The Ultimate Guide to House Sitting

House Sitting | 9 Step Guide on How to Land Free Stays

If you’re a long-term traveler or digital nomad who’s interested in learning more about house sitting, then you’re in the right place.

House sitting is a great way to travel without having to pay for accommodations. I’ve personally house-sat on multiple occasions and, as such, I’ve put together this super practical guide to help you decide if house sitting is for you!

I’ll walk you through exactly how to get your first house sitting gig, tell you the best website for finding house sits, and I’ll make sure you don’t miss the pro tips that I wish I had known before I started house sitting.

I’ve been a nomad for 7 years and it’s one of my fave ways to travel affordably. Let’s dive in!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

What Is House Sitting?

The living room of a house in Canada where I house sat
The home I am currently house sitting in Canada 🙂

Let’s get down to brass tacks — what exactly is house sitting?

As a house sitter, your role is to live in and take care of the house, the garden, and the pets while the owner is gone on holiday.

Depending on what is agreed upon beforehand, you might forward mail, tend to the garden, keep the house clean, and take care of the pets like they are your own.

House sitting is actually a really cool thing for both the house sitter and the house owner. Homeowners get to travel and explore the world while having their house and pets taken care of, while house sitters get a free place to stay in their chosen destination.

Why House Sit?

Me and a dog in front of a house where I house ssat with Trusted Housesitters
Me outside my current house sit in Canada

There are plenty of reasons to house sit.

First of all, it’s a great way for long-term travelers to get free accommodation, have a cozy feeling of “home”, and dive deeper into their chosen destination. Staying in someone’s house is way more down to earth than hostels or hotels when considering cultural immersion.

House sitting is also a top accommodation option when considering amenities. With house sitting, you have a place created and decorated with love where you can cook, do laundry, and relax.

Not to mention, it’s a great way to spend time and take care of pets!

How to Get Started House Sitting

Getting started with house sitting is actually pretty simple. Let’s break down how to get your first house sit step-by-step:

Step #1 – Decide on a House Sitting Platform or Website

A girl with a colorful bird on her shoulder. An experience house sitting with Trusted House Sitters
Another one of my house sitting companions (this one without the fur!)

You’re going to need a premium membership on a house sitting platform or website in order to actually apply for a house sit. For safety and security reasons, there aren’t any good ones that don’t carry a cost.

So since you probably only want to pay for one, I suggest doing your research and finding one that suits your needs best. Focus on choosing one that you enjoy using and that has a variety of listings which improves your chances of finding a house-sitting gig.

My Recommendation: While there are country-specific house sitting websites, for worldwide inventory my go-to recommendation is Trusted Housesitters. You can sign up here for a Trusted Housesitters account in less than a minute.

A free account lets you browse listings, but you’ll need a premium membership to apply.

A Trusted Housesitters membership as either a sitter costs $129/year.

That’s a bargain in my mind considering you’ll make that back in saved accommodation costs within just the first few nights of your first house sit.

My Pick
Trusted Housesitters

A service I personally use, Trusted Housesitters is top of the game when it comes to house sits. They have an attentive team, an excellent insurance policy, and an assortment of listings.

Step #2 – Sign Up and Create Your Account

The Trusted Housesitters Website
The Trusted Housesitters Website

First, go here and click “search for homes to sit.”

When you browse a listing, you’ll be prompted to create a profile (you can either create a free one or purchase your membership at this stage) and fill in as much information as is useful and add some nice pictures.

When filling out your profile, keep in mind that the house sitting host is looking for a trustworthy and reliable person to make sure their house, plants, and pets are well taken care of. Put your best foot forward!

👉 Pro Tip: Use pictures of you with animals that show your personality. Remember, we trust people by looking them in the eyes so make sure you have pictures where your face and eyes are clearly shown.

Step #3 – Get Verified

Make it a no-brainer for your house sitting host to trust you.

With Trusted Housesitters, you have 2 levels of verification — the Basic level and the Standard level. Try to get them both as soon as possible to increase trustworthiness and the chances of your first house sitting gig.

Once your profile is set up the actual fun begins …

Step #4 – Start Looking for a House Sitting Gig

Now that you are signed up, it’s time to check out profiles and get an idea of the kind of house-sitting gig you would enjoy doing.

