House and Pet Sitting 101

When you travel to a destination a large amount of your travel costs can come from accommodation. Staying in Hotels and BnB's can get very expensive really quick. There are ways around paying hotel prices such as hostels and couch surfing. These options might not be everyone's cup of tea. Another option to consider is house sitting. If you don't mind longer stays and can be flexible on your dates then house sitting may be for you!

People get house sitters because they either don't want their house to be left empty or they have some pets that need looking after while they are away. It could be a combination of the two reasons.This can be a win win situation where you get a place to stay and they get the peace of mind that their house and pets are being taken care of.

Unlike staying at a hotel, it's generally expected that you clean up after yourself and leave the place the same as when you arrived. When house sitting you typically make sure the mail is collected from the mail box and put it in a pile. You put out the recycling and garbage as needed for the home owners. There might be plants that need watering or yard work that needs to be done like cutting the grass. Some of this might depend on the length of the house sit. Of course if the owners have pets then there will be other chores that you will have to do such as feeding, cleaning up, cleaning litter boxes and dog walking.

The people you are house sitting for will give you instructions on what is expected of you. Even if there are a few chores to do you will still have a lot of free time to do other things and to sight see in the location you are staying in.

House sitting is great since you can live like a local rather than like a tourist. We do enjoy being tourists but at the same time it's nice staying in a residential neighbourhood, having more space, a kitchen to cook meals, free reliable secure wifi you don't have to sign in for and not dealing with some of the inconvenient aspects of staying at a hotel. You don't have to worry about cramped spaces, thin walls, maids knocking on your door waking you up, ridged check in and check out times, and extra expenses. Don't get it wrong, we do like staying in hotels but there are some advantages to living like a local as a house sitter.

There are websites that you can go to in order to find house sitting gigs such as Trusted House Sitters. Please note that we have not used any of these sites. These sites have come highly recommended by different people we have met. Some of them require a fee to join. Trusted House Sitters has a yearly membership fee of $99 and they do checks to verify your identity for security. If you know someone that is a member then you can get discount coupons for joining.

Here are our thoughts on our recent house sitting gig:

We really enjoyed our experience house sitting. We wanted to stay in Victoria BC Canada, a city that we used to live in, in order to visit friends and family. It would have been a bit too expensive to have a hotel or bnb for the 2 weeks we stayed. We also didn't want to put any of our friends and family out for that long by sleeping on their couches. Luckily enough we had friends on Facebook looking for a house sitter and we jumped at the opportunity. 

We got to stay in a great neighborhood and since we were there for 2 weeks we were able to do some sight seeing and visiting people. The household chores and taking care of their cat was easy. It would be stuff we would be doing living anywhere anyway. The cat was great company to have around as well. We were offered another house sitting gig taking care of four dogs and a bird which would have been more of a handful. That gig fell through unfortunately but we got this one instead so we weren't too broken up about it. 

Having a house sitting gig allowed us to buy groceries and save money by eating at home. We didn't have a lot of money to spend on a trip so house sitting really worked out for us as a comfortable budget way to stay in another city and enjoy our time there. We were also fortunate enough to find temporary work while we were in Victoria so we were able to make some money for our travels while staying in Victoria. Remember it's not what you know but who you know.

While house sitting doesn't always end up being the most convenient option, it is very helpful for budget travelling. We enjoyed it and you might even get a cute cuddly roommate like we did.

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