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 will help you study 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 price range vacationers’ goals: touring full-time and residing rent-free in idyllic areas, 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 in all places from luxurious condos with literal sizzling tubs on the roof to solar-powered houses with out of doors showers.
I bought to hang around with the sweetest pets, from a cuddly kitten named Marshmallow to a hilarious parrot known as Sunshine.
I additionally made pals with locals around the globe, getting tips about the perfect lesser-known locations to eat, and really residing like a resident in every vacation spot.
After I paint this image to fellow avid vacationers, the instant response is, “What a dream life! How do I reside like that?!”
The reply is to deal with sit.
Home sitting is if you deal with somebody’s pets and residential whereas they’re touring in alternate for lodging. No cash is exchanged between events, because it’s a mutually useful association: you get a spot to remain without charge, and the proprietor will get residence and pet care without charge. (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, nevertheless it’s nonetheless a little-known panorama for therefore many vacationers. Whereas I’m often met with pleasure once I focus on this matter with people who find themselves not aware of it, that additionally typically comes hand in hand with skepticism — and understandably so. There are quite a lot of variables to think about, and should you’ve by no means met anybody who’s finished it earlier than, it may be simple to assume that it sounds too good to be true.
I’m right here to inform you that home sitting so as to journey at a decreased price is totally attainable. You’ll not solely take away most lodging bills (you may nonetheless should pay for an evening right here and there, relying on how lengthy you’re on the highway), but in addition join with locals wherever you go (the individuals for whom you’re home sitting), really feel a way of residence on the highway, and sometimes get different perks as nicely, like a car to make use of.
The one prerequisite is that it’s essential to 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 put up, I’m going to indicate you tips on how to begin home sitting, so you’ll be able to study in regards to the course of and see what’s required earlier than leaping in and giving it a strive your self.
1. Decide your targets and preferences
At this level, you is perhaps anxious to dive proper in, discover a gig, and hit the bottom operating. However I promise that you simply’ll set your self up for a greater expertise should you take a while to find out what you need to get out of home sitting.
Your targets will vastly influence 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 fallacious — I’ll share tips on how to decrease the chance of this taking place later.)
It’s just about a provided that should you’re fascinated by home sitting, your aim is to cut back your journey prices as a way to journey extra and/or longer.
However do you need to home sit solely regionally, or around the globe? Are you scoping out locations the place you may ultimately 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 wished to increase my travels for so long as doable whereas freelance writing, rising my journey weblog and podcast, and seeing what it was prefer to reside in other places around the globe. I couldn’t have finished any of this stuff with out home sitting, which lowered my prices so considerably (in spite of everything, lodging is often one’s greatest journey expenditure) that I may preserve 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 like the town or the countryside? Do you’ve an excellent size of time that you simply need to spend in every place?
As a way 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 relatively than needing a car, so I primarily looked for gigs in cities.
These are only a few variables that may assist 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
When you’re critical about home sitting, your first order of enterprise is to join an internet site. These platforms join pet house owners and home sitters to rearrange mutually useful stays. They’re the best and most direct approach to begin.
Pet house owners put up listings with their location, the dates they want a home sitter, their pets and sort of care wanted, any residence care wanted, and (ideally) pictures of their residence and pets. Potential home sitters create profiles itemizing their expertise, references, why they need to home sit, pictures, and some other particulars they need to embody.
Home sitters reply to alternatives that they’re fascinated by (pet house owners may also attain out to deal with sitters privately), sparking a dialog which will ultimately result in each events coming to an settlement.
Most web sites function on a membership foundation, that means that members should pay a payment to be part of the group and to have the ability to organize gigs.
Many would-be home sitters balk on the thought of paying a yearly membership payment for these web sites. Isn’t home sitting purported to be free?
However when you concentrate on the amount of cash that you may save, it’s a no brainer. Even the most costly web site, TrustedHousesitters, nonetheless solely prices the equal of a few nights of lodging. You solely should do one keep per 12 months to recoup your prices, and chances are high that you simply’ll be doing much more than that, whilst 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/12 months) – 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. In case you are open to house-sitting wherever on this planet, that is the positioning to decide on. You can read my review here if you want to learn more.
2. Nomador.com ($99 USD/12 months) – Nomador facilities on alternatives in Europe (principally France), although you can too typically discover some within the US and Australia too. There’s a free “Discovery” possibility, so you’ll be able to take a look at what’s accessible, in addition to a “Stopovers” characteristic, 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/12 months) – This website has a low payment to affix, 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 nations, there are additionally country-specific ones, akin to Home Sitters America, Home Sitters UK, Home Sitters Canada, and so on. When you’re solely fascinated by home sitting in a specific locale, these web sites often have approach much less competitors than the larger gamers, making it simpler to get your first gig. In addition 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 house owners look to study extra about you, and it’s important to element any and all pet-care expertise you’ve. Have you ever finished any house- or pet-sitting for family and friends? Many individuals have appeared in on a neighbor’s cat whereas they have been away or taken a member of the family’s canine on walks.
Embrace something you’ll be able to to indicate the breadth of your pet-care expertise (although in fact be trustworthy). Any related home-care expertise or different abilities (akin to should you converse one other language) are price mentioning right here as nicely.
