How to Become a House Sitter and Never Pay for Accommodation

Log cabin housesit in the wilderness of WisconsinA lot of readers were interested in learning more about house sitting, the method of watching people’s houses while they’re away in exchange for free accommodation. I’ve never done it, but Dalene and Pete from Hecktic Travels do it all the time, so I brought them in to talk more about the subject. Enjoy!

As I write this, I’m sitting in a comfortable leather recliner in front of three large bay windows. In my purview are tall pines covered in healthy green moss and shimmering water from a nearby lake. An old and chubby grey cat, the king of this log cabin, warms my feet.

This is my home for three months, and my husband and I are living here for free. We pay no rent, no utilities, and we have a vehicle at our disposal.

We are house sitting.

We travel around to take care of pets and homes while their owners are off on their own travels. Not only does it keep our costs extremely low, it gives an intimate experience in a new locale with complete immersion in a local neighborhood¬¬. The majority of our last three years traveling have been spent house sitting, saving us well over $30,000 in accommodation costs and allowing us an incredible set of travel experiences we might never had enjoyed otherwise.

But this way of travel isn’t just for long-term nomads like us; opportunities are available for all types of travelers. Jobs range from weekends to years in length; our shortest house sit was nine days and our longest was six months.

How to Become a House Sitter

A beautiful manor in Scotland for house sitting
If you’ve never house sat before, the best place to start is with your own connections. Query family, friends and colleagues about the possibility. Chances are good that someone within your network will be away from home soon. House sit for them to learn the ropes.

With at least one good house-sitting reference under your belt, you’ll have a better shot at convincing a stranger across the world that you’re worthy of their trust. There are several good house-sitting websites out there to match home owners with house sitters (all have membership fees): – $60 annual fee – The largest site on the web, and also the fastest growing with the best functionality. It’s heavy on UK and European house sits but is also gaining ground in Australia and North America. – $20 annual fee – Low fee to join, a good number of house sits, and a well laid-out website. Jobs are primarily in North America and Europe. – $55 annual fee – Plenty of good house sits with a focus on Australia, New Zealand, and North America, but a poor website structure that is difficult to navigate. – $30 annual fee – We have had no success on this site but know others who have. Note that this is the only website where you can’t browse through available house sits online. You need to pay the annual fee, and the opportunities are sent via newsletter.

When reviewing available listings on the above websites, choose carefully according to your own desires based on location, timing, and other needs. The key to finding one is flexibility in your plans: rather than searching for a house sit in north London for the first week of August, widening your search to all of London and for a week during any time of the month will increase your chances greatly. And once you’ve seen some house sits that are right up your alley, be sure to have these basics in place:

Dalene with three of the four dogs in rural Turkey doing a house sit

A Killer Profile – This is your face to all the potential home owners, and if it is well written and up-to-date, you may have home owners contacting you directly rather than posting their job (this happened to us once). Things to include:

  • Experience – house sitting or as a previous home owner
  • Pets – Exude your love for all things furry, or scaly and slimy, if applicable. The large majority of house sits include pet care of some kind.
  • Special skills – Do you speak foreign languages? Do you have a green thumb or are you handy with tools? Be sure to outline those in your profile.
  • Enthusiasm – Lots and lots of enthusiasm for this newfound “career” goes a long way.

Opening email – When applying for a specific job, you have the ability on each website to open with a message that will accompany your profile when sent to the prospective home owner. The key to a good opening is brevity while highlighting important information, and of course, using lots of enthusiasm.

Pay close attention to the listing and draft your email according to specific details. For example, if they have a dog, make a comment on how cute he is and that Schnauzers are your favorite creatures on four legs.

Be Speedy – When the six-week house sit opportunity in Manhattan was posted, I applied within the first few minutes of it going live. I had exchanged emails with the homeowner within the first hour, and shared a virtual handshake over Skype within a day. Attractive house sits go fast. Being one of the first to apply can greatly increase your chances of getting it. Sign up for email alerts in your desired areas or follow along on social media to be one of the first to know what’s available.

References – The most important thing that home owners will look at it is your references. Have quality people lined up to vouch for you, and if you have no previous house-sitting experience, consider asking the following: former landlords, old neighbors or bosses, or anyone who can attest to your character, reliability, and trustworthiness.

