The Ultimate Guide to House Sitting

House Sitting: How to Travel Without Paying for Housing (+9 Step Guide)

Are you a long term traveler or digital nomad who would love accommodation abroad without having to pay for it?

If you have ever considered living abroad for a while, becoming nomadic or just traveling like a local for an extended period of time, this super practical guide to how to become a house sitter 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.

Why should you listen to me?

Well, I’ve recently fallen in love with house sitting as a way to travel affordably. After having done my first few house sitting gigs, I am now currently in one in Canada and have the next few months continuously filled up with house sitting gigs that I am more than excited about!

Ready to learn how you can also get accommodation in exchange for pet and home care?

Let’s dive in:

Quick disclosure: when you make a purchase through affiliate links on this site, you may help support this independent blog through a small commission from our partners. Thanks for keeping us on the road!

Why House Sitting is the Perfect Solution for Digital Nomads and Long Term Travelers

House Sitting Guide
Me outside my current house sit in Canada

As a digital nomad or long time traveler we often get the question:

Don’t you miss your home, a place where you have everything, feel cozy and comfortable and don’t constantly need to worry about where to sleep and eat the day?

Honestly, yes.

After becoming a digital nomad, traveling and moving places can be exhausting in the long term.

Especially spending hours of searching the right accomodation that still leaves you feeling like you paid much more than any local ever would and that turns out to be lacking the most basic domestic equipments that hinder from feeling cozy, comfortable and at home.

With house sitting you directly have a HOME, a place created and decorated with love and that already has all the amenities you possibly need.

Apart from having a home you might also get a new best friend. A dog, a cat or any other animal to cuddle, to play and to have fun with.

I grew up wanting a dog so badly but my family always said what do you want more the dog or the travels. We can’t have both – so travels it was.

Dog at a house sit
Making friends with my new companion

With House sitting I now have the possibility to travel and live in incredible place while also having a pet to take care of and have fun with.

Using house sitting as a traveler or nomad also has huge advantages especially when you want to slow down fast peace traveling for a bit and really get to know a travel destination or when you want to focus on work and need some high productivity time house sitting can awesome.

The bottom line?

House sitting is not only a great way to travel the world affordably long term, but also helps you to have a more fulfilling travel experience!

Pro Tip: Looking to travel the world and make money online? Be sure to check out our mega guide to 52 Ways to Get Paid to Travel.

What Is House Sitting And How Does House Sitting Actually Work?

Home in Canada
The home I am currently house sitting in Canada 🙂

You might wonder what exactly House sitting is and what your tasks as a House sitter might involve so lets start there:

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

Depending on what is agreed upon beforehand you as a house sitter might forward mail, 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. We probably all have these friends who would love to travel and explore the world but are limited by time and distance as they have pets and or a home that needs to be taken care of.

With house sitting that is not a problem anymore for the homeowner.

It is as simple as finding a nice person who comes and stays at your house, treats it with love and respect as they would their own and you don’t need to worry about paying an expensive pet care or trying to find a friend who can come over and check upon the house every once in a while, while also taking care of your pets.

Another huge advantage of house sitting is that the pet gets to stay in his familiar surroundings without having to adapt to a new person, new environment and potentially new food which can cause a lot of stress and even feelings of abandonment to the animal.

For house sitters it is the perfect opportunity to live in very different places around the world and experience life as a local while having a real home and being able to care for a hopefully cute pet.

House sitting is the perfect solution for it all.

So how do you actually go about finding a house sitting gig?

Let’s talk about that next …

How to Get Started House Sitting in 9 Steps

House Sitting Bird
Another one of my house sitting companions (this one without the fur!)

Getting started with house sitting It’s actually pretty simple.

Let’s break down how to get your first house sit step-by-step:

1. Decide on a house sitting platform or website.

You’re going to need a premium membership on a house sitting platform or website in order to actually apply for an get a house sit (sorry, there really 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 Reccomendation: While there are country specific house sitting websites, for worldwide inventory my go to option and top recommendation is Trusted Housesitters (more on my personal experience with them later).

