House Sitting: Everything You Need To Know

This comprehensive resource is packed with everything you need to know to become a House Sitting expert. At over 3000 words it will take about 10-15 minutes to read but can change your travel life forever. You’ll learn how to land the best house sitting jobs in the world and even how to save more money traveling that you can at home. Are you ready? Let’s do this!….

Do you ever wish you could travel longer, never having to worry about coming home from a trip before you are ready?

Does it drive you crazy that you have to spend hundreds of dollars or thousands of dollars every month on rent or your mortgage when you’re trying to save money for your next trip?

One of the most expensive parts of traveling is accommodation. Hell, one of the most expensive parts of life is accommodation!

No matter what kind of lifestyle you have, you can’t get away from the fact that you need somewhere to lay your head at night.

But imagine if you could get a good night’s sleep every night without ever having to pay for the privilege again.

And imagine if you could combine this super cheap lifestyle with unlimited travel.

Can you imagine being able to actually save money while you’re traveling?

Well, good news. Because this lifestyle is very, very possible, thanks to a wonderful thing called house sitting.

From Penniless Travelers to House Sitting Pros

A few years ago, my good friends Nat Smith and Jodie Thompson were broke.House sitting abroad

They’d taken a chance on a business opportunity in Dubai and it hadn’t worked out. They were left with no credit cards, no savings, no jobs and only $300. They couldn’t even afford to pay their rent, let alone travel.

So they set out to find a way to get back on our feet. If only there was a way to avoid paying rent for a few months and spend some time working on building up a new business…

Somehow, on New Year’s Day of 2013, Jodie happened upon the perfect opportunity: house sitting. The couple spent the rest of the day viewing page after page of house sitting listings all over the world. Slowly it dawned on them that they’d stumbled upon something truly amazing – the possibility of a whole new life.

Pet sitter

It wasn’t long before they were boarding a plane to London where they were greeted by grateful homeowners and loving pets who were thrilled to welcome them into their home.

Since then, they’ve lived in dozens of luxurious homes in some of the world’s most desirable and expensive places. A country home in France, a modern apartment in London, an island house in Barbados, a mansion in Colorado, and a seaside resort in Greece – all these trips have all been made possible by house sitting.

They’ve now been house sitting non-stop for years, living for free, and seeing the world in the process. In fact, house sitting has enabled the couple to spend even less money than they’d have spent if they’d just been living at home in Australia. Read on to find out just how much money house sitting has saved them…

Taking advantage of house sitting opportunities

Want to Learn How to House Sit Your Way Around the World?

If Nat and Jodie’s lifestyle sounds like one you’d like for yourself, you’re in exactly the right place. In this comprehensive guide to international house sitting, I’m going to tell you exactly how you can become a house sitter, land the most exciting house sitting gigs in the best locations, and live a life of unlimited travel without spending a penny on accommodation.

Are you ready to find out how to travel the world and stay anywhere for free? Do you have a pen and piece of paper handy to jot down these instructions? Let’s get to it!

House Sitting

What is House Sitting and Can You Do it?

Before we get into the exact steps you’ll need to take to land the best house and pet sitting jobs, let’s pause (no pun intended!) to get clear on what house sitting is.

House Sitting Definition

House sitting is a mutually beneficial situation, in which a homeowner allows a house sitter to live in their home rent-free for a predetermined period of time, in exchange for the house sitter taking care of the home and any pets who live there.

It often goes hand-in-hand with pet sitting and cat or dog sitting.

House sitting opportunities

What Does House Sitting Involve?

Each house sitting job is different, but most gigs involve keeping the house safe, tidy, and in good condition until the homeowner returns. You may also have to look after some pets and do specific tasks, like maintaining the garden and cleaning the swimming pool. Usually the costs you incur for doing these tasks are covered by the homeowners.

Why Do Homeowners Need House Sitters?

Homeowners don’t want to leave their homes empty for a variety of reasons. They may have pets that need caring for. Maybe there’s a garden that needs tending to. Or perhaps they simply want to deter any criminals from vandalizing or burgling their home.

Whether they’re going on holiday, on a business trip, or temporarily moving to the other side of the world, homeowners need someone they can trust to look after their home.

Dog sitting

How Long do House Sitting Gigs Last?

House sitting jobs range in length. Some last for just a day or a weekend, whereas other can last for years. Most gigs are for a few weeks or months though.

Most house sitting jobs are arranged weeks or months before they start, but some do come up at short notice and some are assigned a year in advance.

Where Can You House Sit?

There are house sitting gigs all over the world. That said, most of them are in more developed countries, like the UK, the USA, Australia, and other European countries.

What are the Benefits of House Sitting?

House sitting is a win-win-win situation, because the homeowner gets peace of mind and the house sitter gets to live rent-free. But there are plenty of benefits besides the cheap cost of living. House sitting offers you the chance to:

  • Live in another country
  • Live like a local
  • Live in all kinds of homes, many of which you’d never be able to afford yourself
  • Spend time with animals
  • Help out other people
  • Make new friends and connections
  • Get paid (unlikely but possible!)

