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How to see the world by house sitting

Update:

Our friends over at Trusted Housesitters have extended a special deal to our readers. If you are a homeowner who is thinking of trying a house sitter, you can get a six month free membership to Trusted Housesitters by using the code “married” when you register. If you are a house sitter who wants to try the service, you can get a 25% discount by using the same code.

House sitting!

Our email in-boxes are overflowing with questions on how to see the world by house sitting, and we can see why you guys are so interested. House sitting is a great way to see the world, meet new people, and learn to live like a local in some of the most amazing places on earth.

House sitting in Belgium means waffles!

I’m writing today’s post from a cozy, top-floor flat in an old building in Brussels, Belgium. There is a wall of windows and a terrace to my right, a shelf of great books behind me, and a well-equipped kitchen in front of me. The bed is comfortable, the upstairs office area a nice place to work if we need a desk, and the 2 frolicking cats add a lot of whimsy to the day. Add to that the ability to cook our own food, enjoy a blazing fast wifi connection, and even do our own laundry and you’ve got the makings of a pretty nice home away from home. Especially for people who don’t have a home.

We save a ton of money on housing, which is mostly just transferred to the entertainment budget when we are in a great city like Brussels.

We’re spending a month here in Belgium, and we’ve done multi-week gigs in England, Ecuador, and coming up soon on a houseboat in Amsterdam. After a slow start incorporating house sitting into our long-term travel plans, we are now having to turn down opportunities, and it didn’t take long for us to get here.

How we added house sitting to our long-term travel plans

We started our house sitting adventures almost as soon as we sold our home in Seattle. If you recall, we were homeless in May with a planned departure date of October 1, which left us a full summer to be nomadic in our own city. We rented a room from a friend and watched her beautiful house for her as she traveled frequently throughout the summer. Our other friends who lived up near the beach asked us to watch their dogs when they traveled. Still others asked us to watch their homes out in the ‘burbs or surrounding cities, which we never got around to because of all our social activities before leaving town. It was amazing how quickly the word got out that we were available and how many people reached out to us.

House sitting in Ecuador with the perk of a mountaintop hot tub

Our former neighbors asked us to stay at their vacation home in Ecuador at the start of our trip since they did not have it rented for the fall. We enjoyed 7 weeks in a beautiful rammed-earth home at the top of a mountain, and we were spoiled into thinking our travels would be like that all the time. We didn’t plan on doing any more house sitting after that.

It didn’t take long before long-term travel started to wear on us, though. (And no, I’m not looking for any sympathy here.) Little things like brewing your morning coffee, the ability to wash your clothes when you want or to cook a favorite meal are lost when you stay in a series of hostels or hotels, not to mention just having a comfy chair or couch to read a book or a desk to work at your laptop. These kinds of things are not always easily available to the long-term budget traveler.

Over time, we heard about other long-term travelers who used house sitting as a way to meet great people and see the world, most notably Sherry Ott and Pete and Dalene Heck. We followed their advice and it didn’t take long for the offers to start flowing in. We’ve gotten house sitting assignment from friends, other travelers we’ve met along the way, house sitting services, and even friends of friends on Facebook.

House sitting in the English countryside with horses as neighbors

Are you a good candidate for house sitting?

As a homeowner is trusting you with their home, you will have to pass certain requirements. Just think about what you’d want in a house sitter:

  • Writers, people who work online, long-term travelers, and retired people are excellent candidates for house sitting.
  • Someone with experience as a homeowner, ability to troubleshoot small emergencies, and comfort with a range of household pets is highly desirable. (I never realized how much my 3-year term as HOA president for our 10-unit townhouse would benefit us.)
  • This is one place where being older has its advantages. Homeowners want someone with experience and maturity, and a 45-year-old is going to get a lot more offers than a 25-year-old.
  • Being friendly and communicative with the homeowner is a plus. You will be interacting with their neighbors, delivery people, local merchants, and perhaps friends and business associates who call or come by while the homeowner is gone, and knowing that you are pleasant and follow up appropriately is a bonus.
  • References. You have to have good references for house sitting. It doesn’t hurt having a blog or active social media presence where people can easily find out more about you. (Unless what they would find is: “Dude! Out partying til 4 am AGAIN. I’m so wasted” on Twitter.)
Live the quirky village life while house sitting

