Posted: 11/3/2022 | November third, 2022
Home sitting is without doubt one of the greatest methods to decrease your journey prices as a long-term traveler. That can assist 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 funds vacationers’ desires: touring full-time and dwelling 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 properties with outside showers.
I received to hang around with the sweetest pets, from a cuddly kitten named Marshmallow to a hilarious parrot referred to as Sunshine.
I additionally made pals with locals world wide, getting recommendations on one of the 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 rapid response is, “What a dream life! How do I reside like that?!”
The reply is to deal with sit.
Home sitting is if you handle somebody’s pets and residential whereas they’re touring in alternate for lodging. No cash is exchanged between events, because it’s a mutually helpful association: you get a spot to remain for free of charge, and the proprietor will get dwelling and pet care for free of 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 thus many vacationers. Whereas I’m normally met with pleasure once I talk about this matter with people who find themselves not acquainted with it, that additionally typically comes hand in hand with skepticism — and understandably so. There are a whole lot of variables to think about, and in the event you’ve by no means met anybody who’s performed it earlier than, it may be simple to suppose that it sounds too good to be true.
I’m right here to let you know that home sitting with a view to journey at a diminished price is completely attainable. You’ll not solely take away most lodging bills (you may nonetheless must 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 individuals for whom you’re home sitting), really feel a way of dwelling on the highway, and infrequently get different perks as effectively, like a automobile to make use of.
The one prerequisite is that you need 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 publish, I’m going to indicate you tips on how to begin home sitting, so you may study 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 may be 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 in the event you take a while to find out what you wish to get out of home sitting.
Your targets will tremendously impression the alternatives you make alongside your own home sitting journey, and whether or not you stroll away with a constructive expertise. (As a result of sure, like with something travel-related, there’s at all times the potential for issues to go flawed — I’ll share tips on how to reduce the probability of this taking place later.)
It’s just about a provided that in the event you’re fascinated about home sitting, your purpose is to scale back your journey prices so to journey extra and/or longer.
However do you wish to home sit solely regionally, or world wide? Are you scoping out locations the place you may finally buy a house, take a sabbatical, aspire to journey full-time, or just seeking 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 potential whereas freelance writing, rising my journey weblog and podcast, and seeing what it was wish to reside elsewhere world wide. I couldn’t have performed any of these items with out home sitting, which lowered my prices so considerably (in spite of everything, lodging is normally 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’re feeling extra snug with canine or cats? Do you favor town or the countryside? Do you’ve got a super size of time that you simply wish to spend in every place?
With a view to work successfully on the highway whereas nonetheless attending to discover every place, I prioritized longer home sits (round 1–3 months). I additionally desire 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 assist you to slim down which alternatives you contemplate. You’ll additionally seemingly develop these preferences over time as you determine what works greatest for you.
2. Join a web site
In case you’re severe about home sitting, your first order of enterprise is to join a web site. These platforms join pet house owners and home sitters to rearrange mutually helpful stays. They’re the best and most direct strategy to begin.
Pet house owners 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) pictures of their dwelling and pets. Potential home sitters create profiles itemizing their expertise, references, why they wish to home sit, pictures, and every other particulars they wish to embrace.
Home sitters reply to alternatives that they’re fascinated about (pet house owners also can 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, which means that members should pay a payment to be part of the neighborhood 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 costliest web site, TrustedHousesitters, nonetheless solely prices the equal of a few nights of lodging. You solely must do one keep per yr 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 number 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 hundreds of energetic listings throughout the globe. It began and is predicated within the UK, so that you’ll discover the very best variety of gigs there, although Europe, the US, and Australia are additionally effectively represented. In case you are open to house-sitting anyplace on the planet, that is the location to decide on. You may learn my evaluation right here if you wish to study extra.
2. Nomador.com ($99 USD/yr) – Nomador facilities on alternatives in Europe (largely France), although it’s also possible to typically 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 could find a spot to stick with members of the Nomador neighborhood between your gigs.
3. MindMyHouse.com ($20 USD/yr) – 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 international locations, there are additionally country-specific ones, resembling Home Sitters America, Home Sitters UK, Home Sitters Canada, and so forth. In case you’re solely fascinated about home sitting in a selected locale, these web sites normally 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 selection for getting your toes moist.
