There’s been a lot of talk about housesitting around the internet lately, especially among digital nomads, as a way to get amazing free accommodation as you travel in exchange for looking after someone else’s home and usually pets.
We were first introduced to the idea of looking after people’s home and pets in exchange for free accommodation by Jess and Dani when we met for the first time in Chile in February 2013. After that meeting, we bought their ebook, the Ultimate Guide to Housesitting and worked on setting up our profile.
Unfortunately, South America was probably not the best place to start trying to housesit, as on the whole, it hasn’t really taken off there.
However, shortly after signing up to one site, we were contacted by a woman living in a very rural part of Chile asking if we’d be interesting in looking after her house and dogs while she was away, which was a pleasant surprise. Unfortunately, the dates didn’t work out, and spending almost a month in such a remote location didn’t really appeal to us.
Fast forward eighteen months, we’re now back in Europe, and we’ve just finished our very first housesitting assignment. We looked after three cats and an apartment in suburban Stockholm, close to a nature reserve.
At first, Zab was a little concerned that he would end up doing all the work of looking after the cats as I am not so much a pet person. However, he was pleasantly surprised when he got up one morning to discover that I had already fed and watered the cats, and emptied their litter tray all on my own!
Overall, we found the experience very pleasant, and having our own place to concentrate on our work, while also being able to discover somewhere new, all for free, really worked for us and we’re looking forward to hopefully doing it more in the future. Also, I found having a clear routine of getting up with a purpose of looking after animals very satisfying and made for a good start to my day.
Apart from the Ultimate Guide to Housesitting (which is really excellent, and which I highly recommend investing in if you want your first time housesitting to go well), there are plenty of other bloggers have written excellent guides to housesitting.
I’m not going to repeat the same advice here, so instead, here is a roundup of the most useful free guides we’ve found around the internet:
- 1 Dad, 1 Kid's guide, parts 1 & 2
- Anglo Italian's guide
- Charlie on Travel's guide
- Goats on the Road's guide, parts 1, 2 & 3
- Hungry Escapade's guide
- Location Independent's guide
- Notes of Nomads' guide, parts 1, 2, 3 & 4
- Wanderluster's guide
- Solo Traveler's guide
We are currently signed up to three sites: House Carers (mostly Europe) Mind My House (mostly UK and Australia) and Trusted Housesitters (international) and we find having memberships to more than one site very useful and like each site for slightly different reasons.
To find out more about how we travel as housesitters, get our free ebook “How We Travel as Gay, Vegan, Digital Nomads” when you sign up to our monthly newsletter with the form below!