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I had a dream and for a very long time, but that was all it was, a dream. I dreamt that I could travel the world by house sitting, which many years ago seemed like an unattainable, unrealistic ambition that I definitely could not afford.
For the longest time I fantasied and day-dreamed, but that was all.
Then, life happened. Let’s just say I was forced to rethink where I was heading; I discovered my reality was nothing like my fantasy and I didn’t like it.
So it was time to turn dreams into reality, and now I travel the world by house sitting and it’s something I have never looked back on.
How does one obtain something that seems so unreachable? In this guide, I will reveal to you what house sitting is, where you can find house sitting opportunities, and some of my top tips for traveling by house sitting.
- What is House Sitting?
- Where to Find House Sitting Opportunities?
- Tips for Traveling The World by House Sitting
- Final Thoughts on Travel by House Sitting
What is House Sitting?
House sitting is a concept that involves taking care of someone’s house while they are away.
Essentially, house sitters live in the home owner’s house, taking care of their pets, plants, and other household chores while they’re gone.
They could be gone for anywhere between a few days to a full year.
House sitting is an excellent way to experience new places and cultures without having to spend money on accommodation.
Homeowners benefit from having someone reliable to take care of their home, while house sitters get the opportunity to explore new destinations without breaking the bank.
It’s a win-win situation that has gained popularity in recent years, with many platforms available to connect homeowners with trustworthy house sitters.
Where to Find House Sitting Opportunities?
There are many ways you can find house sitting opportunities. The best option to go looking is the website TrustedHousesitters.
You can also see the type of house sitting that is required of you.
If you need to be a pet sitter or just take care of plants, or if you simply need to take care of a house, it will all be advertised on the platform like a job listing.
What’s great about this platform is that you can read reviews from other sitters and homeowners, so both sitter and homeowner can see if the person they are in contact with is reliable.
It allows you to find the perfect match, all with the click of a button! The only downside is you have to have an annual membership for an annual fee, but you do get reliability, the chance to connect with people with trustworthiness and years of experience.
You can also find Facebook groups for finding house sitting opportunities. This is a good place to find somewhere if you are just starting out so you can build references, but it’s not the most reliable way to find opportunities.
Tips for Traveling The World by House Sitting
Below are some tips for traveling the world by house sitting…
1. STOP SEEING IT AS UNREACHABLE!
I believe nothing in this world is impossible if it’s something you truly want.
If you believe strongly enough in it, it will come to you eventually. I started believing in my dream, I starting planning how I could achieve it and guess what – It eventually happened!
It’s all about thinking outside the box, being open to ideas and possibilities and finding a way to make it happen.
So what was this big dream of mine? To travel the world indefinitely and live nomadically.
House sitting provided me with this freedom, as well as free accommodation.
Dani from Globetrotter Girl highlighted two first-time housesitters who were able to score dream housesits in Thailand and in Costa Rica right out of the gate in this post Dream housesits around the world.
2. Understand it’s not for everyone
I didn’t start traveling internationally until I was 29. Growing up, we didn’t have the means for travel so it wasn’t until I had become financially independent that I could travel overseas.
But, I was born with the travel bug. Even as a young girl I was fascinated with the world. At bed time, I would look at the family atlas instead of typical bedtime stories.
Each year we took an overseas trip. While I was very grateful for all those vacations, I would come home miserable and left wanting so much more.
Those who love the feeling of returning home, will probably not like traveling by house sitting. It requires you to be away long-term and to travel slowly.
For me, I dreamt about living in new countries and immersing myself into their culture and customs, eating amazing foreign foods and meeting wonderful people with beautiful stories to tell.
The idea of traveling slowly so I can understand a new country and culture became an obsession; a dream I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, let go of.
If you want to travel fast, then house sitting isn’t for you.
3. It’s ideal for single travelers, or couples with the same mindset
I’m not a single woman so I had to convince the other half that he wanted this travel life too.
It was a little tricky at first; he was a sceptic, but after I showed him my research he became intrigued by the idea.
I started planning out travel budgets and the one thing that was really killing the idea was the cost of hotels.
I’ll be honest, at 38 years of age, I’m not fond of the idea of hostels or couchsurfing or staying in budget accommodation. So it was going to have to be hotels and they are quite expensive!
So I started researching other accommodation ideas and there was one that stood out from the crowd – House sitting.
We had house sat 13 years previously when we were building our first home together. It was a great way to save on rent while we were also paying a mortgage.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier! It was a perfect solution.
Once we had that sorted out, our budget looked more realistic so we made the final decision to go and set our departure date.
But I know that I was lucky in that my partner was onboard. If he wasn’t, it would have meant my whole dream fell through.
4. House sitting allows you to save, so save!
We have been house sitting our way around the world for 16 months now.
We completed 11 house sits in 5 countries. The best part – We have saved over $30,000 (USD) in accommodation costs.
That’s not to be sneezed at. We would have been forced to go home after 8 months had we not been house sitting.
But instead, we see this is our new lifestyle to enjoy for a few more years yet.
And while the money savings is the biggest benefit to our new house sitting life, there is a catch.
You can get sucked into a new life so easily, and end up spending all the money you save on doing things.
As we travel we are able to immerse ourselves into the local culture and customs from ‘living’ there.
We get to meet amazing people, usually the neighbours and homeowners, and have made some wonderful friends along the way.
This means we were always socializing, going on weekend trips, and generally spending more money than we would at home because we had a “well I’m on holiday” mindset.
5. You have to leave your pets at home
For us, as animal lovers, we have pets in our life which is wonderful, but not all homes allow you to bring your pets. We had to leave our two cats behind with family when we left Australia.
Many house sitting opportunities involve pet sitting, which is great if you love animals, but it’s not always the greatest way to house sit.
If you are looking at house sitting that requires you to look after pets, make sure they are happy pets who are ok with being left alone with you.
Many dogs and cats feel anxious when their owners leave them, so it may make your stay a bit of a nightmare.
Top tip: get the number for the local vet before your homeowner leaves.
6. Make sure they are secure homes
One of the best things about a house-sitting gig is the free accommodation. But just because it’s free doesn’t mean it’s ideal.
Make sure the home is safe, secure, and in a location where you can get around.
Sometimes if the owner’s house is in a remote area, they may allow you to borrow their car. They may also introduce you to some friends so you can feel like you have a safe community around you.
Final Thoughts on Travel by House Sitting
House sitting no doubt offers a different and unique way to travel. It allows you to live in a culture, not just see it from an outsider’s perspective.
While it may seem like a lifestyle or a dream for only a few, we have learned that no matter what your dream is, no matter how far fetched it might seem, if you have a passion and the determination to see it through, anything is possible.
Never under estimate the power of positive thinking and never ever think you deserve anything less than extraordinary.
Bio: Nicole, and her husband Michael, are an Australian couple in who gave up their careers, sold their possessions and left their ‘conventional’ life behind for a life of travel. They have been living a nomadic life for 16 months and see no end in sight.They launched Suitcase Stories to share their stories, travel tips and destination guides. They hope to inspire others to travel and to show people how long term travel is not only possible but affordable. You can follow their journey on Facebook & Twitter.
Have you managed to travel long-term and save money? Have you experienced house sitting before? Tell us all about it..