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How to Travel for Free by Finding Housesitter Jobs

Being a digital nomad will provide you with a lot of freedom. Traveling to new locations whenever you want, moving to new cities in the blink of an eye, switching job positions to whatever role suits you at the time are only some of the perks of digital nomading. However, there are always downsides to what seems like the perfect lifestyle.

You’ll most likely worry about money since paychecks aren’t consistent in the beginning and hours could be spent making plans to figure out how you can create more income. Despite these setbacks, a lot of nomads find that it is worth the effort and will do twice the amount of work in order to maintain their lifestyles. Because of this, they often get creative by diversifying how they create income and how they budget their travel expenses.

With money being a major issue for many digital nomads, homesitting has become a majorly popular alternative to those looking to find cheaper rent and unique experiences.

For those of you not in the know, house and pet sitting is the practice of watching a home, and sometimes pets and plants, while the homeowner is away on vacation or for work. This idea isn’t new but has become popular enough that it is thought of as a way for travelers to find a cheaper place to stay in exchange for a workspace and a budget-friendly alternative in finding accommodations.

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Housesitter Jobs is Perfect for the Digital Nomad

Finding a homesitting gig is perfect for digital nomads since it provides free office space, great internet, a quiet area to work and most importantly, it will allow you to save money on accommodations. Most homesitters jobs will ask the sitter to be there for a long period of time and will often ask you to take care of family pets. This longer period of stay will provide the sitter with the opportunity to create a long term “office time.”

This is a great opportunity for digital nomads to be able to afford to live in many expensive cities that they may not have been able to afford otherwise. Another perk of some homesitting positions is the availability of vehicles use in order to take a little time off and explore. It may not be a vacation in a hotel room, but you do have access to a lot of amenities in unique locations!

Getting to Live Like a Local as a Long Term House Sitter

Another great perk of homesitting is that you get to see the local side of life. Most hotels and rentals will put you in the touristy areas, but housesitting could land you in the quieter countryside or suburban neighborhoods. When getting some free time, you can either ask the homeowners the local favorite diners, take a walk around or simply go to meet the neighbors. Who knows, you might just find your new favorite location from local recommendations.

For those looking to minimize the moving and get a fully immersive experience, finding long term house sitting is a very real possibility. Winter homestays are extremely popular and are easy to secure if a solid resume is established.

The good news is, it isn’t that hard to find your perfect sit and there are hundreds of sites out there catered specifically to those looking for their next home away from home. Here is a list of 11 sites that have available housesitter jobs. Start by deciding which location is best suited to you and your goals and then create your profile. You may have a lot of competition, so be diligent, professional and persistent while trying to find your first homesitting gig. 

1. TrustedHousesitters.com

Cost: $96/year

Location: Worldwide

Pros: Popular and has a lot of house sitter jobs always available. It also offers vet support over the phone and has a lot of references for new homesitters and professional housesitter.

Cons: Popularity leads to a lot more competition. It is also on the more expensive end making it important to ensure you have an established profile with reviews.

2. Rover.com

Cost: Depends on what the pet sitter charges.

Location: United States

Pros: This site is a little different and is geared towards pet sitters. It is also a great way for animal lovers to make a little extra cash while home sitting! When creating a profile the sitter lists their price and specific skills. The homeowners can then reach out to those who fit their needs.

Cons: Not always long term and maybe more of a local weekend type opportunity. You must be an animal lover and be prepared to take care of very specific pet needs.

3. SabbaticalHomes.com

Cost: $45-65/year

Location: Worldwide

Pros: Geared towards finding a place to either sit, or even rent, specifically for academics.

Cons: More expensive if you are not going to school.

4. Housesitter.com

Cost: $90/year for an upgraded profile

Location: United States and Canada

Pros: Offers full support if there are any issues as well as a highly user-friendly platform that allows both sitters and homeowners a number of features.

Cons: You have to upgrade to get a better-positioned profile and to allow for unlimited messaging.

5. MindMyHouse.com

Cost: $20/year

Location: Worldwide

Pros: A good number of house sits available and it sends out email alerts when new sits open up.

Cons: Not a whole lot of cons to this site! There is a little bit of something for everyone and the price is in the lower range. Some homeowners do tend to list last minute, so it is best to keep up with it on a regular basis if you are trying to land one.

6. HousesittingWorld.com

Cost: Free, $99 to upgrade

Location: Worldwide

Pros: This platform actually partners with other house sitting platforms to help you navigate multiple sites at once and then organize them with their tools such as document scanning, storage, and a detailed house caretaker calendar.

Cons: The upgrade is relatively expensive and the site is best for those who house sit on a regular basis, perhaps even full time.

7. TownandCountryHomesit.co.nz

Cost: $19+/year

Location: New Zealand

Pros: Everyone is given a thorough check to deter any problems like vandalism.

Cons: It is only within New Zealand and is best if you are looking for sits here or in a surrounding country.

