthy preliminary dialog.
I completely by no means agree to deal with sit and not using a video name. It is a private alternative, and a few folks do forgo this step, but it surely has by no means steered me improper prior to now, and personally, I’d slightly be protected than sorry. A video name takes 20-Half-hour and does wonders for placing each events comfy — and getting excited in regards to the gig!
After years in a pandemic, we’re all acquainted (perhaps too acquainted) with Zoom as of late, so there may be (for my part) no purpose why each events shouldn’t be capable to sit down face-to-face for a short dialog.
Some issues that you simply would possibly need to ask within the video chat step above and/or main as much as the gig embrace the next:
- What’s the pet-care routine (e.g., when meals are, if walks are wanted, and many others.)?
- Are there any quirks in regards to the pets that you must learn about (e.g., for canine, how do they do on walks round different canine, and many others.)?
- Have they got a daily vet (and what’s the process, together with cost, if a pet must go)?
- What’s the neighborhood like?
- What are the pet homeowners’ departure and arrival instances? Do they need you to return the evening earlier than they depart or on the day of departure?
That is only a beginning checklist of some fundamentals, however in case you have particular wants or questions, remember to ask them. You don’t need to be left questioning and discovering out one thing essential after you get there.
7. Conform to the gig
Assuming all has gone nicely within the above steps, it’s time to agree to deal with sit!
Just remember to accomplish that by the web site that you simply’ve related on, for a few causes. Many web sites have safety that kicks in ought to one thing go improper, however provided that you’ve confirmed the gig by the web site.
Safety for home sitters and householders varies by web site (test the advantageous print of the one you join) however can embrace injury safety (you unintentionally drop an costly glass) and sit safety insurance coverage (which can assist cowl nightly pet care or lodging prices if the gig will get canceled on the final minute).
You’ll additionally need to have the ability to ask for on-platform references after you’ve efficiently accomplished the job. You may solely get these by confirming the gig by the house-sitting web site.
And as soon as all the pieces is confirmed, don’t hesitate to communicate. You probably have any extra questions or issues, ask them! Direct and trustworthy communication is essential to profitable home sitting, so don’t be shy.
8. Have a incredible time
Whereas home sitting is a giant accountability, bear in mind why you’re doing this within the first place — to discover a brand new place and have enjoyable!
That being stated, at all times honor your dedication. Don’t again out on the final minute since you discovered a extra glamorous gig elsewhere, you modified your journey plans on a whim or anything that’s not a authentic emergency.
If you wish to keep spontaneous on the highway, then home sitting isn’t an excellent choice — or a minimum of not on a regular basis. Whereas some vacationers do that full-time, the overwhelming majority don’t. Some nomads combine in durations of home sitting between different extra versatile lodging choices, whereas others aren’t nomadic in any respect and easily home sit to take pleasure in a special, extra reasonably priced manner of touring.
Discover out what works for you and create your personal superb journey fashion.
9. Observe up by asking for a assessment
After each gig (however particularly as you’re first getting began), don’t overlook to ask for a assessment.
It’s important to construct your portfolio of references, as this makes you a extra reliable and aggressive candidate for the following alternatives that you simply apply for. Give the parents you house-sat for a while to settle again in from their journey, and in the event that they haven’t submitted a assessment after every week, ship alongside a mild reminder that it’d be drastically appreciated if they may depart a fast assessment.
Most householders don’t understand how essential these critiques are to deal with sitters however are more than pleased to assist whenever you ask them for one.
10. Mirror, rinse, and repeat
Each gig is a studying expertise, and this goes double whenever you’re first beginning out. Take inventory of what labored and if there was something that didn’t. It will allow you to refine your method for the long run so to fortunately house-sit for so long as you need!
Home sitting might be an unbelievable solution to journey at a decreased value, make new associates (each human and furry), and see the world another way. Whereas it does include some planning and an excessive amount of accountability, the rewards might be large. With the following tips, you’ve already acquired a leg up.
Sam Anthony is a content material researcher and editor at Nomadic Matt. She is co-founder of Different Vacationers, a journey weblog targeted on different approaches to journey, and has co-authored two books: The Home Sitting Handbook: The right way to Dwell Your Dream Life By way of Home Sitting and The Madrid Vegan Guidebook. She’s based mostly in Buffalo, New York, and when she’s not touring can often be discovered both mountaineering or biking.
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