How House Sitting Can Help Pet Owners Travel without Worry (it’s the bee’s knees)

Sponsored by Trusted Housesitters

Are you a travel enthusiast but find yourself torn between exploring the world and leaving your beloved pets behind? As fellow animal lovers and relatively new pet owners, we understand the struggle.

Fortunately, there’s a solution that allows you to wander freely while ensuring your furry friends are well taken care of – it’s called pet sitting or house sitting.

white cat sitting in cat bed near window with forest view
Peach

Many travelers may have heard of, or experienced, the housesitting strategy as a traveler: You take care of somebody’s home and pet while living in their house for free!

Our experience with house sitting has been from the other side – the pet owner. It is by far the favorite travel resource and strategy I have used since discovering the work abroad (working holiday) strategy.

Our membership with Trusted House Sitters (who facilitates this strategy), gives me peace of mind to know my beloved cats are taken care of, while I can continue to take care of my desire for travel and creating great memories with my family. AND, apart from the original housesitting membership fee, it doesn’t cost me anything else!

In this post we’ll outline the benefits of using a pet sitter, our experience with TrustedHouseSitters, and how you can ensure your pets are taken care of while you explore the world with peace of mind.

This post is written in partnership with Trusted Housesitters, and we’ve been personal members of the site for over a year before working with them! We have organized an exclusive discount code for you mentioned below!

What is TrustedHouseSitters?

people holding pets with trusted housesitter statts on top

Trusted House Sitters is a membership platform that connects pet owners with trustworthy individuals willing to look after their homes and pets while they’re away.

 Founded in Brighton, UK in 2010, the TrustedHousesitters community now stands at 210,000+ members strong, in more than 140 countries worldwide. They’ve facilitated over 10 million nights of pet sitting!

They now have more 5* reviews than any other house sitting website. Their solid reputation is the reason we chose to use Trusted Housesitters over any other service.

Our Experience with Trusted House Sitters as Pet Owners

Family of four having dinner in a restaurant on a cruise ship
River cruising in Europe

We put off getting pets for years because our nomadic family travel lifestyle could not sustain it. We had no stable home, were in and out on trips, and knew we did not have the capacity to care for a pet while juggling the intense demands of full-time travel, running a business, and homeschooling.

When we finally settled in Raleigh during the pandemic, I kept resisting the kids’ demands for pets, as I still did not think we could handle it, because travel was still a core focus, and we were taking frequent trips.

Finally, at the end of 2022, I relented, and we decided the timing was right to get the kind of pet we all wanted – cats. First and foremost, we’re cat people, but also, we knew cats – due to their wonderful independent nature – would be best able to handle our inability to let our suitcases collect dust.

two black cats on a cat tree
Mavis(top) and Ivy (bottom)

We knew because of so many friends who have traveled the world utilizing the housesitting strategy, this was an easy, and very affordable option for pet care while traveling.

When it was time to plan our one-month Europe trip last year, I became a member of Trusted House Sitters, and within weeks had arranged for a pet sitter to stay in our home for a month to take care of our precious Ivy and Mavis.

It was an incredible experience. Our sitter was well experienced in taking care of cats, housesitting, and taking care of our home. We returned to a beautiful, well looked after clean home, and happy kittens.

cat sitting on cat tree inside house
Our precious Ivy

Earlier this year, our darling Ivy suddenly passed away, which broke our hearts! But, recently we adopted another kitten, Peach, so Mavis had a companion (and we wanted her too!). So, our house sitting endeavors continue with Mavis and Peach.

black and white cat on a cat tree
Peach and Mavis

I just booked in another house sitter last week for our upcoming trip to Wyoming. As it’s only 6 days and we live in a non-tourist city, I was going to just ask the neighbors or hire a local pet carer on Rover as I assumed no one would want to take on a short housesit.