8. Nomador.com

Cost: $89/year

Location: Worldwide, most popular in France

Pros: You only pay once you confirm a homesitter job and it has a well laid out platform and thorough checks for vetting both sitters and homeowners.

Cons: A newer site and may only have a few positions available at a time.

9. WorkingCouples.com

Cost: $5/month

Location: United States

Pros: A site made specifically for working couples to find places to stay and work together! This is geared towards finding seasonal or long term workers to fill positions such as camp managers.

Cons: Not great for the single homesitter looking for accommodation.

10. HouseCarers.com

Cost: $50/year

Location: Worldwide

Pros: A great number of sits available and has a free profile option that lets you list yourself and contact info.

Cons: The free option does not allow you to reach out to homeowners and you will probably want to upgrade.

11. LuxuryHouseSitting.com

Cost: $25/year

Location: Everywhere, but most popular in United States.

Pros: Luxury house sitting jobs will offer you a ton of benefits. Not only are the homes unique but they are also in beautiful locations that you may not find elsewhere.

Cons: Many homeowners do not list that they are available but instead rely on homesitters to message them to ask about availability. Homesitters are also expected to have a great profile and possibly reviews. There can be a fair amount of competition for the more popular houses too.

Creating the Perfect Homesitting Profile

A profile is very important to finding and nailing your dream home sitting jobs. It should reference you, your background, why you are qualified, and why you are the perfect fit for that particular position. Although housesitting is popular, many people need last-minute house sitting services and the number of applicants can range from hundreds to only a few. Whatever the case, to get the job you should look legitimate and know what you are doing.

A profile should have your recent photos as well as up to date info. Suspicious activity, such as partying pictures may not be the best option to list on your homesitter profile.

Try and add a photo of you with a pet or in another household or similar activity. It may help to add more information about yourself as a homesitter in your social profiles as well. Unless it is private, the homeowner will most likely look you up on Facebook.

Another great option once you get more established is to create your own quick website. This isn’t necessary but does show your dedication to your preferred homesitting resume.

Getting Homesitter References as a Beginner

As a beginner housesitter, the hardest thing to acquire is great references and recommendations. You may have created the most perfect profile, but if three other applicants did as well, and one has one or more 5-star references, then they will most likely get the job instead of you. Because of this, it is crucial to establish reviews or references you may have from past housesitting gigs in case you get asked. If you have them, then always be sure to mention it.

Whether you ask your family and friends to write you a quick review or to give you a phone number and email to call, this is a major step towards convincing potential homeowners that you are worth their time. Always include the references or a note to let them know that they are available to give the homeowners more information about their experiences with you. After finishing your first house sit, always ask the homeowner for an immediate review as well!  

Finding and Applying to short and long term house sitting jobs

Finding the best house sitting websites when looking for homesitting positions is critical. Not all platforms are equal, and most make you pay a fee. While there are some that are free, they are few and are not vetted quite as well. Your best bet would be to read peer reviews and maybe ask advice from other housesitters you may know.

It is especially important when searching for the best house sitting sites, to know the area in which you wish to housesit. Once you have narrowed down your dream locations, it will be easier for you to do your research and figure out which site has the most available homes in the location of your choice.

When you have found the right housesitting position, know the ins and outs. Ask about amenities like wifi, transportation, distance to town and so much more. Some house sitting jobs abroad can be very unique and might be eco-friendly or off the grid. This could be great for some people, or it could mean losing basic luxuries for others. Always check the photos closely and once you get in touch with the homeowner, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Leave no stone unturned because you don’t want to be stuck in a location that you will be miserable in!

What’s Next After Landing Your First Home Sitting Job

Not all house sitting positions are equal and you never know what you might encounter. The best route to take even before accepting a house sit is to ask as many questions to homeowners as possible, make sure all of your bases are covered, and even then, it is recommended to get yourself a checklist rulebook.

You can find basic checklists on many house sitting sites and forums. Always be sure to ask for emergency numbers, permission to invite people over and so forth.

Handling Issues with a Checklist and well Thought-out Plan

There are a number of unforeseen circumstances you may encounter while staying at someone’s home, especially long term. The best way to prepare for possible problems is to have a plan.

  • Always have a ready checklist with emergency numbers
  • Know how, where, and when is the best time to contact the homeowners
  • Know the location of the hospitals and vet clinics
  • Know whether you can use their vehicle in case of emergency
  • Know which neighbor or friends to contact if you have to leave for any reason

Homesitting Shouldn’t be Taken Lightly, Treat Each House and Pet as Your Own

Pet and home sitting is a serious responsibility. You are in charge of someone else’s property, and if pets are involved, you are in charge of live animals that are part of the family. Treat each house and pet sitting job as if it is your own. Just because you are staying there for free, does not mean that it is a vacation getaway.

Leaving a mess or a sick pet can mean a bad review and the end of your homesitting days, not to mention possible legal action in the worst-case scenario. If you aren’t up for the task in exchange for unique experiences and cheap travel, then maybe homesitting isn’t for you.


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