 

 

How to get started in house sitting

  • Start local: Begin house sitting and pet sitting in your local area. Not only will you learn a lot of lessons that are easier to handle close to home, you will gain valuable experience and references for your international house sitting gigs.
  • Advertise yourself and network: Sign up for house sitting placement services, tell your friends on Facebook and Twitter, and make it easy for people to check you out. They are trusting their home to you, after all. Be as specific as possible (“I’ll be in France in August this year and would like to house sit in a village/Paris/farm.”)
  • Decide on your availability: Are you traveling long-term, out for summer vacation, or between jobs? Start looking for your house sitting gigs before you need them. Many home owners (though not all) arrange for house sitting long before they need it.
  • Calculate travel costs and visa requirements first: It may sound grand to house sit in an Italian villa for 4 months, but if you are not a resident of an EU country, you may not be allowed more than 90 days at a time to spend in Europe, even if you can afford the airfare to get there.
  • Realize that most house sitting opportunities are unpaid. Become a house sitter because you want to see the world, learn the local customs, and help out a homeowner. Don’t do it to make a living, because you won’t. Sometimes a there is a small financial transaction, either in money paid to the house sitters by the owners for above-and-beyond type of chores (large animals or managing rental property), or by the house sitters to the homeowner for utilities or other perks (like use of a car) in a long-term house sit in a popular property.
  • Be open to opportunities: Not every house sitting gig is going to be your ideal vacation spot (or your ideal season even if it is a great spot), but you can enjoy every single one of them with an open mind. We’ve stayed in cities, villages, the countryside, and on the top of a mountain. Soon we’ll even be in a houseboat. Each one provides a unique way of experiencing a country and could lead to new opportunities from the homeowner’s friends and neighbors.

Our favorite site for housesitting is Trusted Housesitters because of the extensive profile options (including video) and the easier search functions (some of the other sites don’t delete old listings, which makes searching cumbersome). We can search for the upcoming countries we plan to visit and see how a house sitting gig would fit into our travel plans. You can google “house sitting services” to find a variety of options out there, some specializing in specific markets.

To begin following your dream of traveling the world by housesitting, start by creating an plan to make it happen. Pick up a copy of our book, Dream Save Do, and learn how to put actions to your vision and get started today living the life you crave.

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About Betsy

Betsy Talbot can't live without a Moleskine notebook, her passport, and happy hour. She sold everything she owned to travel the world with her husband Warren in 2010, and she's been enjoying her midlife crisis ever since. Betsy writes about creating the life you want from the life you already have in her books and on the Married with Luggage website. Drop her an email at btalbot (at) marriedwithluggage (dot) com and check out her Google+ page.

Comments

  1. Brenda Sedore says:

    I love housesitting! We are currently sitting a 200 year old home in Umbria, Italy for two months. We found this job through mindmyhouse.com, but we are also on trustedhousesitters.com. After Italy we head to Sweden for two months. Housesitting has definitely been a great way to travel in comfort as well as helping us to meet many new friends. Daryl and I definitely recommend it. :)

    • Brenda, what a brilliant way to see Europe! And how cool to be able to compare local living in Italy to Sweden with a quick move to another house sitting gig. I love it.

    • Maria Westerlind says:

      Hi,

      You are going to Sweden next! Great fun, if you ever are in Stockholm maybe you would like me to show you around!

      • Hi, Maria. We are actually not getting to Sweden next – we won’t be there until next year. But we are planning to make quite a tour of Scandinavia and would love to meet up with you while we are there. We may even have a reader or two joining us for legs of that trip – wouldn’t that be fun?