Walking the dog in the hills of Costa del Sol in Spain

One good reference leads to another job and another good reference. And once these start to stack up, potential home owners will be highly inclined to work with you, and subsequent jobs will be much easier to get. One of the house-sitting websites (Trusted Housesitters) allows reference letters to be housed directly online, but you should otherwise have them compiled and ready to be distributed with ease.

Be sure to ask a lot of questions. In the beginning, it’s easy to get overly excited about the prospect of living somewhere exotic for virtually free and forget about the finer details of the job. Ask the home owner a lot of questions: Can you have guests? Can you leave the property overnight? Is there a vehicle? Will there be Internet? You don’t want to be blindsided with rules or surprises when you arrive.

How to Be a Good House Sitter

Pete playing with Ollie in the ruins of an Irish castle while house sitting
There’s no question about it: house sitting is a job that needs to be taken seriously. In exchange for a free place to stay, you’re being asked to take care of someone’s worldly possessions and perhaps their beloved furbabies.

We’ve chased dogs through muddy fields. Disposed of a half-eaten rat courtesy of the same muddy-field-running dogs. Spent an evening trolling through dark alleys in Harlem, looking for an escaped fat cat. We dealt with a dead chicken by “sending it down the river” on the advice of a neighbor in Ireland. We’ve cleaned up after torrential rain hammered our Caribbean house.

Most times you’ll be able to kick back and soak in your good fortune, but there will be moments when you have to work for it.

The key to getting a repeated number of house sits is to do an excellent job each time and stack up virtuous references.

  • Treat the house with the utmost respect. Return it to the home owners in as good as, or better, shape than when you arrived.
  • Stick to the home owners’ guidelines on correspondence, how to deal with mail, instructions for pets, etc.
  • Be prepared to deal with adverse situations like chasing dogs through muddy fields and disposing of a dead chicken. Bad things can (and probably will) go wrong at some point. Be sure to have emergency contact info on hand, and be honest with the home owners about anything that comes up.

running on a beautiful beach when you travel

We may have had our share of difficult moments, but the incredible experiences we’ve gained by house sitting have far outweighed them. In exchange for chasing dogs and disposing of rats, we discovered first-hand how the Turkish are the most generous and hospitable people in the world. While cleaning up after a nasty storm in Honduras, we became close friends with a local lady, and later were named the godparents of her child. In Ireland, we freely explored the halls of the tenth-century manor we were charged with and even took our own twirl in the manor’s ballroom.

We’re always a little surprised that more people don’t know about, or take advantage of, the opportunities presented by house sitting. It’s not just about the money-saving aspect, but the ability to live like a local in a new corner of the world. Whether you’re going away for nine days or nine months, this can be a great way to do something different during your trip. It’s become our favorite way to travel, and we bet it could be yours too.

Dalene Heck and her husband Pete are behind the blog Hecktic Travels, which chronicles their journey since selling all their belongings in 2009. They’ve recently written an ebook on house sitting that contains even more juicy goodness, including examples of successful profiles and application letters, a three-page checklist on everything to look for in a new house-sitting job, as well as a discount to their favorite house-sitting website.

If you’re looking for other ways to travel ultra-cheap, check out these articles:

  1. Wow, great article. I work somewhat seasonally at my normal job. House sitting sounds like a great way to spend the off season. Thanks for all of the links & details.

    Dan @ ZenPresence

  2. Greg

    I’m doing my first house sit this summer…. two months in the Grenadines. I agree, this is a great option to save money and live like a local.

  3. Matt,
    As I washed dishes earlier this evening, I was thinking/plotting about an idea that reoccurred to me after sitting on my mental shelf for months: house sitting. So when I came to your site, I went straight to the search tool. This article popped up and I enthusiastically read it. It wasn’t until I was finished that I noticed the publish date: today. I am filing this under the “Inexplicable” category. It was one of those eerie moments in life when coincidence is too weak of a word. As always, thanks for the post. To Dalene and Pete, thanks for writing this. You two also have a wonderfully put together website, as well.