You can sign up here for a Trusted Housesitters account in less than a minute.

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

A Trusted Housesitters membership as either a sitter costs $119/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.

2. Sign up on the website 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 create a free one, or purchase your membership at this stage) and fill in as much information as useful and add some nice pictures.

Tip: Use pictures of you and some animals and some 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.

When filling out your profile, keep in mind that the potential house sitting host is looking for a trustworthy and reliable person to not only make sure their house and plants are well taken care of but most of all their beloved pet is safe and enjoying its while the house sitting hosts are on holiday.

3. Get verified!

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

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

Once your profile is set up the actual fun begins …

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.

5. Find house sitting gigs you would enjoy and apply.

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

Your chances of getting a reply increase by showing that you know what they are looking for and only apply if you are sure you can meet the house sitting hosts needs.

Here’s one important thing to keep in mind:

The first House sitting opportunity might be the hardest one as you do not have any reviews on your profile yet but don’t get discouraged when the first few house sitting hosts decline your request or do not answer.

Pro tip 1: 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 a own car (mostly in the countryside) and the ones that are only a few days or last minute.

Pro tip 2: 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 people applied will increase your chance of getting accepted on the house sitting gig.

6. Get to know your house sitting host and the pet that you will be taking care of.

How to House Sit

In order to make sure you will really enjoy your house sitting experience get on a (video)call with the house sitting host and let them walk you through the tasks and routines, what is expected from you and see if you get along with the house sitting host.

Let them answer any questions you have about the place and their pet and if you get along well you might keep chatting about life for a while.

This is an important step that creates trust and helps both – the house sitter and the house sitting host – to see if this is actually a great fir for both of you.

7. Confirm the sit, arrange the details and book your tickets!

As soon as the house sitting gig is confirmed you can start looking for your tickets or travel arrangements.

Pro Tip: In some cases it is good to overlap with the house sitting hosts 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 task 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 and you most likely will feel more comfortable contacting them incase of any problems.

8. Enjoy the Sit!

Time flies by so make sure you make the best out of your house sitting time, do some excursions, explore the city, fall in love with your house sitting pet and fully enjoy the new city, culture or country.

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.

My Candid Review of Trusted Housesitters

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

After doing my research about all the different house sitting websites and getting feedback from several friends who are doing house sitting full time I decided to sign up with Trusted Housesitters.

Here is why I love them:

1. 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.

Which means your chances of finding your dream house sit in a location you would like to explore are much higher.

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!

2. Their Customer Service is Next Level.

Seriously it is – they have a 24h live chat and the people you chat with are very friendly and lovely and they help you right away.

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.

Not much of a chatty person?

They do respond very quickly to emails!

If this isn’t your thing either just get on a call with them! For me this always ends up like having the best chat with a good friend who is also helping you at the same time.

Trusted Housesitters makes you feel good in any way and isn’t that what we all care about and what we truly want in life?

3. Trusted Housesitters Takes Security Seriously

I started recommending Trusted Houssitters to friends of mine who pay an insanely huge amount of money every year for dog care while they are on a short holiday and their biggest fear was having someone who accidentally damages the property.

So I called Trusted Houssitters 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 weather you are the house sitting host or the house sitter, relax!

In case of any accident, problem or issue you are well 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.

Pro Tip: If you’re a long term traveler or digital nomad, you can get affordable travel insurance for just $37 for 4 weeks through SafetyWing.

4. Trusted Housesitters Makes it Really Easy for House Sitters.

One of my biggest fears of 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 their 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 so I wasn’t too familiar with their behaviour.

When the little pudel suddenly started attacking the love bird I was more than worried at first but Trusted Housesitters had obviously an amazing service for that in place – 24 hours veterinary advice from an expert.

Bottom Line: My Personal Take on Trusted Housesitters

Bird at house sit
Bird at house sit

Trusted Housesitters really knows what they are doing and you can feel it in every way that they sincerely care about everyone involved in house sitting – the house sitter, the house sitting host and the pets.