    • Maria Westerlind says:

      My comment seem to have ended up in the wrong place (but it would be great fun to meat you to Betty!!!) I hope this makes it to Brenda. Great fun that you are going to Sweden! Let me know if you are coming to Stockholm and maybe I can show you around!

    • hello I saw the umbria house sit on mindmyhouse , but it is no longer there. Is this the one that used to be some kind of educational center? please send me ( gailnava@yahoo.com) contact info of the owners. also I am looking for house sitters for my home in Mexico check out housesitmexico.com to see my listing called Cuernavaca.

    • Hello Brenda, the housesit in Umbria is no longer on the mindmyhouse website…Is it the one that was once an education center? I would love to get in touch with the owners as I would love to house sit for them for at least three months while i finish writing my book .Also I am looking for house sitters for my house. It is listed on housesitmexico.com ….under the name Cuernavaca. Please let me know about your experience at the housesit as well. thank you,Gail Nava

  2. Hi Betsy, your candour regarding the the pitfalls of budget long term travel is refreshing. It certainly can be difficult to achieve a certain level of comfort with budget long term travel.

    I did housesitting a few times and its great to save money on accomodation but looking after dogs and cats became a bit of a tie which impacts on your freedom to come and go as you please and to explore the greater surrounding area. Perhaps just cats are easier to look after as they may be more self sufficient?

    • Rob, I do think cats and fish are easier than dogs, though I wouldn’t rule out a house sit with dogs. It would just depend on the location, I guess.

      We’ve seen some listings that require the house sitter to stay inside at least 22 of 24 hours a day to keep the pets company – and I’m betting that there is someone out there that is perfect for it. Just goes to show there is something for everyone.

      • I would love to housesit for cat owners as we are cat lovers ourselves! This is a lovely start to the rest of my life – I wish I could spend my life travelling but money is finite. It is however, not a unreachable dream though. Thanks for the inspiration!

      • barffie, we’ve now cat-sat for 2 people in 2 different countries and loved both. If you love cats, you’ll have no problem finding a few to spoil while you see the world.

  3. Love these tips and think housesitting is the perfect addition to our “no vacation required” life. Thanks for sharing!

    • Kent, you and Caanan would be great house sitters. No Vacation Required becomes No References Required (just check out our blog!). :)

  4. This is exactly what Dwayne and I are looking forward to doing someday when we retire (which we hope is sooner rather than later, but Mr. Market isn’t helping lately, LOL).

    We used to have 6 cats at one point. Sadly, we are now down to one cat. We have made a conscious decision to not get any more pets so that we can be free to do house sitting when that day comes. It’s hard, b/c we love animals and those adopt me pics can really pull on your heartstrings!

    We utilized a housesitter for 2 weeks this past June when we went to Alaska. We found her through housecarers.com. It was an awesome experience and gave us insight into what it is like to be on the other side of a house sit arrangement. Our sitter was fantastic, a very cool person, and we would definitely have her sit for us again.

  5. Woot! Thanks for the shout-out guys, AND for getting us in touch with our next housesitting opportunity in Brussels! Why own a house when you can just stay at others all over the world? I’m not sure we’ll ever give this lifestyle up… :)

    • Dalene, you guys will love Brussels, and I’m so glad the opportunity worked out. And thanks for shouting out about it – I should have included the fact our little tribe of house sitters looks out for each other and refers when appropriate. :)

  6. Like Lorraine (hi there!) I used Housecarers to find a couple to stay at our home for an extended visit and was very happy with the quality of the applicants. We now have a friend looking to travel long-term and I’ve encouraged him to consider housesitting locally and once he begins traveling.
    I hope that your article encourages more people to housesit, because there are plenty of folks who need housesitters–like us, still chained to our work desks, but able to slip away for 2-3 weeks at a time!

    • Hi Sarah! :-) Nice to meet you! Hoping to break those work chains as soon as possible, LOL.

