Want to know about a fantastic travel hack?? House and Pet Sitting is the latest trend of low cost travelling – whether you want a long term adventure or an affordable vacation staying ACCOMMODATION FREE! read on! Do you enjoy the company of animals, meeting new people and want to extend your travel budgets …. if this sounds good – then continue reading because we want to tell you more about this fur-bulous way to travel and how it all works. So many people say it must cost a fortune to fund all of our travels, it doesn’t, we have a very low travel budget, here’s how it works!
House sitting allows you to ‘live like locals’ instead of staying in bland hotels. You will meet the most wonderful and gracious people along the way. We hope this blog will help you start your own adventure travelling around the world!
This concept of travelling to different destinations caring for owners homes and pets can work for any adult age group. You just have to love animals and be aware of your responsibilities to the owner for their pets and their home and understand that house and pet sitting is a commitment and not a free holiday; keeping all the time to the owners’ wishes and instructions. Younger adults are embracing this way of travelling, often full-time. But this way of travel isn’t just for younger long-term nomads, pet sitting is a great way to spend your retirement, it may only be for short breaks now and then, enabling you to enjoy a different location and a new environment. House and pet sitting can make life so interesting and varied and the house sits range from weekends to months in length.
Pet sitting is a win/win for both pet sitters and pet/home owners. The owners get to travel with peace of mind because their home and pet(s) are being exceptionally well cared for in their own home and with no costly boarding expenses. And travelling Pet sitters like us, get to enjoy time staying in beautiful cities around the world giving lots of love to pets and homes. Another great aspect to this adventure is that no money changes hands; it is all about trust, obligation, diligence, kindness and care.
SO THE FIRST THING TO DO IS JOIN AN ONLINE HOUSE SITTING AGENCY –
There are now quite a few that bring together house/pet Owners and house/pet Sitters. The Owners advertise their ‘sitter’ requests and on the same website house/pet Sitters are able to promote themselves and their strengths and their availability to sit. Our favourite by far, is this House/Pet Sitting platform Trustedhousesitters – it is the one that we use, it has the largest international house sitting community – covering over 70 countries – and we can fully recommend it because we are paying members ourselves. It has been around since 2010. They have the greatest number of world wide listings and the highest quality listings. What would you say to this??? – Three months living in a Chattel house on a Caribbean island? A month in a villa Southern France…..yes, for real!
You can read here about ‘how to’ along with ‘tips on’ joining the online House sitting Community and further below we have outlined further points think about.
There is an annual fee to pay to sign up to the TrustedHousesitting online Agency – both for Owners and Sitters. The fee is £89.00 GBP ($119.00 USD).
Once you have signed up as a Sitter, you will be able to read the twice daily postings of the latest house sits that are emailed to you direct as placed on their website by home owners. Then, when you see a sit that gets your attention ie. the pets, dates, location etc are of interest to you, then you can apply to do the sit via the secure website.
Pet sitters of course fund their travel costs to arrive at the sit. And in exchange for the caring and loving of the pet(s) and the owners home, and garden if needed, swimming pool etc., the accommodation is free, therefore, keeping living costs extremely low for the sitter. The majority of our last two years have been spent house-sitting, saving us well over £10,000 in accommodation costs, allowing us to spend that savings on an incredible set of travel experiences we might never have enjoyed otherwise. For instance the saving helped us fund a 16 day road trip around California before the start of our international pet sitting adventure in the USA.
Once you have joined an international pet/house sitting agency you need to think about the following:
1. CREATE A GREAT PROFILE FOR YOURSELF………….You need to stand out from the competition! Your Profile has to really impress the owners. Head on over to our blog post ‘tips on creating your great Profile‘ for help on creating your great profile.
2. RESPOND TO SITS QUICKLY…………………… When you see a sit that ‘grabs’ you apply as quickly as possible, you will be amazed at the amount of sitters that will also apply. If you are lucky enough to be selected by owners on to their shortlist – offer the opportunity to Skype/Facetime. We have Skyped prior to confirming all our sits, it’s a great way to ‘meet’ the homeowners and get to know them, both parties need to feel happy and relaxed that they’ve made a good choice. In our opinion you can gauge very quickly in this type of ‘meet up’ if you’ve found a good match.