You feel the 9 years of experience in every interaction and that is what makes it so easy and so much fun to use Trusted Housesitters.

I also love the variety of house sits and the huge variety of places that house sits are offered in.

Being nomadic for 7 years I keep on looking for new adventures, different places that are off the beaten path and unique experiences while not trying to live the tourist life, trusted housesitters really allows you to experience life like a local anywhere you want!

All my house sitting hosts have made me feel more than welcomed 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.

To be clear, it’s not a perfect sit.

One thing that would make it even easier to use Trusted Housesitters full time or on a more consistent basis and what would also make Trusted Housesitters next level is 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 – do you know what I try to say?).

My idea is that it would send you specific emails when a house sitting gig for your requested dates in your requested area shows up and also sends emails or notifications to the house sitting hosts in that area that a sitter is looking for place to sit during these specific dates which would allow the house sitting hosts to be more flexible with their holidays or start planning a getaway knowing they already have someone to take care of the house and pet.

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.

FAQs About House Sitting

House Sitting jobs

Is house sitting something anyone can do?

Yes! 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 in this world can I do house sitting?

The short answer is potentially anywhere. With that said, you’ll likely find the most inventory in Canada, the US, Australia, the UK, and Europe.

There are places available, however, around the world – everywhere from Denmark to Denver, and from Mexico to Madagascar.

Just keep your eyes open and be quick when these places come up.

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

In my opinion, age does matter sometimes in terms of your likelihood of getting a house sit.

Especially when you start out being quite young, a few house sitting hosts might reject you as they are looking for someone with more experience, someone they feel is more reliable or trustworthy which is why some house sitting hosts tend to older house sitters.

Nevertheless if you want to find a house sitting place you surely will – just keep looking 😉

How long are most house sitting gigs?

It varies, but most house sitting gigs seem 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?

Yes. Some hosts even prefer to have couples or even a family staying over and in some house sitting gigs you can even bring your own pet but make sure to talk about it with the homeowner before hand.

Do many hosts ask house sitters to house sit again?

It can happen. Especially when the house sitting host was very happy with the experience and established a good relationship and trust with the sitter they might ask the previous house sitter(s) for their availability before even creating a house sitting gig on trusted Housesitters.

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 is of big importance.

Especially if you plan on staying longer in a place lets say 1-4 months I usually ask to see the place and pet on camera.

House sitting works best if a win-win situation is created for everyone.

If you do not feel comfortable in the place it won’t be the best experience for the pet and homeowner either so try to avoid this before even starting the house sitting gig and make sure all tasks and expectations are clear before agreeing on the house sitting gig.

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

Usually the homeowner but it also depends on the house sitting gig. Especially on longer house sitting gigs of several months some homeowners might ask the house sitter to cover certain costs but this should be clear before agreeing on the house sitting gig.

What happens if something happens to the pet ?

Hopefully it won’t but Trusted Housesitters offers 24 hours expert Vet 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.

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

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

It might for some but it definitely brings its own challenges and it’s important to note that it’s not for everyone.

Like dealing with an uneducated dog, unexpected situations like freezing water pipes in Canadian winters, dogs that destroy certain things and cats that lose hair all over the house. You know, just the normal weirdness that you might want or do not want to put up with.

But for me it has been an incredible opportunity to live in a wonderful place, experience a different kind of lifestyle and way of life with every new house sitting opportunity while having a home instantly and creating intentional memories in the place and with the pet.

House sitting offers me the opportunity to try out different lifestyles and intentionally create the experiences I want to have in my life. At the end of the day this is what counts for me: crafting an adventurous life I am truly in love with.

This is why I can sincerely recommend using Trusted Housesitter 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.

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Interested in other ways to save money and travel better? Check out these other practical articles:

Oh, and do you want to learn how to travel the world and work online? Enroll in Travel Lemming’s free work online and travel mini-course today.

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