    • Sarah, what a great idea to encourage your friend to house sit! Whether a person is traveling, between jobs, or early retired, house sitting is a fantastic way to see the world, get a new perspective on life, or even work on a project that needs undivided attention. I got a lot of writing done last month in England, and it wouldn’t have happened without a quiet place to work.

  7. I’d love to try housesitting but it might be harder finding gigs for a ‘family’. Might have to wait till the kids are gone. We rented a home for a month last year when we downsized but it was somewhat stressful having to keep telling the kids to be careful with this/that as it wasn’t our home.
    Just curious but have you felt any downsides to housesitting (besides having to leave a lovely home when the owners return :)?

    • Hey, Joanna. I think you’re right about the low availability of family house sitting, though I have seen farms and other more rural options that do allow for families.

      The only downsides we have faced are typical of what everyone will encounter in house sitting: house sitting opportunities are not usually “prime season” in the area you are going, and if you have never been to a particular area you might find that you don’t really like it (or have an allergy to the pets, hay fever with the local pollens, or too rural/too urban). It’s part of the experience to work around those issues, and knowing it is a short-term gig is what makes it still worthwhile.

      The upsides are so much better – a well-stocked kitchen, a house that is truly “lived in” with all the amenities as opposed to a basic furnished rental, and a neighborhood instead of a tourist area. We have not regretted a single house sit we’ve done, though we have regretted a few long-term stays that we paid for ourselves!

  8. Oh my!!! I can’t tell you how excited I am after reading this post. We are thinking about going to Thailand or Mexico before we have to head back to the US and I would love to rent a house. It would be awesome for us to find a house on the beach for month and just chill. I am so excited just writing this…hheheehehehe
    I have to agree with Joanne that since I have kids I don’t know if some houses would want to rent to us, however we also are not the types to trash or let our kids trash things and are more than happy to make minor home repairs on our own if they are needed.
    Thank you so much for all of the links and resources. That would be so much better on our budget if we could house sit vs a renting. :) Smiles from China!

    • Hey, Paz. A month on the beach sounds fantastic! If you want to do something like that, it pays to start putting out feelers now. You may find a real estate company that needs to keep a home occupied during the low season or an absent homeowner who needs to sell a home and keep it occupied in the meantime to prevent vandalism/problems. Those people may be more willing to work with a small family like yours for a longer-term house sit.

      We have a friend who lives half the year in Mexico and she says it restores her soul and creative juices to do so. And I know she does it fairly cheaply. And of course we’ll give you the skinny on Thailand once we get there. :)

      • Betsy…okay just spent the last few hours surfing these sites…at work. Shhh! I am officially putting my feelers out there now! Hope you don’t mind.

        We are a family of four who are very clean and tidy looking for a long term stay in either Thailand or Mexico. We would like to be near the beach and have a relaxed atmosphere. Our children are small and we are dog & cat lovers.

        So there you have it! My first official feeler. I can’t wait to hear about Thailand. I have heard so many good things, especially about northern Thailand.

        How awesome is that! Thanks again for the post…I needed it!

  9. Tranque Fuller says:

    Wow! My eyes are opened. I had no idea that this was such a feasible option.

    House-sitting is really an ideal situation for Yumi and I as it fits in with our concept of “travel”. We’re not really the back-pack your way through Europe types (okay . . . let’s be honest here; Yumi isn’t! lol!! (and she’ll readily admit that; a sort of “been there; done that” thing. ) And mad dashes for 2 – 3 weeks through a country trying to see everything you can is far from our style either.

    But a leisurely time hanging out in a city learning the local cafe’s and restaurants and getting to meet people is right on the money! We’re going to have to get serious about doing this in the near future . . . once I take care of the latest monster project of course. (I’m also hoping Japanese immigration “plays ball” a bit for me which will smooth the road a little for more extended travel.)

    Thanks for being such a great resource for fantastic info. And once again, thanks for living your dream and setting the example for the rest of us to follow — and blazing some trails for us.

