We hear it all the time, ‘You should try housesitting!”
We know. Friends have told us about being the boss of Irish castles and living in mansions on a Thai island for free. “Give me some of that!” we screamed.
But, housesitting has not worked for us.
Ahh, home comforts!
But, the actual housesitting strategy, where you pay a monthly fee to join a housesitting membership site and apply for housesitting jobs, just hasn’t worked.
That’s not to say it’s not fantastic. Before people start jumping out and saying we’re ruining the housesitting reputation, hear us out.
House sitting can be a brilliant strategy to travel around the world on a budget and save on one of your biggest travel costs. But, it hasn’t worked for us (yet) and it’s useful for you to know why.
Let’s see why house sitting did not work for us.
Organized travel route
Possibly the biggest reason housesitting hasn’t worked for us, especially during our recent 18-month road trip around Australia, was because we were trying to find a place that fit into our pre-determined travel plans and time frame.
This makes it an extremely difficult strategy to make work. I think you need to be flexible and go where the housesitting deals are.
So when we were heading to Melbourne for three weeks, it was so challenging to find something that fit that exact time frame and place. Trying to find one in even smaller cities was almost impossible.
We considered applying for a housesit for six months on the Gold Coast. Again, we couldn’t find one to fit those dates and where we wanted. And with Kalyra going to school, we certainly didn’t want to be moving every month or so.
Now, on the flip side of having a definite travel route planned, is the fact that we often travel last-minute. We may have the journey mapped out, but the routes to get to the end can change very quickly. This never left us with enough time to grab a good housesitting deal.
Travel with kids
Housesitting appears to be way more attractive to home owners if you are single or a couple. Unfortunately they don’t look too favorably upon young children and I can understand why. That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of houses available for families, they’re just much harder to find.
We’re too fussy
We travel for the freedom and adventure. A chance to explore when we want, eat out, sleep in, and take weekend getaways.
Many of the housesitting opportunities we looked at came with too many obligations. We don’t want to mind tons of pets, I tend to kill any plant that comes within three feet of me so gardening scares me a little. Although, Kalyra and Savannah did a stellar job of watering Mike and Ang’s plants when we house-sat for them in Perth.
Since we had so many restrictions due to the above, once we narrowed down our options we’d be left with one house that fit our criteria, and then we had to try and get that house in a competitive market. Which brings us to…
I think the secret to housesitting is out so the market is flooded with people taking advantage of this strategy for getting free accommodation.
Applying over and over again for housesits makes me feel like I’m out trying to find a job. I currently don’t have the time or energy for it.
Expensive membership prices
I find housesitting memberships expensive. Now, if housesitting works for you and you get some free accommodation, then of course the membership fee is nothing.
But, if it’s not working for you, then it’s another cost to carry.
I was tired of paying the membership fees for a few different sites and not getting anything out of it. It feels too much like playing the pokies – a total gamble. To me, I was wasting my money, not to mention my time, chasing down places to stay.
On some housesitting sites, you can search for places without being a member, which was useful. But, you have to become a member to apply.
I’d like to see one of these come up with a more innovative approach so that people only pay once they receive their first yes, or something like that?
It just took too much of our time to investigate housesitting options.
If time is on your side, then absolutely follow this strategy to get some amazing free accommodation stays. We’re time-starved so just could not put in the time to researching for properties, applying for them and then waiting to hear back.
It was just easier for us to cough up the money to rent an apartment or camp. Once we realized housesitting wasn’t working for us, we decided to buy our camper trailer and have a home on wheels instead.
Time is essential to us and since I’ve been travelling nomadically for almost 17 years, I’m getting a little fussier and don’t want to sacrifice certain things. That’s why I’d prefer to do things that suit better like apartment rental, camping, or housesitting for friends.
But, having said all of that, now we are no longer on our epic road trip around Australia, we have more flexibility to travel to where the housesitting deals are, rather than trying to make them fit our square hole. So we might just look more into it.
Is housesitting for you?
Well, I think you can determine that based upon what we’ve outlined above as to why it doesn’t work for us. It totally depends on individual travel styles, expectations, likes, dislikes, and flexibility.
But, hundreds of travelers are saving thousands of dollars through housesitting. So you’d be mad not to try make it work. Grab that flexibility and run with it. You might just end up staying in an English manor for free!
Grab that flexibility and run with it. You might just end up staying in an English manor for free!
You might want to check out some more useful tips in the following posts:
Stack the housesitting odds in your favor
Our blogging friends, Dalene and Pete from Hecktic Travels have also written an excellent housesitting guide – How to become a housesitter and see the world.
Pete and Dalene have been traveling the world for years following the housesitting strategy so know what they are talking about.
They’ve had 14 house-sits in 9 countries, and saved over $50,000 in the cost of accommodations as a result.
That’s pretty awesome. Who says you need thousands of dollars to travel?