And then Craig said,Why don’t we use Trusted House sitters again? It’s free and you just don’t know who might be looking for a short-term stay. That way the cats’ routines won’t be disrupted and they can be looked after round the clock and feel more comfortable. They love the screened in porch, so if someone is staying here, they can leave the door open so they can access it all day.

Less than 30-minutes after listing the job we received an application from a perfect sitter. She was booked in by the end of the day after a quick phone interview. We’re thrilled as it saves us money and gives us huge peace of mind to know a trusted cat lover will provide all-day care, not just a quick 10-minute meal top-up at the end of the day. 

We’re thrilled and relieved at the same time! 

Benefits of House Sitting for Pet Owners

Mom and two daughters standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Go enjoy Paris, the pets are fine!

I understand how freaked out you may feel with the idea of leaving your beloved pet to a stranger in your own home.

Imagine how freaked out your pet feels forced out of its safe and comfortable home to live in a shelter with a stranger. Or to have a random person pop into the house for just a moment each day to feed them, change their litter, or take them for a walk?

Here’s how using a service (that vets endorse) like Trusted House Sitters can eliminate all your worries.

1. Peace of Mind

Say goodbye to the stress of leaving your pets in unfamiliar environments, leaving them at home without any parental supervision, annoying your neighbors to interrupt their routines to look after them, or forcing them to travel with you and then listening to them complain all day? (Is this post about cats or teenagers?😝 )

With Trusted House Sitters, your pets can stay in the comfort of their own home, minimizing anxiety and ensuring they receive the care and attention they need round-the-clock by a bona-fide animal lover.

Not only that you can receive daily updates from your pet sitter on how your pets are doing. If any issues arise, someone is there to take care of it straight away. We loved getting our daily photos and videos of Ivy and Mavis, who we missed terribly while we were away.

I know pet owners before who have struggled finding availability in dog care facilities, nearly ending their vacation dreams. You never have to worry about that with pet sitting. As I shared with the membership, you can find the perfect pet sitter in a matter of hours.

Rest assured that Trusted Housesitters vet all pet sitters (ID, background, and reference checks) to ensure they are of the highest quality. Still not sure? The sitters’ profile and reviews will also tell the story! As will your important interview!

2. Best Care for your Pet

There’s no doubt your pet would much prefer to stay in their familiar environment. Having a pet sitter reduces their separation anxiety as everything, apart from your absence, will remain the same.

They have a friendly, pet-loving face to take care of them, give them their medication, feed them their favorite food, give them treats, take them for a walk, play with them, and even let them still sleep in your bed (if the pet sitter is okay with that!

Don’t worry about the type, age, or personality of your pet, this will work for all kinds of pets. Our first pet sitter grew up on a farm in Kentucky surrounded by animals and many cats. Our upcoming sitter from Tennessee has had several cats herself and had years of experience with animal rescue.

You bet I’m going on my vacation feeling less worried about my girls.

3. Home Security

screened in patio with forest views
Our screened in porch!

In addition to pet care, house sitters can provide an added layer of security by occupying your home while you’re away. This can deter potential burglars and give you peace of mind knowing your property is cared for.

If you have a lot of plants and a beloved garden, you will love having someone around to water them.

They can make sure the trash is taken out and the mail collected. Who wants to lose those important checks piling up in the mailbox, or your latest Amazon delivery sitting on the porch for days inviting people to just come claim it?

4. Cultural Exchange

caz and craig with sabina and guisseppe
Cooking lesson in Tuscany

Hosting a house sitter can also be a rewarding cultural exchange experience. Many house sitters are travelers themselves, eager to explore new destinations while caring for pets and homes.

What a wonderful opportunity you’re giving someone to live out their own dreams, explore and grow their own selves.

I was thrilled to hear our first sitter; Melissa was going to take a house sit in Australia. Of course, I jumped on the phone to give her advice on what to see and do. Once a pet sitter lives in your home, they become somewhat of a friend or kindred spirit you can chat to again if you want.

We invited her to take on our upcoming sit for our Wyoming trip, but she was not available. You can do that via Trusted Housesitters! 