Step #5 – Apply to Strong Contenders

Send customized messages to the house sitting hosts and make sure you mention their and their pets name. Show that you took the time to read their profile.

Here’s one important thing to keep in mind:

Because you have zero reviews, your first House sitting opportunity will be the hardest one. Don’t get discouraged when the first few house-sitting hosts decline your request or don’t answer.

Start with a short house-sitting gig in your area or request the ones that are harder to find house sitters for. These include house sitting gigs where the house sitter needs to a own car (mostly in the countryside), or the ones that are only a few days or last minute.

👉 Pro tip: On Trusted Housesitters you can see how many people have already applied for a house sitting gig. Going for the ones that have a smaller amount of pool of applicants will increase your chance of getting accepted on the house sitting gig.

Step # 6 – Get to Know Your House Sitting Host and Their Pet

A girl and a dog while house sitting in Canada

In order to make sure you jive with the host, hop on a video call with them. On this call, go through the tasks and routines and see what is expected from you.

Let them answer any questions you have about the place and their pet, and show that you are up to the responsibilities.

This is an important step in that it creates trust and helps both the house sitter and the house sitting host see if it’s a great fit.

Step #7 – Confirm the Sit, Arrange the Details, and Book Your Tickets

As soon as the house sitting gig is confirmed, you can start making travel arrangements.

In some cases, it’s a good idea to overlap with the house sitting hosts for a few days. Especially when they are gone for a longer period of time and you are taking care of a bigger house with several or more complex tasks to manage.

For example, it was much easier having someone show me how to use the stove and fireplace here in Canada than reading through a manual or needing to figure it out by myself.

It also creates extra trust if you get to spend some time with the house sitting host. Not to mention, you’ll most likely will feel more comfortable contacting them in case of any problems.

Step #8 – Enjoy the Sit

Time flies, so make the most of it! Do some excursions, explore the city, fall in love with your house sitting pet, and fully enjoy the experience.

Step # 9 – Do It All Over Again

Learn from your last sit and keep traveling the world while having beautiful homes and lovely companions to take care of.

👉 PS – Want free accommodation but need something a little more social? If you are the backpacker type, try looking for hostel jobs through a site like World Packers.

Trusted Housesitters House Sitting Review

Perhaps the most important part of the process is choosing the right house sitting website.

After doing my research on the various house sitting websites, I decided to sign up with Trusted Housesitters.

Here is why I love them:

Trusted Housesitters Offers the Most Inventory (By Far) of Any Housesitting Website

Map of Trusted Housesitters Inventory
A map of available house sits on Trusted Housesitters

Trusted Housesitters has more house sitting gigs than all other international house sitting platforms combined.

This means your chances of finding your dream house sit is much higher than if you look elsewhere.

Imagine paying less than $100 rent a year? This could be possible with doing house sitting full time as you can do as many sits as you want with your yearly membership!

Their Customer Service is Next Level

Seriously it is – they have a 24h live chat with very attentive employees.

I always get the feeling that they really want to help you and give their best to solve your problem in the fastest and best possible way. They don’t just do their job, they actually care and you can feel this. You can reach them by call, live chat, or email.

Trusted Housesitters Takes Security Seriously

I started recommending Trusted Housesitters to friends of mine who pay huge sums of money for dog care while on holiday. Their biggest fear was having someone who accidentally damages the property.

Thinking their worries may be justified, I called Trusted Housesitters and asked what happens if house sitting gigs fail or become a big problem for the house sitting host?

Their answer blew my mind:

Trusted Housesitters has an insurance included with your yearly membership price which offers property damage, theft, and public liability protection up to $1 million USD. So whether you are the house sitting host or the house sitter, you can relax and know you’ll be covered.

Now, of course, this only applies to the house sit, so it’s still a good idea to have your own travel insurance policy.

Trusted Housesitters Makes it Really Easy for House Sitters

One of my biggest fears about accepting a longer house sitting gig was not being able to properly take care of the animal if it gets sick, acts weird, or misses its owner.

My first house sitting home has a love bird I was taking care of and, to be honest, I had never taken care of a bird before. I really wasn’t too familiar with their behavior.

