Having a life of travel? That’s certainly a dream life that most people have. While travelling will cost you money, you can also do it with less money. Usually, the one thing that will take most of your money is accommodation. Now, you can get it for free in exchange for sitting houses.
A house sitter called Maureen Murphy has travelled to awesome places without having to worry about the cost for a place to stay. She said, “I milked a cow in the Blue Mountains in New South Wales. I snorkeled the Great Barrier Reef. I got soaking wet in Cape Tribulation,”
“I saw the penguins on Phillips Island and took a helicopter tour above the Twelve Apostles. I watched the fireworks from a boat in the harbor near the opera house on New Years Eve in Sydney,” she recalls. “In New Zealand I have sat in hot pools in Rotarua, picked kiwis and heard bagpipes in Dunedin.”
What is it?
So what is house sitting exactly? It means that you’re looking after somebody’s house and take care the living things in it while they’re away. Usually, people look for house sitter because they have pets or plants that need some attention.
Sometimes, homeowners don’t want to give their pets to boarding kennels, the price gets doubled or their pets are not popular like alpacas, cows, birds, or reptiles. The homeowner might also need someone to collect mail, burglar deterrent, or simply make sure things don’t go wrong.
When you house sit, you’re going to need to scoop out and clean the litter box, walking the dog and let them do “the business” (and clean it afterwards), water the plants, and even milk a cow. There are times that caring for pets is not hard, but other times it’s the other way around.
Murphy said that she once had to take care of two cats that had to be walked twice a day. In Queensland, she had to cook medium rare filet mignon for the dog every day. And in New South Wales, she had to milk a cow and give it to the homeowner’s six dogs.
If you do plan to house sit, you have to note down that your days won’t be all about trips and fun. You have to remember about your duties as well and you need to follow a certain schedule. This includes waking up early to take dogs on a morning walk and making sure that you feed the cats at the same time each day.
If you’ve ever travelled to popular places like Western Europe or North America, then you’ll know that those places are not cheap, particularly the cost of accommodation. This will make long-term holiday unaffordable, and great vacation usually takes more than 1 week. House sitting will take away this problem and you’ll get so much more from it.
Adorable pets to take care of and love? Check. Unforgettable travel experience? Check. Spending your days like the locals and live around the hood? Check. At times, you can be invited to local festival and you’ll have the utmost fun that you might not get when you choose to stay in hotels, hostels, or other accommodations.
Back then, this kind of holiday wasn’t popular so it wasn’t easy to get it. But now, you can get house sitting jobs through websites like TrustedHousesitters.com. It has members from more than 130 countries, and it’s one of the most trusted sites to get such jobs (or find sitters).
Getting house sitting jobs
If you’re going to luxurious locations or expensive cities such as London and New York, then you might expect to find the jobs as little as few hours. You can keep track through twitter or email, but often times, it’s all about who’s the fastest first.
What you can do to get it is by signing up for real-time alerts. As soon as homeowners post the job on the site, you’re going to get alerts. If you only sign up for daily email alert, you’re going to know about it 23 hours after it’s posted. By that time, the job might have been gone. When you find a dream house to sit, be sure to get the real time alerts. Make sure your internet connection is fast too.
The don’ts and dos
Of course, there are things that you should and shouldn’t do when you’re house sitting. After all, you want to build good relationships with people whose house you’re going to sit (or have sat before). This will be advantageous for you, as the chance to be invited back for repeat house sits will be bigger.
What you should do is fill out your profile in advance. Give as many photos as possible, particularly the ones with pets. Write a good description of yourself and write down as many references as possible. If you’re new and you haven’t done this before, you can write down references from landlords, previous employers, or character references. It will certainly make you more credible.
But don’t forget to be concise with your writing. Remember that you’re not submitting an essay. Just think of how similar this is to making a job resume / resume maker and the homeowner is your future boss. You want to make your email with as few words as possible and mention why you’re the right person to sit his/her house.
Homeowners will have a lot of candidates and a lot of emails and for sure, they will try to make a shortlist of the best people. Make sure that you stand out to be in that shortlist. If you’re just starting out, it’s never wrong to do it locally and build up your reputation from there.
“Building up your profile and providing 5-star care gives you a greater chance of securing those dream sits. Many sitters love to just house and pet sit locally though because it gives them the opportunity to explore a new part of their local area,” said TrustedHousesitter spokesman Liam Beauchamp-Jones.
What you shouldn’t do is overselling. If you wouldn’t do it when you’re applying for a job, then you wouldn’t do it for house sitting, too. Don’t tell the homeowners that you’re an apt gardener and you have great handiness skill if you’re not in reality. If the assignment doesn’t call for these skills, you shouldn’t write that down either.
Another thing you should never do: give up. There are times that you won’t get accepted into the house sitting job. But like any other job seeking stories, you can’t let that get on your head and give up. There are plenty of other chances that you should try and you can focus on getting experience and references before trying to apply for the dream location or dream house.
So now you know how to travel the world with free accommodations. Do you have a specific place that you want to go and house sit? Tell us in the comments below. Make sure to read this article to find out sustainable vacation places for your next holiday!