    Be Present. Expect Success. Live with Passion!
    T

    • Tranque, I didn’t even tell you about the shopping available here in Brussels. :) House sitting really is a great way to get to know a city at a leisurely pace, enjoying some of the comforts of home like a well-equipped kitchen but still allowing for plenty of time (and budget) to go out and enjoy new things.

      The only downside is when you meet the homeowners first – like we did here in Brussels – and discover that you really, really like them and don’t want them to leave. Which is, of course, why you are there in the first place!

  10. Daelene and Peter have gotten me interested in house sitting, now this even more so. Can’t believe I have been travelling for so long and never even thought about it.
    Do you find there are opportunities for house sitting for those with children. We have a four year old and any day now a newborn

    • Caz- just wanted to say hi! I also have a four year old and a 1.5 yr old. Congrats on the new baby and for traveling abroad. I am checking out your blog now. :)
      Paz

    • Hi, Caz. Congrats on the new baby! I’m not sure about house sitting opportunities for families – we always just search for ourselves, though I have seen some farm-type settings where children are welcome. I do think it is much easier to find a house sitting gig if you are single or a couple, though a home with children might be open to it. I’d recommend listing yourselves on a service and see what happens – if you’ve been traveling for a while that gives you a leg up on someone just looking for a one-time gig that fits into their vacation window.

      Good luck!

  11. Found your post through the wonderful Hecktic Travels folks and glad to get more info on housesitting. I am going to look to do some of this in 2012, for sure. Many thanks!

    • Hi, Michael. Pete and Dalene were the ones who convinced us that our occasional house sitting could actually become a regular part of our travels, and we are so grateful. We’ve met some amazing people this way and had experiences that could not be duplicated in a hotel or hostel. So we think you will find this a great addition to your travels!

  12. This is GREAT information! I’ve thought briefly about housesitting before, but never seriously… now I’m thinking seriously about it thanks to your post. :)

    • Emily, it is a fun way to see the world, get to know local people, and do something nice for a homeowner or pet owner who wouldn’t be able to travel otherwise. Lots of people don’t want to leave their pets in a kennel for a month, and I understand that. Hope you take the plunge and try it – we think you’ll like it.

  13. Love reading about house-sitting! Some people are so scared of it, so I always love when I see people sharing the word. When I found out I was staying in Costa Rica during rainy season, I found a very nice couple happy to have me house-sit while they were out of town. It was so wonderful! And they turned out to be snowbirds — so I ended up staying a few months after the rains stopped. It was a great experience!

    • Abby, aren’t those the best kinds of arrangements? You just never know what kind of opportunities will open up when you get to know someone locally. What a great experience!

  14. Great post! I had no idea there were actual housesitting websites out there! We housesat a few times on our Alaska – Argentina bike trip and it was AWESOME – gave a place to call home for a little while. It was so nice to park the bikes and stay put for a month or so.

    We found all of our houses through word of mouth, but now that we know there are official sites for housesitting, we will definitely check them out!

    • Hi, Nancy. House sitting is perfect for you guys, especially. Most do not come with the use of a car, so if you are not in a city, you have to hoof it to get around. Having a bike is a plus!

  15. Great to read about your housesitting experiences and tips. It seems such a sensible and fun travel option. Although it probably doesn’t fit our circumstances immediately, I’m giving it some serious consideration for the future.

    • Hi, Cathy. It is a sensible option, and a win-win for everyone. But you have to be in the right mindset for house sitting – it is not a way to travel, but a way to enhance your travels. I think you’ll like it!

  16. House sitting – one of the many ways I paid for my university tuition years ago. Also found that it increased/heightened my creativity which is great for artists/writers. :-)

    • Maria, I think writers are the perfect candidates for housesitting – even more so than long-term travelers. As you found, it is easier to be creative in a home-y space than in a sterile dorm room or hotel.

  17. These are some top-notch tips. Something to consider definitely for slow travelers… :)

  18. I just spent a few weeks reading your blog from the beginning – it was great! I love how you started blogging right from the beginning and I loved following you on your adventure. I’m currently saving for my own trip – not round the world, but round Europe for starters, to follow the trails of medieval culinary and religious history. Your blog has been a great inspiration. And I’ll have to look into housesitting.

