Why I think everyone who loves travel should get started with housesitting
Housesitting is one of the main travel tools that has allowed me to travel non-stop since 2010.
It’s saved me more (probably a lot more, but let’s be conservative) over $20,000 in accommodation costs alone.
Yet when I talk to people, many of them have never even heard of housesitting!
It might still be off most people’s radars, but if you’re here, then you probably love travel. And if you love traveling, we want you to seriously consider housesitting.
Put simply housesitting allows you to:
- Travel the world
- Live like a local
- Feel right at home
Plus, you stay for free in a house or condo that is likely bigger and better than any hotel suite (except for Necker Island. Richard Branson still probably has you beat).
Staying in hotels and hostels can quickly eat through your budget. Vacation apartment rentals can cut costs if you’re staying a bit longer term but even then you’re still paying an inflated monthly rent to live somewhere with only the bare minimum in terms of comfort and supplies.
When you housesit, you live in someone’s house, with access to all its facilities, in exchange for keeping the house – and usually their pets – safe and happy while living like a local in a new neighborhood in a different city/country/continent!
Even though this is still an underground idea, there are thousands of people out there housesitting already. Read our post on Dream Housesits Around the World for mouthwatering examples.
When I talk to most people about our love of housesitting, I get loads of questions, like…
How do I find a housesit?
I usually find my housesitting gigs on these websites (they all offer housesits worldwide):
I found housesitting gigs in Canada, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and the U.S. on Housecarers.com. There are loads of new housesits posted by homeowners daily, mainly for the U.S. and Australia, followed by Canada, New Zealand and the rest are housesits from around the world. The sign-up fee for housesitters is US$50 and in our opinion very well worth it.
I’ve found housesitting gigs in Italy, NYC, Germany and Malaysia on Mindmyhouse.com. The site is a great source for housesitting in Europe, but there are also plenty of participation in the U.S. and Canada. At only US$20 per year, it is the cheapest housesitting service on the web and well worth signing up!
I have found one of my best housesits ever on this site in Santiago, Chile, and I’ve gotten most of my NYC housesits thanks to TrustedHousesitters. The site has housesits primarily in the UK and Europe, but the owners are dedicated to expanding not only in the U.S., Canada and Australia and New Zealand, but also through South America and Asia as well. Membership for housesitters is US$99 and the same for homeowners, but the features on the site make it easily the most modern of all housesitting websites out there. It’s very user-friendly and has even room for video in the profile.
Note: If you sign up for TrustedHousesitters using this link with my referral code, you’ll get a 20 % discount off your membership fee!
Nomador is a new kid on the housesitting block, only on the market since 2014, but quickly becoming one of my favorite housesitting services. Some of my favorite housesits on the site include three weeks in New Orleans, a cat sit on the Cote d’Azur, a house in Tanzania (!) and a jungle home in Iquitos, Peru’s gateway to the Amazon! A huge benefit of the site: You don’t have to commit to a membership right away, you get to send 3 applications without paying for a membership!
Just signing up to one or more of these websites (I am signed up with four) does not guarantee you to actually get a housesit.
This makes the next question:
How do I actually get chosen for a housesit?
First of all, make sure your user profile is filled out in detail, along with a catchy headline, a good picture of you and as much information about you and your experience with pets or previous housesit.
You can read how to set up the perfect housesitting profile here.
Four steps to getting chosen for a housesit
1. Set up email alerts
You’ll get an email summary every day of new housesitting assignments, so you can be one of the first to apply if one sounds perfect to you.
2. Apply right away
If a housesit sounds amazing, exotic, or absolutely perfect, you have to realize that you are not the only one who will apply. In fact, hundreds of people might – say for a beach housesit in Bali or a New York condo in the summer. Homeowners get bombarded by applications sometimes, so you want ot be one of the first to apply when they still have energy, not in the middle of the pack when they are feeling overwhelmed.
