World travel is only a dream for some, since costs can quickly add up, especially when it comes to accommodations.
But some savvy and hard-working travelers are finding a way around accommodation expenses: they trade a place to stay for providing house sitting and pet sitting services. This arrangement can cut travel costs significantly, and has other perks as well.
Firstly, house sitting allows travelers to live like locals, cook their own meals (thus saving money on restaurant budgets), and to stay in great locations. Heidi Medina, an experienced house sitter and freelance writer, shares that
[a] huge perk of using house sitting while traveling is that we’ve been able to stay in
amazing locations and housing we would not have been able to afford otherwise. Like a
two bedroom flat in London 10 minutes walk from Tower Bridge or a penthouse condo in
Denver, Colorado, a five-bedroom home two minutes walk from the beach in Dublin,
Ireland, even a four bedroom luxury farmhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Medina emphasizes that house sitting is not just a free place to stay, however. There are responsibilities that come with the trade, and the agreement between the home owners and house sitters must be honored. Homeowners and house sitters agree on the trade ahead of time, stating expectations from each party.
Understanding your responsibilities
Having a contract can go a long way in ensuring that these expectations are known and met. Because house sitting is often considered part of the “sharing economy,” some will argue that a contract feels unfriendly and unnecessary. It’s ultimately up to the house sitter and homeowner whether a contract will be signed.
Knowing that house sitters exchange property management for a place to stay, some may argue that professional property management services may suffer. After all, several house sitters still charge money in exchange for taking care of your home. Ultimately, exchanging money or considering this a straight trade will be up to the homeowner and house sitter, as well as the platforms they use to find each other.
Finding house sits
For those who wish to try house sitting, finding houses independently may be difficult. This is where house sitting platforms come in. Medina and her husband use TrustedHousesitters. Using the platform comes at a cost of $119 per year; therefore, it is not the cheapest option. But as Medina says, “while $119 might seem expensive, when compared to the cost of hotels or Airbnb rentals, landing one sit pays the fee.” She also states that this has been the platform that was most helpful in finding house sits. The platform even helped them line up house sits during the transitional period after their Denver rental agreement ended and before their move to Portugal.
For those who work remotely or who are working towards location independence, house sitting can be a great solution for cutting accommodation costs. I tcan also provide an opportunity for living like locals for short periods of time. For Medina and her husband, who earn their living from online CAD classes, freelance writing, and their online platform, FlyAwayU, the house sitting lifestyle is perfect.
If house sitting may be in your future, there are several places online to learn more about what it entails. This article from 4-year veterans of house sitting shows how you can live a life of luxury while slashing housekeeping costs, and this article will tell you seven skills you must have to become a house sitter.