Friday, 25 May 2018

Want To Travel The World For Free And Love Pets? Then Consider House Sitting

Want to travel the world, but have a limited budget, then why not consider house sitting? 

Mr W and I love to explore the world, and as travel bloggers with two blogs, this one and Fly Drive Explore we need to create content all the time. We've been lucky enough to go on a number of press trips, but we still pay for a lot of trips ourselves. So when we were looking into ways of travelling recently without paying a fortune we came across the concept of house sitting.

House sitting, is what it says it is, you basically sit someones home when they go away. Most house sits also include looking after pets as well. 



Benefits

There are many benefits to house sitting for both parties.

1. Someone is living in the house so it's great for security.
2. Pets are looked after and kept company.
3. Saves money for the homeowner on kennels fees.
4. Agreements can be made to water plants for example. 
5. House sitters get to travel and stay in accommodation for free.
6. If you are a pet lover it's a great way to travel and look after different animals without the constraints of having a pet yourself.
7. You get to stay in someones home, so have more space than a hotel and an authentic local experience. 

How to become a house sitter




There are a number of sites for house sitting. The majority expect you to look after a home and one or more pets. Some popular ones are below. There are a few that offer professional house sitting for a fee but I do not have experience of these. 

Trusted Housesitters - many listings, one of the most popular sites. Free to browse and costs house sitters £89 a year. If you sign up with my link you get 20% off and I get two months free!
Nomador - Free to apply for three house sits, 65 Euros for the year.
House Sitters UK -UK specific, costs house sitters £20 a year.

What you need to do



Each site is different but there are some processes that are common and that you need to do. 

After signing up which some will let you do for free with limited access, you need to create a profile. House sits are built on trust. so it's important in your profile that you show your personality, that you come across as trustworthy, have experience with animals and are generally a nice person.

Ensure you mention any previous experience of house and pet sitting and if you have had pets yourself. It's good to mention any jobs that show how responsible you are, for example, if you have been a teacher or nurse.  If you have had a CRB (Criminal Records Bureau) check its also worth mentioning this, as this can help reassure the owners. Upload photos of yourself and photos of you with pets. If you can get a character reference or a reference from a previous house sit this will all help and should be mentioned in your profile.

Some sites will allow you to select animals you are confident in looking after and these can be added to your profile. 

Once you create your profile then all you need to do is search for a house sit.  If you want to get full access then pay the subscription charge and apply for your first house sit.

Our experience with Trusted Housesitters



I decided to sign up with Trusted Housesitters because they seemed like a professional company, they appear to be the largest and have the widest selection of house sits available at any time. 

After creating a profile, emphasising how trustworthy we were and our experience with animals, I signed up for full membership. Trusted Housesitters have three levels of verification - Basic, Standard and Enhanced.

For a basic level, you need to provide an email address, phone number, and an external reference. My friend gave me a character reference and mentioned the fact that I had house sat for her and looked after her animals when she was away.

To get to the standard level of verification, you need to complete a document check, which can be done online through the site and doesn't cost anything. A passport or driving licence or an identity card is needed for this. 

To get to the enhanced level of verification you need a CRB check, and this can be done again through the site. The cost for this is £100. 

We have both had CRB checks in the past so decided not to go ahead with an updated one. I think housesitting relies on trust on both sides, and a CRB check doesn't really tell you how trustworthy a person is, how responsible and how good they are at looking after your home and your pets. Also, of course, there are the cost implications so we decided to see if we could get a house sit without one.

So we applied for a house sit and waited. After a couple of days, I thought that we didn't have a chance as we hadn't heard anything and applied for another house sit but got turned down as they had already found someone. All was not lost, however, as the original house sit I applied for got back to us and asked to speak to me on the phone.  After a phone call and a chat with the owner, we were pleased to be offered it, our first house sit!

Our first house sit was in the beautiful Cotswolds, in a gorgeous grade 1 listed house. The owners were lovely and really laid back. We looked after two dogs, one older dog and a younger one under a year old. We really enjoyed our time exploring the area and the dogs were so loving but not without their challenges, however, we came through generally unscathed!

Some things to consider




Make sure you have some sort of house sitting agreement in place. On Trusted Housesitters the owners can create a welcome pack, with all the important information on and this is essential. There is a lot of information you will need, about the home and the animals and this should be written down so there are no misunderstandings. When you get to the home I recommend you spend some time with the owners to run through everything and ask any questions you have.

House sitting is an exchange of services. You will be expected to keep the home tidy, maybe water the odd plant or two as well, and feed any small pets like gerbils, and goldfish.   It's not just restricted to dogs and cats and small animals though, I've seen donkeys, alpacas and lizards for example. Some may even leave bikes and cars for you to use. Make sure you are covered by the insurance and are aware of any terms on using them.

On leaving it's an unwritten rule to leave a gift, such as a bottle of wine, maybe get some basic food in for their return like bread and milk and leave the home clean. Don't forget you want a glowing reference from the homeowners so you can add it to your profile, and build a breath of references.

House sitting is perfect if you are a single person or couple. There are house sits where you can sit as a family but some people may not want children in their home, or cannot accommodate children / may not have space. 

House sitting is a great way of seeing the world and we hope to apply for house sits in Europe and the US in the future.

If you want to try Trusted Housesitters go through one of my links above to get 20% off or apply code RAF145494 at check out.

Would you ever consider house sitting?


* This post contains affiliate links 

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16 comments

  1. This is such an awesome idea I would love to be able to house sit someones pet while I was away as I always miss Sal so much!

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    1. We found it really enjoyable. Some even let you take your pet with you.

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  2. What a lovely idea. I think it's great that people can do this as it means pets are given that bit of love even when their owners are away.

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  3. I love what this company is doing. What I love more is that you can find a sitter in both Europe and USA. Thank you for sharing. I will be sharing!

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    1. Yes you can, in fact many of these sites are worldwide.

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  4. I love the idea of doing this as you get accommodation for free and you get pet cuddles when ever you want x

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  5. What an absolutely fantastic way to get to travel the world inexpensively! I have no idea this even existed!

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    1. Worth trying out to see if its for you Elizabeth.

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  6. What a great way to see a new country without spending much money! I just heard about this the other day and very intrigued by it. Thanks for sharing the links, I plan to register as well.

    www.yeahlifestyle.com

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  7. This is one concept I would never have thought of! Such a good idea and I do wonder how many are doing this right now

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    1. There are lots of people doing this. It's perfect if you are retired, or if you can work remotely, or if you are a travel blogger, for example.

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  8. What a great idea for pet lovers, not sure it would work for me as I am scared of dogs LOL

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    1. You can select the type of pets you want to sit for. If you just want to cat sit, select opportunities that allow you to do this with no dogs.

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  9. I love the idea of house sitting. We can never afford to go abroad due to the cost so we might have to look into this more :)

    Louise x

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