    If you’re ever in Denmark (Aarhus) I’ll buy you a beer and bake you a cake.

    • Sif, how cool that you read the whole thing! Now you won’t have to buy the tell-all book. :) We love to hear stories about people chasing their own dreams, and what a great topic for your travels through Europe. Now THAT would be a great blog showcasing medieval foods and cooking instruments along with the modern equivalent. (“This is the ancient food called “haggis” and this is the modern equivalent called, um, haggis!”)

      As we just told Marjorie, we aren’t going to Scandinavia until next year, but when we do we’d love to meet up. How could we turn down beer and cake?

  19. I can’t wait to try house sitting. It seems like a great way to save money traveling, especially in Europe!

  20. Hi Warren and Betsy,
    My name is Marjorie and I’m a Dutch woman living in Neck, the Netherlands, a very small village near Amsterdam. I am following your blog since about a half year and I really like your way of living. I’m happy to read that you’re in Brussels now, I hope you like it there. And that you are going to visit Amsterdam as well. I do hope you like it there too and that you are able to look beyond the obvious things (drugs, red-light-district etc.) because Amsterdam and the rest of the Netherlands have so much more to offer. If you have the opportunity I would advise you to rent a bike and take a tour to the region North from Amsterdam (Waterland, Zaanstad, etc.) it is really beautiful and really, really Dutch. Anyway, I’ll hope you have a really good time. Bye, Marjorie.

    • Marjorie, thank you for your suggestions! We are looking forward to bicycling around the city and taking in the museums and other cultural offerings. We know that Amsterdam is much more than coffee shops and red-light districts, and we are looking forward to experiencing all of it. We had not considered riding outside the city until now, so thank you for that. We are planning to schedule a little Amsterdam meet up while we are there and hope you will come say hello in person.

      • Hi Warren and Betsy,
        Just one thing: if you are going to take bike trips in Amsterdam (or anywhere else in the Netherlands) , please don’t wear a helmet ! Unless ofcourse you really want to look like a tourist ;-). Dutch people don’t wear helmets when they are riding on their bikes. We use our bikes all the time from a very young age until the day we cannot ride a bike because we are to old to do it. And we never ever wear a helmet. We think i’ts silly, like wearing a helmet when you are going for a walk ! Ofcourse I don’t know what you normally do but I know the concept is a bit strange for most foreign people.

      • That’s an interesting perspective, Marjorie. Maybe because bike riding is so common in your country people are used to looking out for bicyclists. I think most people in the US wear helmets because biking to get from place to place (instead of just for fun/exercise away from busy streets) is a relatively new thing. It is still hard to ride in most cities and bike/car accidents are somewhat common. It will be nice to try bicycling in a place where everyone does it and see how it compares to our experience in the US. Thanks for the advice!

  21. These are excellent tips! We have ever tried house-sitting (only house-swapping) but everyone we meet who is doing it seems to be loving the lifestyle.

  22. What a great informative post! Andrew and I hope to be on the other side of house-sitting in the future. I will say though that having house-sitters in our flat has made our vacations so much more enjoyable. Last summer, when we had Sherry there, was the first time we felt really relaxed leaving the house and cats for so long. We also had the benefit of meeting a great new friend. You guys coming this summer has been the icing on the cake. Not only did we get to meet our ‘twins’ but we get to watch you guys discover and explore a country we’ve fallen in love with. I can’t wait to pick your brains when we get back to Brussels!

    • How cool to hear from the homeowner we are house sitting for on a blog post about house sitting!

      Another bonus is meeting people who can become great friends, and I feel like we have that with you guys. Looking forward to continued adventures (and duking it out with Sherry over who gets to do this next year…or maybe all 3 of us house sit? :) But of course then you wouldn’t want to leave!

