What is House Sitting and Pet Sitting Worldwide?

what is house sitting

1. What is House Sitting?

One of the questions we asked the most is how we can afford to travel the world. The answer is simple: with house sitting, but what is housesitting?

House sitting is where one or more people (the house sitters) live in and look after a house whilst its owner (the homeowner) is away (usually on holiday). To put it simply, think of it as babysitting, but houses instead of babies.

Each house sit is unique, but some homeowners lend the house sitters their car and some even provide food. The homeowners have peace of mind whilst they're away and don't have to fork out for kennel fees, the house sitters get to live rent free in (more often than not) luxurious places and the pets don't have to leave their homes or usual routines. Put simply, it's a win-win for all. 

Why would someone want a House Sitter?

Babysitting makes sense, but why would a house need looking after? It's not like it can get itself into any trouble, and it doesn't even need feeding or changing. WELL, when a homeowner is away, especially for a long time, things can and do go wrong:

  • The fuses blow and the owner will return to a defrosted freezer and a puddle of water. 
  • Plants need watering and grass needs cutting.
  • Houses start to grow mould or mildew.
  • Letterboxes overflow.

But perhaps the biggest risk or the worst thing that can go wrong is burglars. Have you ever seen Home Alone? Automatic switches that turn the lights on and off won't cut it anymore, homeowners' houses need to be properly lived in. However, I'm not going to sit here and pretend every empty house is automatically going to be burgled. More often than not House Sitters have an extra (very important) job: they are also pet sitters.

what is housesitting

2. Who are Pet Sitters?

You're probably sensing a theme here, but for continuities sake let me be thorough: pet sitting worldwide is where one or more people (the pet sitters) live with and look after a pet whilst its owner (the pet owner) is away (usually on holiday). I.e. it's basically housesitting, but with pets too. 

Why would anyone want a Pet Sitter?

That's what friends and relatives are for, right? Best friend Katy will come in and feed the cat twice a day whilst you're away, or Grandma will take the dog for a week. Well, there is a whole range of reasons why homeowners don't pick their friends or relatives to care for their pets, here are a few: 

  • They don't want to burden friends/relatives
  • Friends/relatives are coming on holiday too;
  • Friends/relatives aren't responsible enough (we're looking at you, raving Grandma);
  • Friends/relatives don't live close enough (namely true for expats);
  • Pets may be too much for friends/relatives (applies particularly to naughty and/or exotic pets).

Whatever the reason, friends/relatives often aren't an option. But isn't that what kennels are for? You go away and your pets go on holiday too? Again, there is a whole range of reasons why Home Owners don't want to put their pets in kennels, here are a few examples:

  • Kennels are expensive, house sitters are free;
  • Kennels are bad for pets - read more;
  • Kennels may not accept the pets (again true for naughty and/or exotic pets - ever tried putting a grumpy turtle in kennels?)
pet sitting worldwide
Who, me?

Whatever the reason, the main one is almost always this: pets are always more comfortable in their own homes. And generally, no matter how much the pets love their owners (which they do), or how happy they are when their owners are back (which they are), quite frankly they don't usually notice that their owners are gone. As long as they are being fed and walked at the same time and can sleep in their own bed (or yours).

house sitting worldwide

Okay, so you get why homeowners want house sitters, why do house sitters want to be house sitters? Lots of reasons.

For us, our first reason was to be able to live rent and bill free. We planned to carry on living as we'd done before (i.e. with a 9-5 job), but with a pet and with no monthly rental fees and electricity bills. And internet bills, and water bills, and council tax - house sitters don't generally pay for bills. 
what is house sitting
Fancy views like this instead of bills and rent? 

But it soon became clear to us that this wasn't where the advantages stopped. Soon we realised we'd be able to live anywhere in the world, still rent and bill free. 
what is housesitting
We took 'anywhere in the world' seriously, and headed out to Australia for nine months

Housesitting adds a new dimension to travelling you can travel cheaply and comfortablyI mean, your accommodation bills are A LOT cheaper than hostels, but you don't have to share with 6 other people, and you have your own kitchen, bathroom, washing machine etc. In fact, you often have more than one bathroom to yourself. The houses are often quite luxurious - we've stayed in places with pools and saunas, for example, so allow me to change 'travel cheaply and comfortably' to travel cheaply and luxuriously. 

3. How Often Do Those Two Things Go Hand in Hand?

Now, I could go on for hours about the other advantages of house sitting (and I have in this post here: Reasons you should House Sit) but let's stop and answer this: the opportunity to live worldwide, rent-free? There has to be some kind of catch, right? You're not allowed to leave the house? Or you have to do elaborate things for the animals? Or you have to work 4 hours a day (like with wwoofing or workaway).

What exactly does a house sitter do?

To put it simply, there are three main jobs:

1. Care for the animals - feed, water, walk if applicable
2. Care for the house - lock it up at night/when you're not in it, clean the dishes that you use (or use the dishwasher). Air/heat as applicable
3. Care for the garden - water, pick and eat the oranges when applicable.
trustedhousesitters discount code
We looked after an orange grove in Portugal, it watered itself (on a timer) and all we had to do was enjoy the fruit :)

[Read more: reasons to house sit in PortugalThat's pretty much it really. Though, of course, it varies from sit to sit, some dogs don't need walking, some need a couple of hours. Some houses don't have gardens, some come with gardeners... whatever your 'duties' you do a lot less work than you would be workaway/wwoofing and your rewards are a lot higher. 

What kind of pets do pet sitters look after?

pet sitting worldwide

Whatever you're comfortable with really. We started off with just cats or dogs (having grown up with both). Then moved on to both cats and dogs at the same time. Next came fish (really easy). Then chickens (easy too). After that, we branched out to sheep and horses. If pushed I'd say they are easier to look after than dogs, but I wouldn't recommend it for your first sit. Go for cats. We've also looked after guinea pigs, turtles, ducks and rabbits.

So hopefully that's answered your question of 'What is house sitting'. Maybe you have more questions,  we actually have a whole post of FAQs about housesitting which can be found here: Should I Become a House Sitter? Your FAQs.

House sitting worldwide

What about house sitting worldwide? Now housesitting doesn't have to be done World-Wide, we have a few friends who are using it to explore their own country further, and thus can still keep their day jobs. But for most travellers, the appeal of house sitting is that you can do it worldwide.So how do you do house sitting worldwide? We actually have a whole other post dedicated to how to get started: How To Start House Sitting - and Live Rent Free WORLDWIDE.

We also have a whole ebook Housesitting in Australia - a Guide For First Time House Sitters which tells you step-by-step how we got our first house sits - and how you can do the same. It also reveals all the silly things we wished we'd known beforehand, which will help you get your first sit quickly.

4. A Gift to Anyone Who's Read This Far: Trustedhousesitters discount code

Finally, what we will leave you with is this: We have got all of our top house sits from Trustedhousesitters and if you would like to sign up to them with an exclusive 10% discount all you have to do is click here: Trustedhousesitters discount codeSo there you have it, what do you think of House Sitting? Is it something you would like to try? 

If you have any questions contact us on FacebookInstagram or via email. Alternately leave a comment below!

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We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


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