    Cheers to all,


  4. Great post, and very timely for me and my girlfriend, as we’re setting for for our around the world travel in just over two months. We’ve already considered house sitting, but most of the gigs seem to be in Europe and North America. We’re starting in SE Asia though. But we still hope to find at least one place. We set up a house sitting page on our blog, although this needs some more work. Will join the sites mentioned above and ask family and friends. We already know some people in Chiang Mai that are away often, so we’re hoping our first house sitting job could be there. We’ll update you with how we get along. If anyone out there needs a house sitter in SE Asia, then please get in touch with us via our website. I’m a bit of a neat freak, so your house will probably be in better shape than when you left it.

  5. Excellent information. I never knew that house sitting could be so lucrative. I suppose when you add up all that you save on the cost of living it really mounts up. I’m sure many of your readers will want to look into this now!

  6. What a great write up, and you’re right! I don’t think enough people consider house sitting while travelling. Like you said, you just have be extremely flexible and have the best reputation.


  7. Great advice! Having spent the past six months house-sitting, lots of it really resonates with our experience. We too have chased dogs, searched for escaped pets and, weirdly, had to
    dispose of a dead chicken. And yet, despite these travails and many more, we’ve reached the conclusion that there’s no better way to travel.


  8. Thanks for a really comprehensive feature that sums up house sitting extremely well. There’s few people that know more about house sitting than Pete and Dalene, and thank-you Matt for what I suspect will be (yet another) very beneficial post for many.

    Personally, I find house sitting a great means of getting some downtime while on the road for a while and helps experience ‘becoming a local’. The first place I house sat was in Galicia in a mountain-side village I’d never otherwise have found – I got accepted by everyone immediately, got taken to a local food festival and invited for dinner with many of the villagers.

    If you don’t like pets (most, but not all house sits involve pet sitting), or you’ve got 3 weeks to see a country and want to ‘do the lot’, house sitting may not be the right solution, but otherwise, there are many reasons why it works, and for us, has enabled many unique travel experiences.

    Coming from a travel / writing background, it’s helped immerse within both of these affordably, enjoy some (often missed when travelling) home comforts eg getting some space, having a kitchen to cook local dishes in (often in a very luxurious pad with pool etc) being able to kick back for a bit and afforded us time to enjoy a breather from being continuously ‘on the road’. I like to think of it as a retreat in amongst travels – a holiday from a holiday.

    House sitting does come with a level of responsibility as mentioned, you are there to keep an eye on the place (although shouldn’t mean you can’t check out the local region) and most importantly, often look after someone’s pets. On that note (and re: Ashley’s comment above if also travelling solo) it can make for some some great therapeutic companionship too – I returned to Galicia 3 times, not just because of the amazing pad (with Roman watermills / vineyard / pool etc etc) and wonderful locals we’d gotten to know well, but because I loved their pets – and also, I’d made great friends with the homeowners too. The more I travel, the longer I enjoy staying in one spot for a while, so it works for this.

    As Pete and Dalene say, get a great profile listing on a house sitting website (or 2 if you want to hedge your bets – it doesn’t cost that much to join if you can find a great house sit, and you can soon whittle it down to the one(s) that deliver.) Put yourself in the shoes of the homeowner when you write your listing, and also be honest (if you don’t like cats, don’t cat sit). It’s not essential, but get references onto your listing if you can – they can be personal references, or past employment / landlord references if you haven’t house sat before. If you can clearly demonstrate that you are a responsible person / couple, and have had a bit of experience looking after animals eg your own, there’s a good chance of finding a great house sit. When choosing a house sitting website, it’s good to look at the number of house sitting opportunities presented in the locations you’re planning on visiting (although you never know where the next opportunity will arise too).

    The advantage of joining a house sitting site is also that most offer a daily email alert about the latest house sits globally, but be warned – this can seriously disrupt your intended travel plans (in a good way) and make for a lot of spontaneous decisions! You never know where the next days opportunities will appear and they are growing all the time.

    BTW – I wouldn’t recommend trying house sitting as a means of earning money – the vast majority of people don’t charge for house sitting as it gives a win-win for both parties (accomo for house/pet care), and personally, I wouldn’t want it any other way as I like the mutual level of respect – and finding some seriously nice places to stay without lots of hassle.

    Oh, one last thing – it’s good for when you get back from travels too and don’t want to jump straight into accomo (just incase you’re planning on heading off again) or just returning briefly to visit friends and family, but don’t want to stay for a month, or for checking out your ‘own back yard’ from a different perspective – especially if you can’t quite make that 2 months in Tuscany / Thailand / Tahoe. All you then need is the price of the gas to get there.

