Is traveling something that you’ve always wanted to do but you’ve always said that you can’t because of money? Are you between semesters and you really want to see a new place during your break? Would you take a trip during your 2 week vacation from work? Are you retired and looking to finally see the world? There’s an opportunity to travel and stay anywhere in the world for free! How? House sitting. Yes, house sitting! You can get free accommodation through house sitting, anywhere in the world.
People all over the world leave their homes from days to months at a time for all sorts of reasons. It’s very popular among expats. Expats travel back and forth between countries to see their families. For some homeowners it could be their second home and they are looking to sell it, but need someone to stay there for potential buyers to come see it. The homeowner may be on vacation and needs someone to take care of their pets. Maybe someone just wants to keep their lawn tidy and pool clean, or maybe they have to leave for an emergency trip. Of course there are dozens of reasons why they’d need someone watching over their most treasured things. You name it. Then that’s where you come in! All you need is mutual trust, like anything else in today’s sharing economy.
Who it’s for
House sitting is for anyone who is interested in traveling and for someone who is comfortable with responsibility. Of course you’d have to be comfortable with being in someone else’s home. It’s great for anyone who has the freedom to go away for weeks and even months, like a student taking a gap year or retirees. If you’re a dog or cat lover (or both) you’d love this. I’ve heard of people tending horses! You never know. It’s not for everyone though, and below you’ll see why.
What it’s like
Like I mentioned there are some responsibilities involved. It’s not like staying in a hotel room, there are things that need to be taken care of. It’s fine to leave your hotel room a mess but not someone else’s home. That goes without saying I know, but watching over someone’s home may involve some cleaning up, especially if there are pets involved. If there’s a dog you’d be expected to treat it like it’s yours and you’d have all the same responsibilities. You may be expected to treat the home like it’s yours too, tending the garden, plants, pool, jacuzzi, etc.. Basically you’d have to do what’s expected, no more, no less. Every case is different. If you’re lucky they’ll have a hired housekeeper!
How to get a gig
First of all, you’ll want to make sure that your profile is detailed to let all the homeowners know why you’re the right person for the job.
The best way to stand out is to approach the homeowners with a service mindset. Of course the main reason to get into house sitting is to travel accommodation free, but there’s gotta be something in it for them too, and that’s trust. Although there are established communities, a stranger is a stranger and you’ll have to pass the test if it’ll go any further. Essentially your aim is to give them peace of mind. You help them, they help you. It helps to genuinely care, and getting that across goes a long way.
When reaching out for potential gigs, it’s good practice to personalize your requests. You don’t want to copy and past the same message to everyone, that is very transparent it’ll get you ignored. Remember that it’s a relationship building process because the foundation of it all is trust. Give yourself the best chance of passing the screening test, but above all be genuine.
Last but not least, it’s also common to give references. This could be from friends and family who’s home and/or pets you’ve looked after. Any relevant experience is a bonus, including being a home and pet owner yourself.
Note: there are small annual fees but compared to the amount of savings, it’s negligible. The annual fee pays for itself within one or two days of accommodation, after that it’s 100% free.
As can be seen, house sitting is an awesome opportunity to see the places you’ve always wanted to see totally free. We live in such a connected world where we can join communities just like this one in a shared economy, it’s a win-win. All you need is trust. If this sounds right for you, hop right in and start making friends around the world, animals and all! If sharing this intimate experience doesn’t bring you close to the homeowner, I don’t know what will. Safe travels!
Does this sound like an appealing way to travel?
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