I enjoyed getting to know here and our upcoming sitter. I love hearing how people are making their dreams happen and using house sitting as a way to do that. It’s such a valuable collaborative ecosystem.

5. Cost-Effective Pet Care for your Vacation

riding bikes
Enjoying Ocracoke Island

How does almost free sound? Traditional pet boarding services can be expensive, especially for multiple pets or extended trips.

TrustedHousesitters offers an affordable alternative, often in exchange for free accommodation for the house sitter.

All you have to pay is your annual membership fee (for us as pet parents on the basic level it was $149) and then what your pet needs for while you’re away – costs you have regardless.

On a previous trip, a 4-day trip to Ocracoke, we used a Rover to have someone (who was excellent) pop into our home for 30-minutes each day to feed our two kittens and change their litter. That cost us $80.

But we had an issue with our AC while we were gone and our kitties were distressed, which was only noticed when the sitter popped in for that 30 minutes in the afternoon. She was fabulous in sorting it out, but it ended up costing us $110 with her extra time and care.

That’s almost the cost of a yearly membership and we would have someone pick up the issue earlier.

I don’t know what boarding in a kennel or vet boarding house would be, but I know it’s more than $20 a day – and I fear restricted spaces for your pet there.

caz and girls posing in piazza bra
Hello from Piazza Bra, Verona, Italy

Now imagine if we paid that $20 a day (some sitters are more) for our month-long trip in Europe, It would have been around $600.

And what if you had several animals from fish to dogs to horses. With one membership, and one sitter, all your pets from fish to chickens, dogs, and horses will be cared for. 

So you can see the membership will probably pay for itself with your first trip, and then you can take as many as you like for the rest of the year – no more fees. That’s what I call the cat’s pajamas.

Want an even better deal? And we have a discount code for you, making your pet care costs while you travel even lower! 

Just use the code:  YTRAVEL25 for a 25% discount (that’s less than my initial Rover cost for only 4 days of pet care at half an hour each day)

How Trusted House-Sitting Works

One remarkable thing about your pet-sitting membership is that it comes with support for both pet sitters and the pet owner. You’ll find blog articles to help answer any of your questions and with helpful tips for sitters and owners to make this great for all parties including our pets.

Using TrustedHousesitters as pet owners is simple:

1. Choose your membership plan & create a profile

table showing membership prices for trusted housesitters

I like how they have plans to suit all pet owners from basic – help me find a pet sitter – to more premium that includes insurance, cancellation protection and airport lounge passes.

Membership prices range from Prices range from US$129 for sitters and US$149 for pet parents

As I outlined above, the membership more than pays for itself, even if you are at the top Premium level.

IMPORTANT: There is a free browsing membership with no credit cards required. This gives sitters or pet parents the chance to browser sitters or house sitting opportunities before signing up. That’s an extra layer of protection for you to be able to ascertain if you’ll get enough value from it.

Choose your membership now and use our exclusive code YTRAVEL25 for a 25% discount 

2. List your Pet Sitting opportunity

Create and publish a listing that includes information on your travel dates, location, and pet care needs.

Be as detailed as possible to ensure only the most suitable application. It will save time for all during the vetting process.

You can also search for sitters via the membership portal, but I think it will be easier to just let them come to you!

3. Vet & Interview

cat sitting on computer

Get ready for the applications! We had many applicants for our month-long listing when we went to Europe last summer, which made choosing difficult, but was also great as we knew we’d find the best house sitter we needed.

For the first time, as we had kittens, and considering we were going for a month and new to this house sitting as a pet owner, we really wanted someone with experience.

You can look at each applicant’s profile to get an idea of their experience of house sitting and taking care of pets. Be sure to read the reviews carefully.

woman sitting on lounge on computer
Set up Zoom calls

Once you’ve narrowed it down to potential house sitters, organize a phone interview, either by phone or Zoom. You will have them living in your home, you want to be comfortable with your choice and vice versa. (Your membership comes with messaging features to easily communicate with applicants)

On the interview call. you can find out more about them, their personalities, why they house sit and more.