    Hope this helps!

    And thanks again for a really informative post.

    Andy Peck

    • Vick

      I have been considering this for a l-o-n-g time. I was wondering about travel expenses to these places? I know at times, IE .. lady sitting for someone in Grenadines, air fair can be $1000 or more. Is any of this paid, split, or just our own responsibility? Another question: I wanted to do this exclusively and, except for visits home and staying with friends or family, would not have my own place to go to in between. Is this a possibility? Thank you for your article/s. I am hoping to start this process sometime next spring! Vick

  9. Can’t agree more with this article – housesitting is an amazing way to see the world! We have been housesitting across four continents since we started traveling long-term in 2010 and we can’t think of a better option to recharge our batteries after periods of heavy travel than housesitting: We get to enjoy the comforts of our ‘own’ house for a while, plus the company of adorable pets. We have stayed in some places we would have never visited had it not been for a housesit – a small Caribbean beach village in Mexico, a local neighborhood in Kuala Lumpur, a sleepy village in Tuscany, a house in the desert in Arizona… we don’t housesit exclusively, but whenever a housesitting opportunity fits in with our travel itinerary, we apply for it. We use the first three websites that Dalene & Pete mentioned, too, and found housesitting gigs through all of them.
    (P.S. The annual fee for is $50.)

  10. I thought I was such a savvy traveler (giving up hotels, etc. years ago). Ha! This is amazing! I do have one question though…do most people who do this have remote job capability or are they retired? My dh and I would be awesome housesitters :) Can’t wait to start drafting our profile and reading through all your info.

    • Hey Meg! A lot of people who do house-sit are retired, and are also like us (can work remotely). However, house-sitting also works for people who just want to vacation! All it requires is some flexibility in your plans to find one that would work for a holiday!

  11. Great article, great comments, great mode of travel lifestyle. We’re a couple of 60 something nomads, house sitting our way through retirement. This travel lifestyle choice has given us amazing adventures, introduced us to new friends, both two and four legged, re-kindled our sense of purpose, saved us from spending ALL of our children’s inheritance, we really have saved huge amounts on accommodation and car rental costs.

    In our five years of pet/house sitting we’ve very nearly ticked all the boxes on our travel, bucket list and let me tell you it’s not a faint hearted, or budget list, our camping days are a very distant memory, truth be told my only camping experience came with a four poster bed, hot private shower, carpet, butler and hot water bottle, I make no apologies …… horses for courses!!

    Our house sits are THE very best, in self catering accommodation and they usually come with an adorable furry resident to love and care for, you have to love animals, all animals and not just your own. Right now I have two little, very contented doggies sleeping on the bed with me, because it’s their bed, the one they always share with Mum and Dad, who are far, far, away in Europe ….. all part of the service, a service that gives far more than it takes.

    We’re not sitters who’ve given up all our worldly goods either, we have a lovely home in Canada and who’s looking after it whilst we travel the world? You guessed it our very own house sitters!! Pet and house sitting isn’t for everyone, it can be challenging, you don’t always get the perfect, dream assignment but the best part of all is more and more pet/home owners from around the world are catching on to this win win opportunity ….. the world really can be your “budget conscious” oyster!!

    Just as a “By the way” our preferred web site for everything pet and house sitting is

  12. We hire a house sitter every time we travel, and now that we’ve found a good one, we’ll never go back. A good house sitter is worth the price every time!

  13. My partner and I are just looking to get into housesitting after meeting various travelers who have been doing it. I have wwoofed and am currently working for accommodation so am sure it’ll be great for us!

    Thanks for the awesome info. With all the sites out there it’s hard to know which ones to trust.

  14. T. P.

    As an experienced house sitter who’s been doing this for a number of years, it’s gotten increasingly difficult to get assignments because everyone’s promoting this as the cool thing to do. And as a result, some homeowners have gotten a bit demanding and even in some cases, insisting on being PAID by the people watching their pets, taking in their mail and keeping their home safe from break-ins while they are away. It’s hard to believe, but there was a time when pet/home sitters were paid for their services. Those days are gone now that the market is flooded with people who simply want to do this instead of paying for a hotel.