  23. I’m all for it….we never want to leave our 3 cats
    to just someone who “stops in and feeds them”….
    We got spoiled when we lived in Garmisch by
    A friend who Always housesit for us. Being new
    In Brussels its been hard to meet someone like that locally
    So I’m all about people housesitting for us!

    • I love hearing from the homeowners. Your upcoming house sit experience will be great – no worries about your furry friends while you are away. That has to make your trip more enjoyable.

  24. I would like to try this, but being only 27- I wonder how many options we would have. hmm…

    • I do think it is harder for younger people to get house sitting gigs, but certainly not impossible. And we are all getting older by the minute, so your odds are improving with each breath. :)

  25. Super useful guide, thanks for sharing!

  26. What a great blog post! This really covers everything you need to know about becoming a house sitter and what a great experience it is. House sitting really does seem to be becoming a genuine worldwide phenomenon as people realise they can escape the everyday grind and visit fabulous places around the globe without restrictive accommodation costs. It’s also proving hugely popular with home and pet owners who can go away safe in the knowledge that everything is secure and cared for at home.
    Thank you so much Betsy and Warren for the vote of confidence in TrustedHousesitters.com. We really appreciate your support and wish you many more happy house sitting experiences in the future.
    Lisa.

    • Hey, Lisa. Thanks for coming by to comment. We are really excited about the opportunities house sitting has given us to meet new people and explore place in depth, and we love that we are helping home and pet owners at the same time enjoy their vacations without worry. It really is the perfect combination of needs and services, and we are looking forward to many more house sitting adventures in our future. Thanks for providing such a great service to help connect us all together!

  27. Our friends over at Trusted Housesitters (http://www.trustedhousesitters.com) have extended a special deal to our readers. If you are a homeowner who is thinking of trying a house sitter, you can get a six month free membership to Trusted Housesitters by using the code “married” when you register. If you are a house sitter who wants to try the service, you can get a 25% discount by using the same code. Thanks to Lisa at Trusted Housesitters!

  28. Good stuff here, thanks. I hope to start traveling the world by house sitting sometime in the future. I prefer home bases and living places rather than just traveling through.

    • Stephen, it’s a great way to travel. You make friends, get to know the local shopkeepers, and really get a taste of what it is like to live in a place as opposed to just traveling through. It makes a big difference. Good luck in your travels!

  29. Bertha Burris says:

    It was so nice to park the bikes and stay put for a month or so. Emily, it is a fun way to see the world, get to know local people, and do something nice for a homeowner or pet owner who wouldn’t be able to travel otherwise.

  30. Adrian Horn says:

    We love to hear stories about people chasing their own dreams, and what a great topic for your travels through Europe. ) And mad dashes for 2 – 3 weeks through a country trying to see everything you can is far from our style either. It is however, not a unreachable dream though.

    • Hi, Adrian. We love seeing the world through housesitting. In fact, we’re thinking of another gig as soon as we leave Thailand. It is really a perfect blend of traveling and setting down roots, and the bonus is that you can do it over and over again.

  31. Tasha Mccray says:

    Some people are so scared of it, so I always love when I see people sharing the word. Market isn’t helping lately, LOL).

  32. We will be starting our RTW trip this next year and we will need to look into this. This could save a lot of money that would allow us to travel longer. Great article!

    • Jason, be sure to check out our promotion with Trusted Housesitters on the Try Something New ezine. You could win a free 6-month membership! It is a great way to see the world.

  33. LOVE housesitting, been doing it for years. Have tried housecarers.com but found it difficult to get sits as it’s very competitive, usually get mine through word of mouth or ozhousesitters.com.au (though this site is limited to Australia and New Zealand)

  34. Hello foks: We are registered with two house care sites and have yet to have a response. Our focus was in Ecuador and as soon as a house sitting ad appears, it is snapped up. I must be doing something wrong. We are a mature couple, handy with tools, love pets, used to have a farm, do not smoke or drink. I don’t get it. Frankly, I am tired of paying for membership for house sitting sites and not getting anywhere. I do not like Facebook as I find it is too much of an invasion of my privacy. Your thoughts?