3. Write a detailed and personalized application
The more information the homeowners have about you up front, the faster they can add you to their shortlist. If you have experience housesitting in a similar climate or the same breed of dog as theirs, make that clear! We focus on what we can do for them and why I am the best choice to meet their needs, not what they do for me by letting me stay at their house.
4. Include your references right away
Rather than end your application with ‘References available on request’ just include a few right away. That allows homeowners to already be in touch with your references while they are waiting for the other shortlist candidates to send theirs through. Plus it shows your confidence in your previous experience.
Other questions we get include:
What if I have no experience housesitting? How do I get references?
I own a home: How do I find the right housesitter?
Why do people housesit for free?
What is it like to live in somebody else’s home?
How do I prepare for a housesitter?
and hundreds of others.
I can talk anyone’s ear off about housesitting, like in these posts:
- Adventures in housesitting in New York City
- Housesitting in New York, a dream come true
- Notes from the Beach House, Week One – Mexico
- Notes from the Beach House, Week Three – Mexico
- Notes from the Beach House, Earthquake Edition – Costa Rica
Plus, I have a dedicated housesitting website: Ultimate Housesitting Guide. Here I profile fellow housesitters and their experiences and give loads of specific information like you see here, in even more detail!
But if you want to find everything all in one place, I put it all down in Jess’ and my in-depth book.
Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting
Break Free is truly the ultimate guide, over 120 pages packed with everything you will ever need on housesitting!
For housesitters, the book takes you step-by-step through the entire process, from what websites to sign up to all the way through to the day the homeowners return from their trip.
If you are a homeowner, this book dedicates an entire section to how to pick the right housesitter and includes checklists for making sure you cover everything they need to know before you leave.
The book also includes real world samples to model all your communication after. For example:
- A sample profile that catches a homeowner’s attention
- A sample application letter for experienced an inexperienced housesitters
- A sample ad for homeowners to find the right housesitter
- A sample checklist for homeowners
- A sample checklist for housesitters
- An in-depth comparison of the above mentioned housesitting websites
- An exclusive 20% discount for a membership to TrustedHousesitters.com
Plus I share loads of personal stories from my own housesitting experiences so you can get an inside look at what housesitting is really all about.
Download our over 120 page book on housesitting, packed with pictures and three bonus print-outs that will ensure you a successful housesitting experience, plus a 20% discount to one of the world’s top housesitting websites for $8.99 right here.
You can pick up a Kindle version for $9.99 on Amazon (same great 20% discount, but no print-out bonuses) so you can read it on the go.
Or, watch our beautiful book trailer to get a much better idea of why housesitting will improve your travel style, plus find out much more about Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting!!
What readers say…
I was overwhelmed by the throughout positive feedback I have received from readers of Break Free so far. Here are some of the reviews the book has gotten on Amazon.com:
Break Free really deserves its subtitle as the ultimate guide to housesitting. It answers every question or concern you could possibly have about housesitting–both from a sitters and a homeowner’s perspective. – Erin
House sitting locally means we are still in the local area but we now get to come home each day to two wonderful dogs who are so happy to see us. We are really looking forward to enjoying different suburbs that we would never live in and are able to save more towards the trip, which keeps getting longer! Thank you for the book and sharing your ideas and inspiration, it has truly made a difference to us. – Lou
The book is full of practical information like what questions homeowners and housesitters should ask each other before committing and during the “handover.” – Kate
Break Free is a comprehensive guide that will tell you everything you could want to know about house-sitting. – Tina
Break Free was exactly what I wanted in the housesitting guide–and then it went beyond and offered information and samples beyond what I expected. When I read Break Free, I loved how the book took me patiently through every step of the process (steps that were more painless than I had been imagining), and detailed the how and why of each part of the process. Then, they added in personal anecdotes, stories and photos throughout the book in just the right dose to keep the material engaging and interesting alongside all of the information they manage to pack into the guide. – Shannon
Find out what they’re all raving about. Get started with housesitting today!