  15. Thanks for the article! I have been looking for this kind of information for a long time!
    I had the opportunity to house sit a couple of times and it went well all time but when I wanted to sign up for a website I wasn’t sure of which one to pick so this is very helpful! Thanks again :)

  16. Carla

    It seems really interesting!!! I would love to do that sometime!!! I have a question, besides from staying in a place for free, do you actually receive a payment for doing this?

    • Hi Carla, we have heard of some people asking for a fee for this, but we have never done so. We just believe in the amicable sharing of resources and services! You may be able to try and charge, but keep in mind that there are many people out there who will do it for free.

  17. Virginia

    I just started researching this possibility and am intrigued. Are you (or any reader) familiar with House Sitters of America?

    • Hi Virginia, we personally have never used HSA. If you are interested in using them, I would perhaps contact the site owners and ask for references. Good luck!

  18. We’ve been looking into the idea of house sitting and also home sharing. We have a home in South Florida and would love to do a winter trade with someone in Alaska or Canada. Does anyone know of a solid home sharing service that can accommodate this?

    • Sorry Kenin! I’m not aware of any such site. However, you can just list your home after securing another gig. Our latest house-sitting gig in Wisconsin came about after the home-owners had gotten their own lined up in Costa Rica. It’s worth a shot!

  19. Vin

    It seems like a very good way to travel and see new places. However, I have the following two Q: 1) Does house sitting involve just taking advantage of free house or one also gets paid to include food and air ticket? 2) It does include responsibility to maintain the house which may involve expenses etc to get things fixed!

    Thanks for any input.


    • Hi Vin. Answers: 1) I have seen some (very few) that offer to include food, but never for airline tickets. Keep in mind that there is usually a good chance that they could find someone local who would be able to do it as well (negating their need to buy airfare). That being said, I do know of a couple who was flown to Panama to interview for the job which the eventually got. Anything is possible! 2) Any such maintenance expenses (for house or vehicle) are typically taken care of by the home-owners.

  20. I did housesitting once in Zurich, Switzerland. The contact was establishe over my sister with friends of her. It was ok, but not my piece of cake.
    I had to take care of a cat with rather strange habits. :-)

  21. Hey Matt thanks for this.Also heard about it from Dalene and have pretty much decided to give it a go next Summer/Fall.We are a retired couple who work on and off in China/elsewhere as we choose so we can pretty much be flexible with dates/places so I think we are suited to it even though we have never tried before.Hope we will have as much fun as you guys seem to have done.Thanks for the post.

  22. Pat

    Just wanted to say, I have been house sitting for a couple of years now – locally. Thought I would try it out close to home and then start travelling. Problem is – I am becoming so popular that I may never get to travel.

  23. Emma

    This article has certainly given me lots to think about. Does anybody know if it is possible for one of you to work if a couple is housesitting?

    • Hi Emma, we’ve actually done that before – where one of us worked at a local school and the other stayed at the house. It would all depend on what the home owner expects of you in terms of actual time “at” the house, and should definitely be discussed up front.

  24. Pat Carol

    I am quite interested in doing house sitting. I am soon to be retired from my fire department. I have nothing holding me down.
    I am curious to know if I should need to get licensed and bonded?

  25. Carla

    I am interested in getting started with house sitting,I’m retired and am available immediately.Like someone asked should I be bonded and licensed??

  26. Irma

    Hi am very interested in house sitting. I do not smoke, drink or party. I can travel if necessary. All my children are grown and I’m free to start immediately.

  27. Yvette

    I gave up my apartment in April and have been house sitting all over Toronto ever since. No bookings for October so will crash at my ums but then booked till January. Now I only work 19 hrs a week since I have no rent or utilities to pay for. I feel semi retired at 46 and I love my life!!!!


  28. I spent almost three years house sitting in over eighteen homes on the east coast of Australia. I loved it and thoroughly recommend it.
    I agree that it is a job you have to take seriously. I too tried hard to be an excellent house sitter and as a result had many offers of repeat house sits. I looked after bulls, a miniature pony, chickens, as well as lots of dogs and cats. It was amazing and I had so many adventures that I wrote two books about my adventures, one for each year.
    House sitting is cheap, fun, and quite an adventure. Thanks for your article.

