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Accommodations away from home comprise some of the priciest expenses you’ll encounter when traveling. Can’t afford a hotel? Usually, that means you can’t afford a vacation. If your plans to travel internationally are flexible, and you can prove you’re a responsible person, have I got an incredible suggestion for you!
Homeowners around the world are looking for mature, responsible house sitters to care for their property in exchange for free accommodations. And what accommodations they are. As just a few examples of the housesitting availability “situations” that come up on my social media feeds over the last several months, I am seeing gorgeous suburban mansions with refreshing swimming pools, luxury townhouses in the middle of vivacious London, and even a breathtaking hillside Swiss chalet. The possibilities are endless!
The cost for this luxury living? Um, pretty much nothing! Other than the negligible fee charged by housesitting coordinators online, there is no cost to you to participate! So cobble together the money for the plane, boat or car ride, and don’t be too picky about the exact location of the house or dates of travel; it’s pretty random what will come up and where. So far so good?
Now, let’s discuss what to expect.
It should come as no surprise that there is fierce competition for no-cost lodging. Homeowners may receive dozens of applications from eager vacationers looking for free accommodations. As a result, it’s important for you to prepare an application that will highlight your maturity along with any related talents and capabilities. Let’s talk about how to bowl over prospective homeowners and get you some sweet living space abroad!
Do you speak the host country’s language? How well? Do you have any experience living away from home? Sport a green thumb? What activities have you done in your life that make people trust you? How do you handle responsibility? These are some of the questions you should be prepared to thoroughly answer in your housesitting application. We’ll discuss more such details in a second.
Most importantly, understand that, like housesitting in the USA, most homeowners will need you to look after their pets. For most of us pet lovers, this is a huge bonus! It’s fun to play with dogs, for example, when you only have cats at home!
As to the pet care aspect of housesitting, think about the kind of person you would wish to care for your animals if you spent time away from them. Imagining you are this person will help further inspire your application content. Upon approval, ensure you ARE that person!
What are the cons of housesitting? As stated earlier, you must have a flexible schedule and be willing to live wherever the demand is. You may be stuck several miles from the nearest town, which is obviously a problem if you wanted to keep to a city’s center. You’ll be tethered to the residence, having to return each night to take care of your charges; you won’t be able to spend random nights wherever you please while you travel. If any of these considerations cause you to hesitate, your best bet is to seek other lodging options.
Hopefully you’ve decided that housesitting is a dream come true, whether your plans involve living a frugal, nomadic lifestyle or you’re simply needing to get away for awhile. Whatever your motivation, I’d like to help you find the housesitting situation of your dreams.
Pets, pets and more pets!
Since petsitting is a primary task of the vast majority of housesitting situations, you will want to emphasize how good you are with animals as you endeavor to find the perfect situation for you. Having taken care of others’ pets grants you a “leg up” in this regard, and you will want to highlight your experience. With your previous clients’ permission, share their contact information when you apply to housesit for references. As you can imagine, being able to call on references provides your prospective pet/homeowner great comfort and easier choice (YOU!) in selecting a sitter.
There are, however, many other aspects of pet sitting that you will want to keep in mind. You’re looking to sit for critters overseas – and there may well be added responsibilities in doing so that you may not have even considered.
Update: Please click on this link for your must-have housesitting abroad pet care tips!
To this end, I have asked Mrs Kim Coonis, owner of Furever Haus Pet Sanctuary and professional pet sitter, for her advice and tips on successful overseas petsitting. I am thrilled to share Kim’s suggestions, and am confident that, having taken them to heart, your chances of becoming a housesitter will skyrocket!
Applicant Qualities Sought
In the meantime, as you think about your housesitting application be mindful of the ideal housesitter your prospective homeowner is looking for. Again, what kind of person would you want, watching your own beloved animals? Describe yourself as this person. Additional qualities you should emphasize on your housesitting application include the following:
- Experience with pets
- Experience with houseplants
- Experience housesitting
- Maturity (You do not have to be “old” – but you must demonstrate maturity of mind!)
For more information and to locate the housesitter situation of your dreams, please visit the following websites, presented in no particular order:
Should you decide to become a housesitter abroad, I hope you will keep in touch and let me know how it goes for you!
What would you look for in a housesitter for your own pets? Let me know in the comments!