Cat sitting

Who Can House Sit?

House sitting is open to almost everyone. It can work particularly well for lots of people:

  • Independent and easy going travelers
  • Families looking for a large house to stay in while on holiday
  • Retired people
  • Digital nomads

As long as you’re able to get yourself to sits and pay for your food while you’re there, there’s no reason why you can’t become a house sitter. Of course, it’s best if you have an interest in animals and some basic home maintenance skills, but you can always pick these up.

You don’t need any kind of license to do this job, but you should check whether or not you’ll need a visa for any countries you plan to visit. You should only need a tourist visa as long as you’re not going to be doing any paid work while you’re out there.

If you plan to travel long term without a permanent base, you’ll need somewhere you can crash if you end up with empty time between sits. Of course, you could always couchsurf too.

Some homeowners are open to house sitters bringing their pets with them, so house sitting can be a practical way for pet owners to travel long term.

Pet sitting

Step-by-Step Guide to Landing the Best House Sitting Jobs Around

It’s time to get into the good stuff – the exact steps you need to take to become a house sitter and win the cushiest house sitting gigs going.

Step 1: Check House Sitting is Right for You

First things first, check in with yourself to make sure that house sitting is something you want to do. It’s easy to get carried away with the romantic notion of traveling the world for free and to forget that house sitting is a job.

House sitting isn’t a holiday. You can’t just kick back and go to the beach every day. You’ll be watering plants, cleaning swimming pools, walking dogs, mucking out horses, and who knows what else.

Each sit comes with a lot of responsibility. You’ll also be tied to one location, so you won’t be able to go swanning off to the nearest tourist attraction.

Ask yourself if this style of travel is really what you’re after. Are you willing to stay in one place for months at a time, clearing up dog crap, and living in someone else’s home?

If you’r not sure, try house sitting for someone you know. Ask your family, friends, and colleagues if they need someone to look after their pets for a while. Try it out and see how it goes.

House sitting duties

Step 2: Pick a House Sitting Site to Start with

House sitting sites are much like online dating sites. They enable homeowners and house sitters to connect and see if they’re a good match. You’ll create a profile and be able to search for house sitting assignments.

The majority of these platforms require a paid membership. This investment will likely pay for itself when you land your first gig.

Here are some of the best house sitting sites around:

Nomador (free or $89 per year)

NomadorNomador is on the way up! It’s growing really quickly and it’s a good place to start because it has a “Discovery Option” that lets you send three house sitting applications for free. Once you’ve done that, there’s a “Confidence Option” that costs $35 per quarter or $89 per year.

Nomador is big on trust and it uses a Trust Index system, to show homeowners how many checks have been carried out on each house sitter.

HouseSit Match (£34.80 or £58.50 per year)

HouseSit Match

HouseSit Match is growing too. It’s a UK-based platform that offers sits all over the world, although most of its sits are in Europe. There are two membership levels – Standard and Premium – and the staff are brilliant.

HouseCarers ($50 per year)

HouseCarers

HouseCarers is an Australia-based platform. It offers sits all over the world and it is generally considered one of the best sites out there, both in terms of the opportunities it offers and its usability. It’s also the oldest house sitting platform and it offers sits all over the world. It does offer a limit trial for guests, but to contact homeowners, you have to pay $50 per year.

MindMyHouse ($20 per year)

MindMyHouse

MindMyHouse is one of the best sites for housesitting gigs in Europe and particularly in the UK. The site is easy to use and it requires homeowners to answer questions about their sits that are really useful for sitters. This site costs $20 per year.

TrustedHousesitters (£79.20 per year)

TrustedHousesitters

TrustedHousesitters is another big house sitting site. It offers house sitting assignments all over the world, although many of them are in the UK. There’s a lot of competition on this site and you’ll have to shell out quite a bit too. It costs £79.20 per year.

Country-Specific House Sitting Platforms

There are also lots of house sitting sites that focus on particular parts of the world. If you know you want to house sit in a particular country, you might want to take a look at some of these:

USA:

UK:

Australia:

 

Travel the world

Step 3: Collect Some References

The next step is to collect some references that you can show to homeowners to prove your trustworthiness. It can take a while to get references back from those you ask, so it’s best to ask for them as soon as you can.

You may be worrying that you don’t have any house sitting experience. Well, don’t!

You don’t need to have any formal house sitting experience to get a house sitting reference. There are plenty of people who you can ask to vouch for your good character:

  • Neighbors, friends, or family members whose pets, plants, or houses you’ve looked after
  • Anyone who knows your pets, a vet, or pet trainer
  • Anyone who’s been to your house
  • Your landlord
  • Your boss
  • Your teacher or mentor

They key when asking for a house sitting reference is to think about what homeowners will be looking for in a house sitter. Make a list of the skills or qualities you think homeowners might be looking for and ask your referees to mention them.