  29. Annette

    Hello! I’ve always been interested in house sitting out here in California, but never knew where to start, or where to apply at.

  30. Thank you for an informative article on house sitting. Being single, independent and extremely responsible, this seems like an ideal living arrangement or me. I grew up overseas and have travelled extensively. Plus, I am self-employed and can reside nowhere.

    My only ‘limitation’ is that I have a 5 pound 10 year old Maltese little boy. Do people allow me to have my ‘little boy’ with me? He is house broken. Thank you so much.

    • lorrie

      that depends on the owners but as a petsitter it depends on if their animals are ok with other animals some dogs I sit for are totally fine with others but other dogs can’t stand other animals plus im not sure that owners would like you bringing your dog along when your there to look after their animals.

  31. Great article. We have a business close in 2012 and we thought our dreams of travel were gone, but then we come across house sitting. In 2013, we have travelled around Australia and all we need is Internet access for our jobs. In 2015, we intend to house sit in Europe. I am chronicling our travels on our website.

    • Frank and Judy (aka - Roz)

      Good day John, sounds like you need a house sitter for your home while you are house sitting. We have great neighbors that watch over our home and wet pets (8 koi) We like long term sitting jobs as it gives us a chance to explore new areas, get to know people and make great friends. Check out our bio/profile on “Trusted House Sitters” maybe we can be of assistance.


      Frank and Judy

  32. Doug Ruder

    I have not yet found any house sit assignments for Haifa, Israel. I would love to house sit for up to 3 months. I love pets. I do not smoke nor drink and I do not party. I am age 48 and very responsible. I am a home-owner in The United States. If anybody knows of a website that is good for finding house sit assignments in Israel, please let me know. My email address is “pronatalist a-circle” (just trying to elude any spambot programs searching the web).

  33. joanne forsyth

    I am ANXIOUSLY awaiting my first house/pet sitting opportunity! (I just registered 20 minutes ago!) I LOVE animals and would truly honor the privilege/responsibility of watching over someone’s home and pets while they take a vacation! I have been in ‘your shoes’ and know how important it is to leave home feeling comfortable about the fact that your beloved critters (and home) are safe and in good hands! I am a mid-60s woman and worked as a social worker for about 25 years. At age 50, I returned to college and became a registered E.M.T. Sort of an interesting combo, but I feel that it gives me a lot of pluses–i.e., I have LOTS of experience working with people and I have NO fear of needles, blood, etc.–HA HA!! Oh, and I obviously ADORE animals of ALL types–except perhaps reptiles and spiders (?). If I can help you out , PLEASE contact me!!

  34. Frank and Judy (aka - Roz)

    Judy and I have been house/pet sitting for 3 years and loved every moment. We use two sights, one you recommend, “Trusted House Sitters” is worth it’s weight in gold and that’s about what it costs but has provided us with the opportunity to visit the West coast twice (from Sebring, Florida) the other one you might want to add to your list is “House sitters America Less expensive, $30.00 a year and has also been successful for us.

    We travel exclusively by motor cycle, a 2009 Honda Gold Wing GL1800 w/trailer and one thing we request is the use of a vehicle in case of emergencies. Currently negotiating a contract in Ca. (again) where providing a car is an issue.

    Losts of fun, experiences.


    Frank and Judy
    Sebring, Florida

  35. Interesting article as I have never heard of house sitting before and something I am interested in. I have used couch surfing a few times before and that was great. Next time I am in a place with expensive rent prices for a considerable amount of time I will definitely look into it.

  36. Hello! I’ve been following your weblog for some time now and finally got
    the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx!
    Just wanted to say keep up the good job!

  37. What’s your source of income? When you are house-sitting, do you get some short-term job? You still gotta pay for plane tickets, food, and clothes, right? Does house sitting pay some kind of money sometimes?

    Sorry for all the questions haha. Great article by the way. Thanks!


  38. Julie

    Great info! I am extremely interested this and am wondering how you go about getting a visa for this sort of extended stay in a foreign country (I am from the US and would love to house sit in another country). Any information on that aspect of this opportunity would be greatly appreciated!

