Housesitting – another way to travel and to make friends all over the world

First of all, it is a way to know how people live in a particular place through forming personal relationships with them and personal services. You can go to a usual tourist hotel and owe nothing anyone; and you can negotiate on housesitting, to assume certain obligations and learn the local life in a completely different quality. So housesitting is not about money, it’s about choice. And if you are interested in this choice, you can read more 🙂

What is it?

It is a mutually beneficial exchange between homeowners who need their property to be looked after  in their absence, and housesitters – people who are ready to provide this service for free accommodation in an interesting place/ country. It may last few days, a week or two or several months.

From the perspective of the home owner:

Housesitters are usually needed if the property is located outside the city, when the owner just does not like to leave his home without care; if the home is the so-called «vacation house» and they would like someone to live there out of season; or if they have a pet, and often more than one.
Often, inviting a housesitter from the other part of the world – it is a way to make an interesting acquaintance, and the ability to give these people a chance to spend a nice vacation if they can’t afford to pay for all the full cost.

From the guest’s viewpoint:

It is best suited for people whose income and work are not tied to a particular place. For example, my husband controls his business online, I also write articles and consult clients through the network – we do not care where to do it. However, now we’re both in Italy, launching a new project (online platform for the construction sector), but it did not stop us from three housesits this year.

It is important to understand that haussitting – it’s much more than just the opportunity to live in someone’s comfortable house on the beach or in an apartment in the center of a European capital. This is removal of barriers, immersion in another language and cultural environment at a deeper level than the usual hiking or independent travel.  Haussitting is “getting personal”.

Where to find it?

Haussitting as a phenomenon appeared in the English-speaking countries, and so far it is most common in the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada. In each of these countries there are several internal sites that connect homeowners with housesitters.

Here’s, for example, a proposal  at the time of publication of this article:
If you are interested in opportunities all over the world, it would be better to join the world’s leading sites. For example

How to deal?

One essential condition: you must be fluent in English. It does not matter in what country you are looking for an opportunity of housesitting, the language of communication on all sites is English. If, in addition to English, you speak some other language – this is a significant bonus.
First you need to register, to pay an entrance fee, fill out a profile, post photos, reviews, letters of recommendation.
The next step – regular monitoring of the countries you are interested in and the dates. The easiest way is to subscribe to the email newsletter of new proposals from the site. Once you have seen the appropriate time and place option, send a request to homeowners.
Several of the recommendations, on the basis of our experience:

Discuss all the important points

Car. If they have insurance, homeowners often allow to use their car for free or for very little money. Otherwise, it is necessary to rent a car, as many homes, especially in exotic locations are not in walking distance of civilization in the form of shops and restaurants.
Contract. In principle, all the sites recommend to conclude an agreement between the host and housesitter where key issues are discussed. This is especially suitable for long housesitting. In the case of short periods (up to 2 weeks) contracts are rare, especially if you have a good profile and recommendations.

Children and pets aren’t a problem. Some homeowners do not mind if you come to their home with your family and sometimes even with your pets.
But I was more touched not by the opportunity to save money. If you are interested to live in the center of London or in a remote ranch in Costa Rica, to look after a villa on the Spanish coast, or to live on a yacht moored in a Greek port, housesitting is a way to implement at least one of these opportunities.
But remember: housesitting is building personal relationship. I’m often asked how don’t we afraid in case if suddenly something happens, how strangers trust us their house, etc.  I always say that my basic level of trust in the world is likely higher than that of the questioner, and in housesitting usually you get what you expect. However, as in life 🙂