    • I don’t know, but I’m interested to your post, because I was super intrigued by the house sitting idea and wondered how successful it would be to sign up for one of the sites. Like you, we are a mature couple, own a home, handy with tools, love pets etc.

      • Hi, Sally. I’d highly recommend housesitting as a way to see the world and immerse yourself in the local culture. You don’t have to sign up for the sites to start browsing, so I’d recommend just looking around and seeing what fits your interests. Good luck!

    • interested to SEE your post – bad proofreader!

  35. Thanks for this information-packed post. We’ve really enjoyed Couchsurfing and Servas for short-term stays – just recently wrote about some experiences – and House-sitting seems like a natural extension for long-term stays (which don’t fit the CS/Servas model.) We will definitely incorporate this in our plans for longer trips coming up.

  36. Hi Betsy,

    Thanks for your inspirational writing and ideas. We are really interested in the concept of housesitting.

    Usually our dogs go to kennels when we holiday with our family, but it doesn’t feel as good as the time we had a friend stay in our home with her family to look after our oldest dog. We have 2 sons at university, 2 more living independently at home and a daughter still at school, so apart from a complete family vacation my husband and I (composers) have a certain degree of freedom to spend longer on our work trips abroad – taking our daughter with us. I wonder if you might have any insights into housesitting houses with (in tune & playable) pianos?

    Cheers,
    Maria

    • Hi, Maria. There are plenty of homes with pianos to house sit…if it’s something you’re looking for, simply state it in your profile and when you reach out for house sit offers. When we describe ourselves as writers who love the outdoors, we attract homeowners who share some of our interests. They generally live in places where it is ideal to walk or have great book collections or appreciate our need for a speedy internet. They like knowing writers are creating in their space. So I’d recommend just saying what you want…and you’ll find a music-loving homeowner who’d be thrilled to have a composer enjoy her piano while she travels. Good luck!

  37. Hi Betsy,
    I love to find other people who are joining my crusade to tell the world about house sitting. My husband Conrad and I LOVE house sitting. Our first assignment was in Copenhagen for six weeks, then off to Spain, then Italy, and the United States. It’s such a great way to immerse in a culture and feel like a local, as well as all the things you mentioned like cooking your own meals and having comfortable surroundings to come “home” to each day.
    Thanks for passing along the information of this fantastic low-cost way to travel the world. I wish you happy future house sitting.
    Josie

Trackbacks

  1. [...] recently read about the wonderful world of house sitting at  Married with Luggage. We would love to care for someone’s house while exploring a new [...]

  2. [...] August was another month without any accommodation expenses (whoohooo!). Thanks to a wonderful house-sitting opportunity in Brussels we spent the month exploring the city. Brussels is a wonderful city, full of great [...]

  3. [...] explore, the cost was going to be prohibitive. However, thanks to wonderful friends and some great housesitting opportunities, we were able to stay here in Europe for over 5 months and all for under our monthly [...]

  4. [...] see the world if you are flexible and open to new opportunities.  If you are interested, we wrote a detailed article on Married with Luggage with more details and discounts for getting [...]

  5. [...] work with Trusted House Sitters. Warren and Betsy wrote an informative post about their experience house-sitting around the world; an interesting read from the perspective of the house-sitter. It’s a great way to travel on a [...]

  6. [...] Whenever possible, stay where there is a kitchen. Whether this is a hostel, apartment, or a housesitting gig a kitchen can save you a bundle. While in Europe, where the food is significantly more expensive, [...]

  7. [...] you would wish your own to be respected.  I have been looking at  house-sitting websites, reading blogs, and getting inspired.  Instead of continually moving, getting glimpses as you go, the [...]

  8. [...] we house sit, we don’t talk too much about what we want. What we do instead is focus on how our skills and experience would benefit the homeowner. Yes, we have been homeowners, landlords, and HOA board members before. Yes, we love animals and [...]

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