How to Become a Long-term, International House Sitter

house sitter jobs

Don't you hate it when you want to travel the world safely and comfortably but you're broke af? I know I did: In 2013 I graduated with £20K of student debt weighing on my shoulders and zero job opportunities to look forward to (which is ironic because I specifically chose to study maths for all the good job opportunities, lol). Additionally, after 3 years of corrupt, unjust landlords I had zero desire to rent, but (with that minus £20K in the bank) it wasn't like I could be a boomer and buy a house. So, I did what any sane person would and I hopped on the next flight to the other side of the world. Why? Because I'd found a long-term house sit opportunity in Australia:

1. What is House Sitting?

House sitting is a life-hack that, when done right, everyone can benefit from. House sitters look after homeowners' houses (and more often than not pets) whilst the homeowners travel away. This allows the homeowners to truly relax whilst on holiday, with the knowledge that their nest and their beloved fur-children are in safe hands. It also saves them hundreds (if not thousands) on expensive pet kennels or pet hotels. Even more importantly, they don't have to traumatise their fur-children who (more often than not) hate said kennels.

international house sitting

In general, pets love their homes and their routines, and as the house sitters follow these routines to the T, the pets often don't even notice that their owners have left. Like seriously, no disrespect to home owners but they worry that their pet babies will miss them and they really don't. (And a little hack: ask the home owners to leave behind one of their unwashed jumpers / blankets because if the animals do miss their owners, it's nice for them to snuggle up to these). But back to house sitting. In return for caring for the animals and the home the house sitters get free accommodation. Such accommodation can be found almost anywhere worldwide and is almost always more comfortable than staying in hostels and even hotels (hello, you get a whole house to yourself). Additionally, because of the kind of clientele that this business attracts, the homeowners' homes are often luxurious af - think pools, private beaches etc, I've house sat them all. Other perks for house sitters include the company and comforts living with pets offer (e.g. two walks a day is good for human mental health too). And, perhaps most importantly, house sitters get the opportunity to see what it's really like to live in a country, through the eyes of the actual locals. Okay, these locals are very often bourgeois expats, but still, it's more authentic than seeing the world through the eyes of your hotel manager. Anyway, whilst house sits do range from abysmal to orgasmic, the general census is a win-win-win situation:

  • win for the homeowners (peace of mind whilst on holiday thanks to free pet carers);
  • win for the house sitters (travel the world basically for free);
  • win for the pets (don't have to go into scary, and mostly traumatic, kennels). 

long term house sitters


As a general rule of thumb, no, you don't get paid for house sitting as it's a barter type agreement (look after the pets, in return stay in the house for free). This makes house sitting perfect for location independent people (aka people who can work anywhere as long as they have an internet connection, or people who don't have to work). For example, house sitting attracts a lot of authors (peaceful setting to finish that book)! Retirees (who were the original house sitters, having both a reputation for being responsible and the financial means to wander around and not work). And, of course, awful bloggers like me. In fact, I owe my location independence, my freedom of time all to house sitting - if I hadn't had that long-term break from the freedom of renting (or paying for a mortgage) I wouldn't have been able to start this blog in the first place (which is how I have location independence and freedom of time, plus, no boss!)


There are two ways to go about long-term house sitting. The first, of course, is to find homeowners who are going away for long stretches - 6 months, a year, two years etc. I house sat for one couple in Greece who spent 6 months of the year in the UK and 6 months in, well, Greece. Long term house sits like this are generally house care only (no pets), but there are the odd ones with pets too! Another way to go about long-term house sitting, is to find lots of shorter term house sits and organise them back-to-back. For example, when I started house sitting in Australia I did 6 weeks here, a weekend there, a month here, a week there. By the end I'd racked up nine months of free accommodation in Australia, aka nine months of house sitting. 

house sitting opportunities

I then went back to Europe and following that same principle, I racked up two years of free accommodation in Europe - I lived in Italy, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the UK and the Netherlands and I paid zero in rent. I just had to pay to get between the places (which I did for cheap cheap thanks to cheap megabuses, Ryanair flights (sorry environment), Bla Bla Car and hitchhiking). Yet another advantage of long-term house sitting is that home owners tend to plan their holidays way way in advance which gives you plenty of time to find cheap transport. The countries I mentioned are generally some of the most expensive in Europe and I would probably have never been able to live in any of them, let alone all of them in my 20s if it hadn't been for house sitting. 

2. Where to Find House Sits?

I personally found all (currently totally at 112) of my house sits through the website

(disclaimer: Yepp, I am an affiliate for, which means if you buy membership though my link then I get a percentage of the profit (at no extra cost to you). It's similar to when a real-estate agent gets a percentage when you buy a house through them, except here you're not buying a house through me, you're buying a membership that will allow you free access to houses.)

TrustedHousesitters is a UK based house sitting membership website. There are other house sitting websites out there, but in my own personal experience trustedhousesitters works best. It's the biggest house sitting website (which means more house sits, and thus more chance of newbie house sitters finding sits). It's also the easier to navigate imo and it even has an app. The house sits themselves are all free, but you do have to pay an upfront £114 per year for membership, which I (broke student) initially thought was insanely steep, however, once you start house sitting, it pays for itself within a week. Think about it, £114 per year to be able to live rent-free almost anywhere on the planet. That means no more mortgage or rent, no more bills, no more council tax etc, just a never-ending holiday. 

long term house sitting

3. How to Start House Sitting?

1. Sign up to THS (they were kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount -- click on the link to use it!)

2. Fill out your profile: be honest, but don't undersell yourself, think of it like a luxury job application. Try to write it with the mind that the home owners will be reading it, so less "I want this for me for these reasons" and more "here are some reasons you will hopefully be interested in me" 

3. Start applying. For newbie house sitters I recommend applying to any and all house sits that you're capable of. Once you have a few good house sits and references under your belt you can move onto (if you want to):

More on house sitting

I could go on for ever about house sitting, and I have in these other blog posts:


Conclusion: how to become a long-term international house sitter

So there you have it, my secrets on how to become a house sitter who isn't just house sitting world-wide but is doing it long-term. I am truly grateful that I found house sitting so I hope that I was able to pass that gift on to you and further, give you advice that I needed so you won't make the mistakes that I made. Thanks for reading, let me know if you have any questions! We have also made this video for newcomers to housesitting, enjoy :)

P.S. was kind enough to provide us and our readers with a 10% discount -- click on the link to use it!

Share this:


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.


    Disqus Comment
    Facebook Comment
comments powered by Disqus