After reading several blog posts from other websites about house sitting as an option for long-term travel, I decided to check it out. In theory, house sitting is perfect, because it does not cost anything, which dramatically decreases travel costs.
We signed up for a service call Trusted Housesitters, which seems to be one of the better options. In order to become a sitter on the website, you have to create an account and pay the $99 annual membership fee. Once the account is created, you are able to begin searching and applying for house sitting assignments all over the world. Trusted Housesitters focuses on house sitting and pet sitting, so most of the assignments require sitters to care for animals, too.
Getting the first assignment can be a little bit difficult. The website is based on feedback and reviews, so starting with no reviews can be an issue, but there is an option to request character references from people who are not members (if you’d like to help us out by leaving a good reference, just let us know and we’ll send you the info). Luckily, we were able to get a few reviews to get us off the ground.
After much searching, we snagged a last-minute assignment where another sitter had canceled, so we will be completing our first house sitting assignment tomorrow. The home is in London, and we were able to buy very reasonable flights from Madrid (one great thing about Europe being so small). We will be taking care of two dogs and a cat while the homeowner is getting married in France.
We are very excited to see how this goes. If everything is as it seems, we should have a very good (and affordable) trip to London (especially with the favorable exchange rate). This should also help us become established on the website, which will allow us to get more house sitting jobs. We really enjoy pets (and we don’t have any right now), so we’re really looking forward to that aspect, too.
I will post an update later about how it actually turns out, but it seems like as long as you have some flexibility (and can manage expectations), this service is a great travel option.