Home Is Where The Housesit Is

December 18, 2018

First, a little holiday housekeeping. This will be our 216th and final Peepshow post in 2018 (I did the math), and for some reason they gave me the last word. Please direct all forthcoming complaints to our esteemed editor, Adam Wahlberg. That’s adamw@fasthorseinc.com.

Now, in lieu of standard Christmas clichés and a handful of general pleasantries, let’s cut to the chase. Housesitting is awesome, and I’ve been telling anyone who will listen (that’s you, in this case) what it’s all about and why it’s worth considering in your travel plans. Why stop now?

What It Is

The concept of housesitting – staying at someone’s house while they’re away, often on their own vacation – is nothing new, but the Internet has made it a heck of a lot easier. In a nutshell: homeowners want people to watch their house and take care of their pets. Sitters want a free place to stay and the added bonus of being around said pets. Enter sites like trustedhousesitters.com. Win-wins all around.

How It Works

It’s pretty straightforward. Sitters search and apply, owners review and accept (with a Skype session or two in between) and the rest is history. Start by signing up for an account and setting up a profile. I recommend creating a short video and completing all three levels of verification, too, which include background checks, external references, etc. This will give you the best shot at getting a sit right off the bat. When you’re accepted, you’ll get a welcome guide with all the necessary info. Once the sit is complete, you can request a review to further solidify your profile.

Why It’s Great

The best part about housesitting, without a doubt, is the fact that you can stay almost anywhere in the world for free. We sat nine times in six different countries, and when it was all said and done, our sits accounted for 104 free nights during our big adventure. Of course there are other perks, too. Like all but one of our homeowners left us a car to get around in, which made exploring the area that much easier. Then there’s the pets. As a dog lover but not yet dog owner, this was one of my favorite parts. Hands down. It’s sad to think about how we’ll probably never see our furry friends again, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Finally, housesitting gave us a chance to unpack, live like locals, meet amazing people and see what life is really like in different corners of the world.

Caveats

First, annual memberships through TrustedHousesitters (the site we chose and probably the most popular) are $119. There are other, cheaper options, but I think it pays to go with the best, especially when it’s still a fraction of what a hotel or Airbnb might cost. Just make sure you’re ready to use it. Second, it requires both flexibility and commitment. Flexibility because you might not get the sit you’re looking for or the dates you want, and commitment because, outside of day trips, you’ll be tied to one general location and a handful of daily chores. These were far from deal-breakers for us, but with less time and more constraints, they’re something to keep in mind. Oh, and if you’re allergic to pets or generally not a pet person, that’s probably the biggest caveat of all.

Final Thoughts

Housesitting has helped my wife and I explore the world. I’m not being dramatic when I say it’s one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. If you’d like to learn more or are ready to sign up and want 25 percent off your membership, don’t hesitate to hit me up. Clearly I like to talk about it.