The lure of ‘free accommodation’ is enough to entice even the most extravagant of jet-setters. House sitting has become a ‘go-to’ for many thrifty holidaymakers who save big while taking in the sights of far off cities, countries and continents. The concept of staying in someone else’s house has been normalised somewhat thanks to the emergence of websites such as Airbnb and Couchsurfing. However, the responsibilities that come with house sitting are vastly different.

While finishing up my full-time job back in 2016, I began house sitting as I didn’t want to get stuck in a rental lease before travelling. I ended up falling in love with the concept and now regularly coordinate ‘sits in my travels.

Firstly, let me explain ‘house sitting’.

There’s a reasonable chance that you’ve heard the reference house sitting before, but did you know that you can actively search for house sitting opportunities. Purpose built online directories list house sitting dates, locations and the various requirements of the stay. All you have to do is sign up, make a profile, apply for the listing and away you go. Simple, right? Well, not exactly.

Check out the various steps of the overall process.

Here are a few points to consider before deciding whether or not house sitting is the right fit for you.

  1. You must be flexible
    As house sitting continues to grow in popularity so will the opportunities. However, while the concept is still being digested globally, finding your perfect house sit, on the perfect date, for the ideal period may be a fraction optimistic. This method works best if you can plan your travels around the stay. Not always possible I know, but it makes the trip much easier to coordinate.
  2. You need to be able to handle responsibility
    Straight out, here it is, the ‘free accommodation’ tag is a fraud. Yes, you don’t have to fork out money for rent/bookings, but you will be required to undertake some domestic duties. More often than not these will include taking care of beloved pets and maintaining the house and garden.
  3. You must love animals
    If you’re not used to living with pets or are allergic to animals, you can basically forget about it. The vast majority of house sits require some level of animal care. If you’re not comfortable with this arrangement, you eliminate a sizeable chunk of your opportunities.

Despite these requirements, house sitting is an awesome way to meet new people and travel the world without chewing through your budget.