3. Create your profile
When you’ve signed up for a web site, it’s time to create your profile. Above is an instance from my TrustedHousesitters account.
Your 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 got. Have you ever performed 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 may to indicate the breadth of your pet-care expertise (although in fact be trustworthy). Any related home-care expertise or different expertise (resembling in the event you converse one other language) are value mentioning right here as effectively.
You’ll additionally wish to embrace a bit about your self, with details about why you wish to home sit, what you wish 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, rising your belief issue for individuals you may home sit for sooner or later.
However most web sites additionally will let you get “exterior” references to indicate that you simply’re a reliable particular person earlier than your first “official” gig. Ideally, you’ll have performed some form of pet-sitting earlier than and may ask these of us to supply a reference. However references also can 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 along with your profile and references crammed out. Now comes the thrilling half: looking for and making use of for gigs!
Spend a while trying by means of the listings on the web site(s) you’ve joined. In case you discover one which sounds good to you — and also you’re out there for the time-frame — don’t hesitate to use! Gigs, particularly in fascinating areas, can go in a short time, so don’t dawdle in the event you’ve discovered one that you simply’re fascinated about.
Bear 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 speak additional in regards to the alternative. You don’t want to put in writing an essay right here, simply sufficient to pique their curiosity and have them have a look at your profile for extra data.
6. Prepare a video chat
Whilst you may be so excited to start out that you could be wish to conform to a chance as quickly because it’s supplied to you, don’t skip this necessary 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 wish to ask questions on pet and residential care to make sure which you can (and wish) to do it, in addition to the rapid space round the home or condominium, dwelling 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 home sitting gig gone flawed (whereas it’s uncommon, it does occur), it’s attributable to mismatched expectations that normally may have been averted with a direct and trustworthy preliminary dialog.
I completely by no means agree to deal with sit with out a video name. It is a private selection, and a few individuals do forgo this step, nevertheless it has by no means steered me flawed up to now, and personally, I’d slightly be secure 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 (possibly too acquainted) with Zoom today, so there’s (for my part) no purpose why each events shouldn’t be capable of sit down face-to-face for a quick dialog.
Some issues that you simply may wish 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 so forth.)?
- Are there any quirks in regards to the pets that it is best to learn about (e.g., for canine, how do they do on walks round different canine, and so forth.)?
- 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 instances? Do they need you to come back the evening earlier than they depart or on the day of departure?
That is only a beginning checklist of some fundamentals, however when you have particular wants or questions, you should definitely ask them. You don’t wish to be left questioning and discovering out one thing necessary after you get there.
7. Comply with the gig
Assuming all has gone effectively within the above steps, it’s time to agree to deal with sit!
Just remember to 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 flawed, however provided that you’ve confirmed the gig by means of the web site.
Safety for home sitters and householders varies by web site (test the positive print of the one you join) however can embrace harm safety (you by accident drop an costly glass) and sit safety insurance coverage (which will 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 every thing is confirmed, don’t hesitate to communicate. When you’ve got any further questions or considerations, ask them! Direct and trustworthy communication is vital to profitable home sitting, so don’t be shy.
8. Have a incredible time
Whereas home sitting is a giant duty, bear 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 some other place, 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 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 intervals of home sitting between different extra versatile lodging choices, whereas others aren’t nomadic in any respect and easily home sit to get pleasure from a unique, extra reasonably priced approach of touring.
Discover out what works for you and create your individual perfect journey model.
9. Comply with up by asking for a evaluation
After each gig (however particularly as you’re first getting began), don’t overlook to ask for a evaluation.
It’s important to construct your portfolio of references, as this makes you a extra reliable and aggressive candidate for the subsequent 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 evaluation after per week, ship alongside a delicate reminder that it’d be tremendously appreciated if they may depart a fast evaluation.
Most owners don’t understand how necessary these evaluations 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 strategy for the long run so to fortunately house-sit for so long as you need!
Home sitting may be an unbelievable strategy to journey at a diminished price, make new pals (each human and furry), and see the world otherwise. Whereas it does include some planning and quite a lot of duty, the rewards may be large. With the following pointers, you’ve already received a leg up.
Completely happy house-sitting!
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: Tips on how to Reside Your Dream Life By Home Sitting and The Madrid Vegan Guidebook. She’s primarily based in Buffalo, New York, and when she’s not touring can normally be discovered both mountaineering or biking.
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