Check to make sure they are comfortable with the details of the house sit, including pet care routines, house rules, and expectations, and other things they can have access to in your home, like bikes, or even vehicles. This is all up to each individual.

Talk about how you’d like to stay connected while you’re away and share more about your vacation, where you’ll be, if you’ll be easily contactable etc.

Share more about the area they live in and why they might love it.

4. Confirm Your Ideal Sitter

white cat curled up in cat bed

Once you’ve interviewed and found the perfect match, confirm the arrangement, and finalize any necessary arrangements, such as key exchange and emergency contacts.

Trusted House Sitters makes this easy, helping you to create an online welcome guide for your pet sitter. You fill out sharing all the details of your pets including their personalities, habits, likes, dislikes, feeding routines, any required medicines etc.

You also fill out details on your home including Wi-Fi access, streaming service access, and any important home security details.

As well as looking after your pets and having a free place to stay, the pet sitter will also want to use this opportunity to get to know the area you live in. So, there is a section in the guide to share your favorite things to do, places to eat etc. 

5. Prepare your home and pets

table on outside deck with forest views
Our back deck

It’s best to welcome your pet sitters into a clean home, with fresh bedding and towels. You may want to create a space for their belongings in your bedroom, bathroom, office, kitchen, etc. Lock away any valuables or possessions you’d like to keep private.

You are still financially responsible for your pet while you’re away, so leave behind all food, medicine, litter supplies etc. If your sitter must purchase anything, be sure to reimburse them. Contact your vet to let them know should anything happen while you’re gone to invoice or charge your account on file, not the sitter.

You may like to leave basic supplies – milk, butter, cooking oils, spices etc for your sitter to use. Let the sitter know what they can and can’t use.

cat on leash
Peach loves her walks

Tell your trusted neighbors that a pet sitter will be staying in your home, just so they don’t call the police if they see a stranger coming in and out! It’s also handy for your sitter, in case they need help to have someone reliable in the street they can turn to.

Our trusted neighbors, and fellow pet owners, were thrilled to hear about Trusted Housesitters once I told them a new friendly face would be hanging around the house while we were gone! We even introduced Melissa to the neighbors when she arrived just before we left.

It’s up to each person as to how you start with the pet sitter in your home. You may arrange for them to enter the house after you have left and leave before you are gone.

Or, you may want to meet them first. Be sure to leave time before your flight to welcome you into the home and go through everything with them.

We like to do this – as long as the pet sitter is comfortable with it. We even offered our pet sitters to stay the night before we leave or the day after we get back.

6. Enjoy Your Trip

Mom and daughter standing in front of an Abby in Austria
Melk Abbey in Austria

With your pets in capable hands, you’re free to embark on your travel adventures with peace of mind.

We loved how our pet sitter sent us daily photos and updates about our cats while we were away. This is easy to do via What’s app!

You may also want to bring a gift home for your pet sitter. We brought home some wine from one of the chateaus we visited in the Loire Valley. And our sitter surprised us with some beautiful potted plants! 

TrustedHousesitters is The Bees Knees

white cat

Why wouldn’t you use Trusted Housesitters? 

For all pet owners who love to travel, it’s a total no brainer. I know it can be scary letting a stranger live in your home, and trust them to take care of your furry children, who we love as much as our human ones. 

I felt nothing but safe, secure, and excited about our house sitting experience as pet owners. 

The most important thing is that it’s the best care for our cats while we travel. But, I love having someone to also look after our home, and at an extremely low cost. 

Now you can take the hundreds of dollars (if not more) you have saved and spend it on Cinque Terre boat tours and French chardonnay from the top of the Eiffel Tower. 

Don’t forget our exclusive discount code  YTRAVEL25 for a 25% discount when you become a member of Trusted Housesitters.

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