You’ll additionally need to embody a bit about your self, with details about why you need to home sit, what you prefer to spend time doing, and the rest, in order to color a portrait of your self.
Lastly, select some pictures of you (ideally with pets) to spherical out your profile, in order that the house owners 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 means of these web sites, you’ll get “native” references displaying that the gig was organized by means of the web site, growing your belief issue for individuals you may home sit for sooner or later.
However most web sites additionally assist you to get “exterior” references to indicate that you simply’re a reliable particular person earlier than your first “official” gig. Ideally, you’ll have finished some type of pet-sitting earlier than and may ask these people to supply a reference. However references may also come from work colleagues, a landlord, or anybody else that may converse to your accountable character.
These references are key at first, as being vouched for is usually 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: looking for and making use of for gigs!
Spend a while wanting by means of the listings on the web site(s) you’ve joined. When you discover one which sounds good to you — and also you’re accessible for the timeframe — don’t hesitate to use! Gigs, particularly in fascinating areas, can go in a short time, so don’t dawdle should you’ve discovered one that you simply’re fascinated by.
Bear in mind: An utility just isn’t an settlement to deal with sit; it’s merely a press release of curiosity.
In your message to the pet proprietor, embody 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 take a look at your profile for extra data.
6. Organize a video chat
Whilst you is perhaps so excited to begin that you could be need to conform to a possibility as quickly because it’s supplied 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 effective match.
As a home sitter, you’ll need to ask questions on pet and residential care to make sure which you could (and wish) to do it, in addition to the instant space round the home or condominium, residence facilities (at all times ask about Wi-Fi!), and the rest that you simply’re itching to know.
Each single time that I hear of a house sitting gig gone wrong (whereas it’s uncommon, it does occur), it’s as a result of 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 with no video name. This can be a private alternative, and a few individuals do forgo this step, nevertheless it has by no means steered me fallacious previously, and personally, I’d relatively be protected than sorry. A video name takes 20-Half-hour and does wonders for placing each events comfortable — and getting excited in regards to the gig!
After years in a pandemic, we’re all acquainted (perhaps too acquainted) with Zoom nowadays, so there’s (in my view) no purpose why each events shouldn’t be capable to sit down face-to-face for a short dialog.
Some issues that you simply may need to ask within the video chat step above and/or main as much as the gig embody the next:
- What’s the pet-care routine (e.g., when meals are, if walks are wanted, and so on.)?
- Are there any quirks in regards to the pets that it’s best to learn about (e.g., for canine, how do they do on walks round different canine, and so on.)?
- 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 house owners’ departure and arrival occasions? Do they need you to return the night time earlier than they depart or on the day of departure?
That is only a beginning record of some fundamentals, however in case you have particular wants or questions, you’ll want to ask them. You don’t need to be left questioning and discovering out one thing essential after you get there.
7. Comply with the gig
Assuming all has gone nicely within the above steps, it’s time to agree to deal with sit!
Just be sure you achieve this by means of the web site that you simply’ve linked on, for a few causes. Many web sites have safety that kicks in ought to one thing go fallacious, however provided that you’ve confirmed the gig by means of the web site.
Safety for home sitters and householders varies by web site (examine the positive print of the one you join) however can embody harm safety (you by chance drop an costly glass) and sit safety insurance coverage (which might help 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 means of the house-sitting web site.
And as soon as all the things is confirmed, don’t hesitate to communicate. In case you have any further questions or issues, ask them! Direct and trustworthy communication is essential to profitable home sitting, so don’t be shy.
8. Have a unbelievable time
Whereas home sitting is an enormous duty, keep in mind why you’re doing this within the first place — to discover a brand new place and have enjoyable!
That being mentioned, at all times honor your dedication. Don’t again out on the final minute since you discovered a extra glamorous gig someplace else, you modified your journey plans on a whim or the rest that’s not a authentic emergency.
If you wish to keep spontaneous on the highway, then home sitting isn’t a great possibility — 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 inexpensive approach of touring.
Discover out what works for you and create your personal very best journey type.
9. Comply with up by asking for a overview
After each gig (however particularly as you’re first getting began), don’t neglect to ask for a overview.
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 oldsters you house-sat for a while to settle again in from their journey, and in the event that they haven’t submitted a overview after per week, ship alongside a delicate reminder that it’d be vastly appreciated if they may depart a fast overview.
Most householders don’t notice how essential these opinions are to deal with sitters however are more than pleased to assist if you ask them for one.
10. Replicate, rinse, and repeat
Each gig is a studying expertise, and this goes double if you’re first beginning out. Take inventory of what labored and if there was something that didn’t. This can assist you to refine your method for the longer term as a way to fortunately house-sit for so long as you need!
Home sitting may be an unimaginable approach to journey at a decreased price, make new pals (each human and furry), and see the world otherwise. Whereas it does include some planning and a substantial amount of duty, the rewards may be enormous. With the following pointers, you’ve already bought 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 House Sitting Handbook: How to Live Your Dream Life Through House Sitting and The Madrid Vegan Guidebook. She’s primarily based in Buffalo, New York, and when she’s not touring can often be discovered both mountaineering or biking.
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