House-sitting: Free long-term accommodation

housesitting in chicago

Last Updated on March 9, 2021

The first time we heard about house-sitting was in an article in England’s Guardian travel section. Right away we realized that this was a great way to get accommodation for a longer period of time – rent-free! Perfect for digital nomads like us.

Having ‘private’ accommodation offers various advantages to staying at hotels, B&B’s or hostels:

  • A fully equipped kitchen – making your own meals saves you a lot of money
  • Broadband internet – a secure internet connection which allows you to upload pictures, blog and work without problems or the sometimes shady atmosphere of an internet café
  • A washing machine – you are grateful to have one when you have a limited amount of clothes only
  • Live authentic – living like a local: getting to know neighbors, local supermarkets and cafes, neighborhoods off the beaten tourist tracks
  • Stay long-term – really getting to know a place rather than leaving after a week or two
  • Amenities such as a TV, a garden, king-size bed, a pool, etc. make long-term traveling so much more comfortable

So how does it work?

The house-sitters usually need someone to look after their house and property while they’re on vacation – this can range from a week up to six months or even longer. Mostly there are pets involved which is why they cannot leave their house alone. So it’s a good deal for both sides: the housesitters have a free place to stay and the homeowners get in return someone who is looking after their house and pets.

housesittingThere are numerous house-sitting websites, some are for specific countries only (like AussieHousesitters for Australia and New Zealand), others focus on luxury homes ( and there are websites that offer housesits around the entire globe, such as and (our favorite site / highest success rate). Once you’ve registered (for a small annual fee), you can set up daily email alerts with the newest house-sit ads in the areas you’re interested in.

We actually were looking for housesits in Central or South America, however, we ended up taking on a house-sit in Los Angeles for a week – when will we ever have the chance to stay for free in the middle of L.A.? – followed by another three-week house-sit in Arizona in June. Both places were not even on the list of places we wanted to go to during our travels, but that’s what makes it even more exciting – getting to places that we’d probably never had seen and taking opportunities as they arise, as long we’re not tied down to an apartment and 9-to-5 job.

So far, we came across house-sits in spectacular places such as the Fiji islands and an island off the coast of Brazil, a B&B sit in England, a rural farmhouse in Southern Spain, entire ranches including horses in Montana, a house in the Scottish Highlands – the list is endless. We hope to find more housesits on our route and can’t wait to see what places house-sitting will bring us to.

housesitting worldwide

Want to learn more about housesitting? We published our housesitting book ‘Break Free – The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting’ – now available on!

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Tags : Housesitting


  1. I’ve just started some long term travelling with my ladyfriend 😉 We’re 6 weeks in, currently in Mexico & headed to Europe in about 4 weeks. Excellent tip-off on the House-sitting sites! We will defo get registered! Thanks.

    1. We have recently moved to Melbourne. We actually used a few house sitter sites too including and

      It’s a great way to save money on rental or your mortgage.

      1. Thanks Phil – we’ll make sure to check these two sites out when we’ll visit Australia! We’re currently housesitting in Thailand and our next housesit in the U.S. is already lined up 🙂 Big fans of housesitting!

  2. We’ve jsut started looking for house sits for our travels through SE Asia and Europe… No luck yet, but I still have hope! How have you been faring?

    1. Hi Tiffany! We find it much easier to find housesits in Europe – just because there are so many more housesitting gigs. We come across very few housesitting opportunities in SE Asia, and we feel so lucky that we’ve scored to gigs here. You just have to keep trying – once you get one and get a good reference from the homeowners, it gets much easier.

  3. Brilliant advice and very helpful. We first heard about house and pet sitting in March this year and have been touring the UK ever since looking after some fabulous houses and gorgeous pets.

    We signed up with some of the major sites and have looked after a variety of dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, geese, fish, rabbits and more since then. Thus far, we’ve been to Cornwall, Cheltenham, Surrey, Lancashire, Somerset and the Chilterns, and are off to Hampshire and Essex next.

    As we run an online business from home, our only need is a decent WiFi service and this has the added benefit that any pets get lots of company. Most booking have come through the major sites but recently we developed our own site: so it will be interesting to see over the coming months whether we get any bookings via the new site or just have to rely on the main sites.

    Should have done this years ago! Thanks for the most helpful advice.

    1. Thanks, Brian and Lynn! I wanted to check out your website but the link led me to If you’d like to be featured in the interview series I run on, let me know – it sounds like you’ve had some interesting experiences!

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