But even with this, you can rest assured. Trusted Housesitters has an amazing 24/7 veterinary specialist on call in case of any incidents.

Trusted Housesitters Pros

Bird at house sit
Bird at house sit

Trusted Housesitters provide an excellent platform. The employees sincerely care about everyone involved in house sitting – the house sitter, the house sitting host, and the pets.

I also love the variety of house sits and the huge variety of places where house sits are offered. All my house sitting hosts have made me feel more than welcome and it is the nicest thing to instantly feel at home.

As Trusted Housesitters deeply loves what they do you can feel this in their customers as well.

Everyone I have met through house sitting is an incredibly nice and thoughtful person which I deeply appreciate.

Trusted Housesitters Cons

House Sitting jobs

One way Trusted Housesitters could level up their service is to provide a search automation (you know, like the Skyscanner option that sends you notifications when the price of the cheap international flights you are looking for drop).

My idea is that Trusted Housesitters would send you specific emails when a house sitting gig for your requested dates in your desired area shows up. It would also sends emails or notifications to the house sitting hosts in that area that a sitter is looking for place during these specific dates.

By, alas, even without that feature, it’s a pretty awesome and highly useful site for saving money on travel.

Ready to sign up for Trusted Housesitters? Click here to create your free account.

Final Thoughts on House Sitting as a Way to Save Money on Travel

So is house sitting the holy grail for exploring and working remotely?

It might for some but it definitely brings its own challenges. Like everything, it’s not one-size-fits-all.

For me, it has been an incredible opportunity to live around the world, experience different lifestyles, and create international memories.

This is why I can sincerely recommend using Trusted Housesitters as it has given me incredibly beautiful moments and opportunities I am very happy to have in my life.

So if you’re ready to save money on travel and create some memorable experiences along the way, I highly recommend joining the Trusted Housesitters community today.

FAQs About House Sitting

Is house sitting something anyone can do?

House sitting is something everyone can do. No matter where you are from or how old you are, you can start your house sitting experience once you feel ready to do so. Just keep in mind that for some countries you might need a visa.

Where can I do house sitting?

You can house sit almost anywhere around the world. With that said, you’ll likely find the most inventory in Canada, the US, Australia, the UK, Europe, and Mexico.

Am I too young or too old to become a house sitter?

All house sitters are required to be at least 21 years old. Some hosts tend to lean towards older house sitters for reliability, but there’s an opportunity out there for every age bracket.

How long are most house sitting gigs?

It varies, but most house sitting gigs tend to be between 1 and 5 weeks. You can also find house sitting gigs for a couple of days and longer gigs up to 6 or 12 months but the extremely long ones are usually rare.

Can I house sit if I have a family or pet?

You can house sit if you have a family or pet. Some hosts even prefer to have couples or even a family house sitting and, in some gigs, you can even bring your own pet. Just make sure to talk about it with the homeowner beforehand.

Do many hosts ask house sitters to house sit again?

Some hosts may ask house sitters to return, especially when the house sitting host was pleased with the experience.

What if I don’t like the place?

The goal is to not end up in such a situation. This is why the initial contact and even the video chat or call are of big importance. If you do have an issue, then you can contact the Trusted Housesitters team.

Who pays for the utility costs including heating, electricity, gas & internet?

The homeowner pays for utility costs, but it also depends on the house sitting gig. During multi-month house sitting gigs, some homeowners might ask the house sitter to cover certain costs but this should be clear before agreeing on the terms.

What happens if something happens to the pet?

Trusted Housesitters offers 24 hours expert veterinary advice. Don’t fear to ask the house sitting host for advice either. Being open and honest about the situation is always your best bet. We all know that animals can get sick and even die eventually so good communication in these cases is key.

How do house sitting gigs go wrong?

House sitting gigs mainly go wrong due to miscommunication. To ensure a happy house sitting experience, the expectations and tasks of both the sitter and the homeowner should be clear. Communication often makes or breaks the experience.

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Interested in other ways to save money and travel better? Check out these other practical articles: The Perfect Packing List for Digital Nomads, The Best Travel Backpack for Europe, Annual Travel Insurance: Do You Really Need It?

Happy house sitting!

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