  39. stephanie

    hello. I would like some more information on house sitting in Florida. do you have any information on this? Also i am looking for ways to travel for free and stay in luxury resort and spas and then write articles. Do you know where and how I can do this> Thanks

  40. Brenda

    I am a school teacher in Washington and have contemplated “getting away” for the summer. I am 40, single and have a chocolate lab. Do very many places allow you to bring your own pet to house sit? She is lovable, gets along with all dogs, and people, and is house trained. I would love to spend July and most of August in California from Monterey north but would love some advice. But bringing my dog is part of the deal, I can’t leave her at home and would love to bring her to explore “a whole new world” with me. Thanks!

  41. Marc

    It’s my long time dream to do something like house-sitting
    when the time comes for my retirement .
    thank’s a lot for the article,great job !!

  42. Jules

    I heard about this from a very trusted friend, I am divorced and need to explore the world, I have no clue where to begin even in reading these post, I would like to start in USA then broaden my travels, I’m not sure how to obtain working visa? I do have a pass port, but is there a site I can go to to maybe go along with someone to see how it works? I’m not sure I can go it alone my first time. I am an animal lover well, not so much reptiles lol. Im 45 and really need to explore this world! :) it has been in my thoughts for along time now and I’m ready to take the first step! Thanks Julie from Iowa

  43. poodlefan

    Well some people may only be looking for a vacation, but some of us are sitting for a living. House sitting and pet care is a responsibility and not only a great service but a much needed service. We keep homes safe, and this allows to keep pets in their well known environment. I am agaisnt offering this service for free because we do have travel expenses, ads do pay for and living expenses. How much an good alarm would cost to the home owner ? how much boarding would cost in some cities like washington DC, it is expensive. Also, owner that hire house sitters have lower insurance cost. In europeans countries, 950 owners get rob each year, so having a sitter will keep robbers away.
    Sites like trusted housesitters advertising sitters for free, is not right! this encourage some home owners to exploit people by asking them to tend to their garden and pool, cutting their grass. Also, many people do not know that a loose pack of dogs will attack cattles or kill the neighbor’s chicken, as it happened in one case where the dogs got away and killed 156 chickens. House sitters must know animal behavior and most people sitting do not. So yes you want to spend a vacation, but house sitting is way more than a vacation and at the end, a roof is a roof, no matter how nice it is ! I encourage all house sitter to ask for a salary because this service really deserve a salary. Without us, home owners could not leave their properties and pets.

    • lorrie

      I totally agree with you thank you for someone understanding my point of view I mean petcare is a established service and trade, I’ve been petsitter for a long time and ive developed an understanding of animals plus a sitter is more motivated to take good care of your animals and place if there is a salary included I earn around 6 thousand a year petsitting in my state.

  44. poodlefan

    I would like to make a correction in my previous post…. in countries like France, 950 owners get robbed EACH DAY, not each year.

  45. KYUNG

    Hi Matt,

    What a great article!

    Of the websites to sign up with (doesn’t have to be free), which ones would you say one would have the best luck with for Orange County, CA?

    Thank you

  46. Debbie Cunningham

    house sitting looks to us as a great way to experience a country, town, village, my husband and i are very keen on house sitting in spain, tuscany, new-zealand. we live in the adelaide hills south australia, we have a gorgeous active kelpie/border collie dog, and grey ragamuffin allof cat, we have 5 acres, koalas, kookaburas, national park great for walkers, with kangaroos, city 21 ks away, nearest sopping centre 7 mins away, heritage pub aroun d corner, bakery, general store currently being renovated, opening in 2 weeks!
    helpful kind neighbours, all good.

  47. lorrie

    while housesitting and petcare is a good idea somewhat it still feel like a lot of these owners are trying to get petcare for nothing and leaving all the responsibilities to the person with no compensation I mean your still going to be watching their house while with the dogs but that’s a service rendered and its worth the cost of paying a minimal fee to the person to show how much you appreciate them watching your pet so you can go away on your vacation.

    I come at this with a different perspective I mean sure I love animals and travel but I’m not going to stay at a house without charging a small fee also. I’ve been a petsitter for 10 years now and petcare and watching their homes is my career. I am qualified to watch their pets and their in good hands but I know if I did this and went away and did petcare for free that would not send a good message to my clients at all and its worth the cost and assure that your animals will be on good care while you are gone. sorry so long I just have some opinions

  48. lorrie

    quick question is it possible to do housesitting petcare in my off season which is only select months of the year. I don’t want to be unavailable to my business clients too much of the year.