Dog sitter

Step 4: Create Your Profile

Once you’ve sent out some reference requests, you can get to work on your profile. Your goal here is to convince homeowners that you have what it takes to look after their home and pets while they’re away.

If you want to land the best gigs, you’ll need to find a way to stand out from all the competition. Don’t worry. I’ve got plenty of ideas on how you can do that coming up.

In your profile you’ll want to include:

  • Photos of yourself and any pets
  • An attention-grabbing headline
  • A description of your skills and experiences
  • Your references

To make sure you present yourself in the best light possible, you might want to:

  • Include photos of you playing with or looking after any pets
  • Add a video that introduces you
  • Mention any relevant jobs in the headline
  • Include police or background checks

Add in information you think will show homeowners that you’re capable of looking after their home and pets.

Living rent free

Step 5: Choose Some Assignments

Next comes the fun part! Do some searches for the kinds of house sits you’re most interested in. You may want to consider:

  • Location
  • Date
  • Visa requirements
  • Responsibilities
  • Types of pets
  • Transport

It’s easy to get carried away with all the exotic locations that come up, but remember to be realistic.

Can you really afford to get yourself to that remote island by next week? Are you really willing to live in a village of a few hundred people for three months? You may like dog walking but are you up to walking six dogs every day?

Don’t worry if you don’t find the perfect gig right away. New ones come up every day. Make sure you’ve turned on email notifications and be flexible.

Looking after pets

Step 6: Apply

As soon as you see a gig you think you’d like, apply for it! Applications can come in thick and fast, particularly for the most exciting sits, so get yours in as soon as you can.

Your application will likely consist of an email to the homeowner, explaining why you’re the right person for the job and answering any questions they’ve asked in their ad.

Be sure to tailor your application to their exact requirements, highlighting any particularly relevant experience you have.

If the homeowner likes the sound of you, they may ask to interview you. This is your chance to really connect with them and get them to like and trust you.

House sitting around the world

Step 7: Accept!

If you’ve done a good job of communicating your skills to the homeowner, it shouldn’t be long before you land your first house sitting gig. Congratulations!

For more tips and advice on beating the competition, check out this podcast interview I did with Nat and Jodie.

Is House Sitting Your Key to the World?

For Nat and Jodie, house sitting started out as their ticket out of a bad business situation. It quickly turned into the most enjoyable, rewarding, and exciting lifestyle they could ever have dreamed of. 

House sitting has been their key to the world. It’s enabled them to hike through the jungles of Costa Rica, relax in peace on the Aegean Sea, soak up the culture in Italy, and wander through snow fields in Colorado.

Most people aren’t even aware that a life like this is possible, let alone that it costs the same as, if not less than, staying at home.

If Nat and Jodie had returned to Australia back in 2013, they’d have spent hundreds or thousands of dollars every month on rent. Instead, they’ve lived on just $55 USD each a week, saving over $20,000 on accommodation during their first two years alone.

Dog walking

This life is possible for you too. You’ve heard how it’s done and now it’s time to actually make it happen.

Below you’ll find a list of the best resources out there for making your house sitting dreams reality. Nat and Jodie have spent years perfecting their applications and learning what works and what doesn’t.

You can take a shortcut by following their advice and using their tried and tested tactics for securing the most exciting sits.

Your Shortcut to Free Accommodation

1: Zero to Travel Podcast: Travel the World and Stay Anywhere for FREE With International House Sitting

In this interview, Nat and Jodie share the inside secrets you need to launch your house sitting career, including:

  • How to create an email subject header that will grab homeowners’ attention
  • The perfect amount of time to commit to a house sit
  • The single most important part of choosing a house sitting job

2: Zero to Travel Podcast: Nat and Jodie on House Sitting Your Way around the World

This podcast episode was part of an online live cast designed to help you live, work, and travel anywhere in the world.

3: Zero to Travel Podcast: International House Sitting: Myths & Truths

The first episode in a five-part audio series offering house sitting services, this interview looks at:

  • The challenges that come with house sitting
  • What daily life as a house sitter is like

4: International House Sitting: How To Travel the World and Stay Anywhere, For FREE

In this definitive guide to international house sitting, Nat and Jodie reveal everything you need to start your own house sitting adventure.

You’ll learn inside strategies that will set you apart from the competition and give you the ability to stay for FREE in beautiful homes anywhere in the world.

The book goes into much more depth than this article, taking you through the Ten-C Confidence System that’ll take you from zero to sought-after house sitter.

The Best Way to Get Started

House Sitting

If, after reading this guide, you’re sure that house sitting abroad is the right thing for you and you want to know the best place to get started, look no further.

International House Sitting: How To Travel the World and Stay Anywhere, For FREE is the only guide you need to get started and land your first house sitting gig. It’ll save you years of trial and error.

Start house sitting around the world.

Get your copy now.

Housesitting in a cabin

My wife and I house sitting for a family friend in rural Norway.

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