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House Sitting Abroad – How to Use House Sitting to Travel

This is a beginner’s guide to using house sitting to travel the world.

You might think that traveling the world is a dream that you can’t quite reach because it costs too much. That’s why house sitting is a great solution. It allows you to stay in a home for free and explore a new destination.

I managed to house sit in over 10 countries including Thailand, France, Italy, Spain, Ireland, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Montenegro, Greece & the Caribbean.

Below we’ll delve into the world of house sitting abroad and I will give tips and insights on how to make the most of this opportunity so you can travel wherever you want to.

So, to start with let’s define what house sitting is. House sitting involves taking care of someone’s home while they’re away. It may include responsibilities such as caring for their pets, gardening, caring for indoor plants, upkeep of the property, and looking after the pool. In exchange, the house sitter gets to stay for free.

Start Your International House Sitting Journey

Silhouette of a cat in the shade with part of a pool and trees in the background
My house sit in Italy

1. Choose A Platform

There are several websites you can use to find house sitting assignments.

Trustedhousesitters.com is the most well-known platform for international house sitting, but there are several other websites including AussieHouseSitters.com.au and Housecarers.com.

On each of these websites you can find people looking for house sitters in different places, and for different lengths of time.

Some of these websites are more suited to specific locations, and they all provide different benefits. They also vary in price a lot (yes, you pay a fee on these platforms), so it’s worth looking at this helpful comparison, to help you research which house sitting website suits your needs.

2. Work On Your Profile

Whichever house sitting platform you choose to sign up with, you’ll have to create a profile to be able to start applying to house sitting opportunities.

Your profile should highlight your experience and how you will meet the homeowner’s needs. It’s worth sharing any relevant experience you have in gardening, pets, pet care, pool care, and home maintenance.

3. Work On Your References

When getting started as a house sitter the biggest issue is references. Just like when you’re a teenager trying to get your first job you hope that someone will take a chance on you.

But what if I told you you didn’t have to wait for someone to take a chance on you? What we did when we were getting into house sitting was take screenshots of our Airbnb reviews, so that we could show social proof to homeowners.

This helped us land our first house sit. And after your first few house sits it becomes much easier to land new house sits as you will have a few references under your belt.

So Why Choose House Sitting For Travel?

living room with a large dark blue couch, white walls, a wooden table and several small items

1. It’s Cost Effective

The most obvious benefit of house sitting abroad is the savings you can achieve on accommodation while experiencing a new location.

It makes traveling long term or short term much more feasible on a limited budget.

Note: getting paid to house sit is uncommon. You receive a free place to stay and the home owner has someone to look after their house and pets while they are away.

If you’re lucky, they might leave you with a well stocked fridge and sometimes you’ll be able to use their car or bicycles to get around. It all helps to travel on a budget!

Also Read: How to Save Money While Traveling

2. You Get The Comforts Of Home

You get access to a fully equipped home including a kitchen, washing machine, etc. This can make travel much more comfortable as well as cheaper.

You can cook at home which means you can use local ingredients, explore the local markets, and try some of the regional recipes.

I personally also really appreciate having a washing machine so that I don’t have to search for laundry services and pay for it every time.

3. It’s an Immersive Experience

When you’re house sitting you’re more likely to be living in a local neighborhood rather than a touristy hotel district. This can provide a much more authentic experience; you get to truly experience the culture and community in a new location.

We were often introduced to neighbors and friends of the house owner which also helped give us that community feel.

4. You Get to Care For Animals

a hand stroking the head of a cat

It is hard to have pets of your own when you’re traveling and pet sitting can then be the perfect solution. Getting the companionship of an animal while abroad is a really nice experience.

You could either explore the local area with your new furry friend or relax on the couch with them.

Some Of Our International House Sitting Experiences

Below I will outline two of my favourite house sits.

House Sitting in Greece

We house sat in a beautiful little seaside town 45 minutes out of Athens, for six weeks.

This was a wonderful house sit where we cared for two beautiful dogs and a cat.

The home had lovely views over the sea and we were able to walk to the beach within 5 minutes. There were beautiful little cafes, bars, and bakeries nearby and this was a great base to be able to explore more of Greece.

House Sitting in Provence, France

a light brown dog with a bal in his mouth in a green landscape with a man in the background
Our house sit in France

Looking after 2 beautiful cats for six weeks in Provence was a dream. We were in a lovely little village where twice a week there was a market. From this location we were able to explore so many cities and towns in Provence. Each day was a new adventure!

The homeowner also shared a list of her favorite restaurants, cafes, and bakeries for us to visit which was a great way to explore the local culture and food.

Finding the Right House Sit

If you want to use house sitting abroad, or to travel around your own country, you’ll start by registering on one of the house sitting platforms I mentioned before. But, there are a few other tips I want to share to make the most of house sitting.

1. You Need To Be Flexible And Open-Minded

The more flexible with your location and dates the more opportunities you will have.

You can’t expect to want to house sit in New York for a particular week and land a house sit during that exact time. You can set up alerts that will send you an email when a certain house becomes available but still, you need to be flexible with your time and location.

2. Understand The Responsibilities

a green watering can with several outdoor plants in the background

Each house comes with a different set of duties and you need to make sure you’re comfortable with them.

Make sure you understand what the homeowner expects you to do. You need to talk about this before accepting the house sit.

They may be looking for someone who works from home and can be with their pets a majority of the time. If that doesn’t work with your schedule you should not commit to this house sit.

However, you may also find homeowners who are looking for someone who can water the plants and weed the garden twice a week and you might decide that’s more what you’re looking for.

3. Find The Right Location

It’s worth deciding if you want to explore a bustling city or relax in the countryside, be in the mountains, at the seaside, or in the suburbs.

We like to make a list of places we want to visit and then set up alerts to let us know when houses come up in any of those locations.

4. Duration Of A House Sit

You might prefer doing house sits for a week, or maybe you like being at a house sit for a few months.

Think about how long you’d like to be in one place and make that one of your criteria when searching through the available house sits.

Considerations And Challenges Of House Sitting

Finally, as much as I like using house sitting to travel, I do want to mention some of the challenges to keep in mind.

1. Unexpected Situations

two small, brown and white dogs running on a dirt road

In house sitting sometimes things don’t go as planned. You’ll need to be flexible and be able to solve problems on the go.

For example, you might be booked in for a three-week house sit and then just a few days before the start of your house sit the homeowner gets sick and cancels. It happens.

So now you’ll have to quickly find a different place to stay or apply for a last-minute house sit somewhere else.

And when pet sitting, things can of course happen to the pets. You might find yourself taking a dog or cat to the vet unexpectedly.

2. Homesickness

Many people who use house sitting internationally do this because they want to travel for months or even years.

When you’re traveling for extended times it can lead to homesickness.

Make sure you stay connected with friends and family. And if you’re considering house sitting full time, it might be worth planning in some trips home before your calendar fills up completely with house sits.

Using House Sitting to Travel – Final Thoughts

a woman holding the front paws of a small white dog

Yes, there are some challenges to house sitting. And finding the right house sits abroad might take you some time.

But house sitting internationally is a wonderful way to explore the world at a slower and more affordable pace. I hope you’ll give it a try!

Also Read:


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Author: Britt
Britt is a professional house sitter from Australia. She has been house-sitting for 6 years and has cared for over 60 homes in New Zealand, Australia, Italy, France, Greece, Montenegro, Malaysia, Thailand, Ireland, and the UK, plus in the Caribbean she looked after a cat on a catamaran. You can read more about her house sitting adventures on The Travelling House Sitters.

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