  49. Carole

    To Poodlefan, I would love to be a house/pet sitter and travel and be paid a little bit of income to help pay for some necessities. Do you know of a site or sites that someone can apply to become a house sitter and get paid for it?

    Thank you, Carole

  50. I wholeheartedly agree that house sitting is an excellent experience that can truly change your life–I did a house sit for 5 months in north Cyprus (I write about the experience on my travel blog,, and it was a beautiful, surreal part of the world to explore. And I’d have never known about this hidden corner of the world if there wasn’t a house sit opportunity there. I found it through Mindmyhouse, but I think it was also listed on

    The best part of house sitting is that you can do it anywhere, even in your own country. So if you don’t have time or money to travel far, just search for accessible house sit options instead. It’s always an adventure and a free place to stay–that’s a pretty good deal! The application letter (and your website profile) you send is pretty important, as it’s your first impression–kind of like a cover letter and resume that you send to a company for a job opportunity–so definitely spend time on that. I think the best thing to do when you apply is to put yourself in the home owner’s shoes–if you wanted someone to take care of your home and plants and pets in your absence, what kind of people would you want living in your home?

  51. Dave and Liz

    I have been thinking for a while now that house sitting would be a great way of partially supplementing my retirement,, I thought I was somewhat unique in my thoughts,,, I see not,…Thank you for the web sites

  52. Sam

    Was wondering how people who did this for a consistent period handled the down time of when they did not have a house to sit? If they have one for a couple weeks and another for a month but there is a week in between the two opportunities that can’t be filled?

  53. Great article! I have been entertaining the idea of adding house sitting into my experiences while traveling as I mostly volunteer now on various projects and the idea of having some more personal time seems inviting. Thank you for this write up!! Cheers!!

  54. Lynda

    I’ve been waiting too get out of my little home tawn for years now but no money and I started looking up homes for rent that just maybe some one needs work done and willing too make me a good deal then I seen this and was like yes that would be awesome a get away lol how do I sign up??

  55. Erin Z.

    Hey Matt. Love your blog. Do you or Dalene and Pete know how far in advance one should ideally start searching for a housesit? Also, since a couple of years have passed since this post, I was wondering which of the housesitting websites out there they think is the best to join now. Thank you!

  56. Julie

    I’m a nanny for a family that plans to leave the country for a month. They would be willing to pay me to work as their nanny on their trip. But my family really doesn’t want me to go to India. So I will be out of work during that time. House sitting sounds like a great opportunity to fill that time. I already dog sit/house sit occasionally for short periods of time as a side job, only spending the night on weekends for certain dogs. This family I’m a nanny for would probably want me to check in on their house, but they’re not about to pay me enough to cover all my bills for the month just to check on their house. Ultimately, though, I would really love to go to New York/DC/Virginia during that time, since I don’t have much time when their home to travel. Considering this is just a one time opportunity, and I’m pretty much broke right now… What would be the best option for finding a house sitting job for one specific month? I don’t want to sign up for multiple websites and not find anything. What are the chances I’d find one that fits exactly what I’m looking for?
    I would really appreciate any advice or help anyone can give!

    • Julie,
      Unfortunately, most house sitting jobs do not pay, and if they do it is usually very little. But, it sounds like you should be able to stay at the house where you nanny while they’re gone since they already trust you, just not get paid for it. Maybe you can find something local and temporary to do that will create a little cash flow while they are gone?

  57. Pete and Dalene are awesome, we had the pleasure of meeting them in Calgary before we started our traveling lifestyle.
    I highly recommend their housesitting book, we had struggled to find house sits and the advice in their book help us tremendously. Now after a year of traveling we have had 8 months of house sits and are booked until the end of Sept.

  58. Since discovering house sitting, my wife and I have been travelling around the UK looking after other people’s houses and pets. The blog is brilliant with loads of great advice and helped us put together our profiles and ‘sell’ ourselves better.

    We started in March this year and so far, we have been dog sitting in Cornwall, Somerset, the Chilterns and Cheltenham, cat sitting in Surrey and Lancashire as well as looking chickens, ducks, geese, fish and, easiest of all, a giant land snail.

    Keep up the great work with the blog!

Leave a Comment