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For the past couple of weeks I’ve been experiencing something new; my first house sitting gig. I got the idea a year ago when I came across Trusted House Sitters, a membership website that allows people to either search for someone to watch over their homes and pets, or to search for house sitting jobs all over the world. They had me at “all over the world”. Read on to see if house sitting could be perfect for you.

Pros

  • Besides the annual fee, it’s completely free. I’m staying in a 3 bedroom house where I can literally see the ocean as soon as I step outside and it’s all free. I would have had to pay at least a couple of hundred per night for an Air BnB that is a comparable size and location.
  • It’s perfect for slow travel. If you have a considerable amount of time to get to know a place, this situation is ideal. You’re staying in a real neighborhood and can get to know the surrounding area well. You can also get to know your neighbors and meet locals who are from the area you are visiting.
  • I don’t know about you, but I’ve stayed at a few Air Bnb’s lately that have had that icky gross feeling to them. It just reeks of constant occupants but without the fleet of staff to keep it clean like a hotel. But not with housesitting. A real family lives in the house and you aren’t one of many coming in and out. Instead you’re one of the few.
  • In some cases the house sits come with perks that you’d never find with a hotel or and Air Bnb. For example, some of them come with maid service and cars available for your entire stay. Even those that do not have these luxurious perks still come standard with wifi, laundry and a full kitchen. These are not a given when staying in a hotel and can really add up or be a pain in the butt if you’re having to find a laundry or eat out every night. While doing a house sit you are able to do your laundry free of cost, use the wifi, and even have access to television or Netflix.
  • If you’re someone who enjoys pets and the companionship and love they bring, you’re in luck. Just about every house sit involves a cat or dog, or many cats and dogs. Pets are great company, especially if you’re in an outdoorsy place and get to take the dog with you on a hike or stroll. It also adds routine to your vacation if you enjoy having structure to your day.
    Penny has been great company and so loving.

    Penny has been great company and so loving.

Cons

  • It’s not really free. Yeah, I know what I said, but in exchange for the living space comes responsibility. There are animals to care for, and although it might not be much work, it’s still work. As a result you really can’t really go that far or be away too long.
  • It’s difficult to build your whole trip around a house sit. For example, when planning my current trip to Los Angeles, I wanted to take a side trip to Puerto Rico for a few days or drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. But once the house sit was all set, I couldn’t back out and I certainly couldn’t be missing in action while I was supposed to be house sitting.
  • It’s not easy to get the house sit you want. When searching for the house sits, the online system lacks functionality. You cannot currently get notifications for specific locations, so you have to constantly be on the lookout. They also get filled pretty quickly. So while you may be the first to apply for that 6 month house sit in New Zealand and really have your heart set on it, someone else gets it. However, the 6 week house sit in Portugal has yet to be filled. Extreme flexibility and open mindedness is required.
    This area in Hermosa Beach was a great place to walk and was located near the home where I house sit.

    This area in Hermosa Beach was a great place to walk and was located near the home where I house sit.

Overall I’ve really enjoyed my house sit and as we speak I’m applying for more. I’m frugal when it comes to travel and when you’re paying off debt or worried about your finances, it’s a no brainer. The $100 membership fee has saved me at least $1000 already. Click here if interested in joining and receive a 20% discount for membership. Happy housesitting!