3. READ THE HOUSE OWNER’S REQUIREMENTS ………………. Observe these fully and make sure you are comfortable and able to carry out the requested tasks. It may be that the dog will need two hour-long daily walks, or the pet may be in need of daily injections, there may be specific house/pool maintenance tasks. Don’t commit unless you are happy to carry out all of the responsibilities. Of course do your own due diligence about the location of the sit, research the neighbourhood, you want to be sure you feel happy in that locality especially if the sit is for an extended period of time.
4. TRAVEL VISA REQUIREMENTS………………. They differ sometimes from one country to another and you want to be sure that you comply with the Visa requirements fully. Before taking on a sit in another country make sure that you are able to stay in that country long enough or you are able to apply for any necessary visa in time for the sit.
5. ARRIVE FULLY PREPARED ……………. Make sure you have received the Owner’s Welcome Pack at least a week before you arrive for the sit. It will contain all the relevant information about the house and the pet(s), more detailed information on the owners requirements, emergency contact information, location of the nearest clinic/hospital, watering of indoor and outdoor plants, dishes they prefer not to be used, how to operate the home alarm system if there is one, the vets details etc. Always make a note of the main specifics to take with you on arrival and a note of any questions to ask the homeowners. It’s your job to make sure you ask all the questions you need answers to.
6. KEEP IN TOUCH……………. Not going overboard, but certainly letting the owners know how everything is going and how their pet(s) are doing. Of course some owners want frequent updates and some not so much. You can always ask the owner’s preference about this. We always send a photo or two showing the pet(s) happy and relaxed, to put the owners minds at rest while they are away from their home.
7. RESPONSILIBITY…………….. Whether you are staying in a villa in Italy or somewhere amazing you have never visited before, never lose sight of the responsibility of pet care. Of course the owners will want you to enjoy their home area and explore a little, if we are sitting for say dogs and they are happy to explore with us we are always happy to take them with us, if not, we never leave the home/pets for long periods of time, never for more than 4-5 hours in a day, go by what the owners say too. If the homeowner walks their dog an hour in the morning and an hour each evening; you need to commit to that schedule 100%. While you’re not getting paid, taking care of the pet is still ‘your job’ and that responsibility should be taken very seriously.
8. RESPECT THE OWNER’S HOME…………….You will need to treat the owners home as you would your own, keeping it clean throughout, dusting and vacuuming, washing dishes, cleaning bathrooms, and before the owner returns making sure all that you have used – fridge, microwave, oven, toaster etc are all thoroughly cleaned.
9. ON THE OWNER’S RETURN……………… As well as having the owners house clean and ready for them along with having their pets relaxed and exercised, it’s a really nice idea to have a meal prepared for the owners on their homecoming, you can chat about their travels, tell them how the pet/house sit has gone all over a home cooked meal and a glass of wine. This obviously depends on the owners return time along with having an idea of what the owners like to eat!
10. ASK FOR A REFERENCE …………….. If you have done a great job they will give you a great reference and that will go a long way towards your future sits. Informing prospective owners on your sitting performance. On TrustedHousesitters the pet/homeowners post their reference directly to the website. No one can revise or edit the reference in anyway before it’s posted, so all references are genuine.
With home and pet sitting you get to live like a local. You get to know the locals and their lifestyle. As a tourist you often only see the tourist sights where you’re staying, but as a house Sitter you get to see the daily life of locals, visit the local market and chat to neighbours. The house Owners will give you great local knowledge on best sights to go to as well as best coffee shops and lunch spots.
House sitting, especially those for longer periods, allows the opportunity to travel at a much more relaxed pace. Where possible we always take the pet(s) with us on journeys out, mixing visiting local sites and places of interest with their exercise requirements. If they cannot or do not like to walk too far or journey in the car, we make sure they are well cared for/exercised etc before we pop out to the shops or for a visit and make sure we return within the acceptable time that the Owners have instructed us about.
Making worldwide friendships – you get to know the owners, initially through the correspondence you have together about the sit and then further when you have been accepted. You get to meet the owners at the beginning of the sit and then when they return from their vacation and the communication whilst they are away. We have made long-lasting friends around the globe. When you do a great job for the owners, they are so grateful to you for caring for their treasured pets and as sitters you are thankful to them for welcoming you into their home – they open up their homes to you, often introducing you to their families and neighbours and very often a strong and immediate bond is formed. Having the opportunity to meet new people all around the world is something we cherish and feel very grateful for.
Pet sitting can be truly life changing as it has been for us who have taken to pet sitting almost full time. Pet sitting can also open up opportunities to travel to countries you never thought you’d get to travel too – in our case California and Cape Town so far – where will our pet sitting journey take us to next?
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