So far in this latest series of Financial Travel Tips on free accommodation, we’ve discussed home exchanges, volunteering on boats, and work-trade arrangements. Today, we’re talking about one of my favourite ways to experience the world: House-Sitting.
The concept is as simple as it sounds: there are a number of websites that connect homeowners who need somebody to care for their pets/plants/etc in their absence, with travellers who are up for the task and enthusiastic about living a slice of “local life”.
Gigs can last from a few days to upwards of a year. Responsibilities – as well as amenities – can vary greatly. Thus, it’s important to apply for gigs that fit your needs and travel desires; for example don’t rope yourself into a rural position caring for many animals or requiring your presence all the time if you don’t want that responsibility.
Cast a Wide Net
There’s some fierce competition for housesitting jobs, so you have to be quick on the draw, professional, and present a good face. And you have to apply for a lot of jobs; even if you’re “god’s gift” to house-sitting, you can expect more rejections than successful applications.
Trusted HouseSitters –I’ve had good luck with this site a few times; there’s a favourable ratio of homeowners to house-sitters, giving you better odds of landing gigs.
The Caretaker Gazette -I’ve used this site since I started traveling, and have found both house-sitting and other work-trade volunteer arrangements here. I like the variety of both locations and positions listed here.
House Carers –I landed a gig or two with them in early years, though admittedly I let this subscription slip in favour of the above two sites.
And here are a few more sites that I haven’t yet used (for no reason in particular):
Managing an Online Business While House-Sitting
After spending years struggling with the work-life balance between managing my online business concurrent to either volunteering in trade for my accommodation, couch surfing, and volunteering on boats, I’ve found that house-sitting is the best match. (I can’t speak for home-exchanges in this realm, but I would assume it’s similar to house-sitting).
It allows me to enjoy the comforts (and privacy) of home (somebody else’s home, that is), and I can explore the world beyond my front door when the day’s work is done.
Oh yeah. Did I mention the accommodation is free?
If you want a little more hand-holding and armchair-house-sitting experience before you jump in, check out the article below for a few tips and e-books to help you in your house-sitting adventures.
Do you have any experience house-sitting? Where? Please share your tips and experiences in the comments!
More Forms of Free Accommodation:
House-Sitting isn’t the only way to enjoy free digs around the world. I’ve been doing it in one form or another since 2007. Check out this jam-packed resource to help you make your next trip a lot cheaper – and probably more enriching:
How to Get Free Accommodation Around the World