House sitting – How to stay in beautiful homes for “free”

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We’ve recently read a mass interview with successful travelers, travel bloggers and adventurers – which of course we didn’t bookmark and unable to find it now – where they asked them, what is the number one reason of people not to travel. Most of them listed two things, money and fear. While there is a lot to be said about the latter, we think money can be an obstacle for the most adventurous of us, unless we dig into to possibilities of traveling alternatively.

We can safely say the accommodation gives usually the biggest chunk of the travel budget. Now, we know that many of you are devoted Couch Surfer, Hospitality Club or Be Welcome users or really talented in finding cheap but funky hostels, but here is another great option, if you want to hit the road: house sitting.

House sitting jobs can be a weekend, a few weeks or a few month long, when the owners would prefer if somebody would assure the security of their home, would collect their mail, water the ficus and feed the goldfish while they are away. Of course it’s not for everyone but if you have fair domestic skills – e.g. you are able to keep your own home tidy and under control – good with animals and you don’t kill your plants regularly, you can have a go.

Sometimes we are amazed by the opportunities internet offers today and of course there are the websites for home owners and aspiring home and pet sitters too:

1) Mind My House, is a very reliable and easy to navigate. Founded around 2005, it costs $ 20 per year subscription and jobs are mainly in North America and Europe.

2) House Carers, is one of the largest if not the largest. When you create your profile, make sure you do a great job! There is a lot of competition.

3) Caretaker Gazette, Founded in 1983, this is another very popular site and subject of many television broadcasts in the United States. Currently costs $ 29.95 per year and has jobs spread across the world.

4) House sit World, $40/year worldwide, not the prettiest site on the web thought

5) Aussi House Sitters, for $AUD65 a year offers Australia and New-Zealand house sitting opportunities, had 275 home owners ad this year but seems owners mostly contact the members directly – so keep you profile updated! – as 1539 has done so.

6) House Sitters America, is a smaller site for House Sitting in the United States. The House Sitters have to pay an application fee of $ 30 per year while the hosts can use the site for free.

7) Sabbatical Homes, mostly for USA and EU – Students and researchers house sit for free. Costs $50/14 months worldwide(contribution based),

8) Luxury house sitting, is a smaller site with tasks in luxury homes around the world. It costs $ 10 a month subscription and in some cases the House Sitter gets paid.

9) House Sitters UK, where House sitters can search for the latest ads and contact owners directly, or homeowners can search for suitable house sitters directly. Annual fee: £15

10) Trusted House Sitters, is growing fast and already one of the biggest on the net, mostly UK and Europe based house-sits, developing market in Australia and North America. Membership for $60/year

Luck has it’s fair part in finding the house of your dreams with a sea view on disposal for three month for you, but there is a lot you can do to be attractive for the owners.

Have an updated and attractive profile – like in any transaction, where trust is essential, the owners will want to know as much about you as possible. List you skills, house keeping experiences, be positive and enthusiastic.

Speed up: unless you are contacted by the owner, the best places will catch the eye of a lot of fellow house sitter, send that e-mail asap.

References, references, references: if you are a starter, ask family and friends first, if they need any help out during their holidays and get them give you a killer reference. With one or two you can start out on the net and as you go, the positive references will act as a magnet, bringing more and more opportunity for you.

Phew, one worry is off the list, can we go traveling now?

If you know any other website feel free to signal it on the comments below.