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If you’re new to the world of housesitting, you’re in for a treat. I’ve been housesitting around the world for about 7 years now with Trusted Housesitters and it’s hands down my favorite way to travel (and ride bikes in fun places!).
I love turning other travelers on to the world of housesitting, so in this Trusted Housesitters review, I talk about the pros and cons of housesitting, what to expect, tips for applying for your first sits, and more.
But first, here are a few highlights from my housesitting adventures to whet your appetite!:
- Spending two weeks exploring the singletrack mountain bike trails around Phoenix, Arizona while looking after two incredibly well-behaved Goldendoodles
- Spending three months in southwest England learning how to drive on the other side of the road and getting lost in the hills and forest on my bike (FYI southwest England is beautiful!)
- Spending a Thanksgiving in Santa Cruz, California in an apartment 2 times too small for the wild 1 year old Labradoodle that lived there (the mountain biking was fun, though!)
- Spending three weeks in New Orleans and the owners were kind enough to let me use their road bike to explore all the great cycling around NOLA
- Landing a housesit smack dab in the middle of the Kingdom Trails in East Burke, Vermont
- Hanging out with two Bengal cats on Catalina Island off the coast of California
- Housesitting twice in beautiful Marin county in a custom-built house up on the hills with Camp Tamarancho just a short drive away
As you can see, I’m obsessed with housesitting and I use Trusted Housesitters all the time to explore amazing destinations near and far from home (usually with great mountain biking or road cycling nearby).
I’m constantly browsing the TrustedHousesitters website for new and exciting listings and I probably apply to at least 5 housesits a month (I don’t always get them, but it’s fun to dream!)
If you’re thinking to yourself, this sounds amazing! It is and I truly think housesitting is the best way to travel, but there are a few things to keep in mind before you plunge in. Read on to learn whether housesitting is for you!
About Trusted Housesitters
Trusted Housesitters is the housesitting company I use, so this review is based on my experience with them.
The company is based out of Brighton, England and they’ve been around since 2010.
There are literally thousands of different housesits and available housesitters on the Trusted Housesitters site at any given time, making your dreams to travel to Australia or South Africa one step closer to coming true!
How Trusted Housesitters works
Trusted Housesitters works by connecting homeowners with reviewed and reliable housesitters. There is no money exchanged between the homeowners and housesitters, making it a win-win situation for everyone.
The homeowners get to travel knowing that someone is taking good care of their pets and home while the petsitters get a free place to stay while exploring a new destination and cuddling some new furry friends.
The only costs associated with Trusted Housesitters are an annual plan (see below) and transportation to-and-from the housesit whether that’s driving, flying, biking, or other.
It’s really important to know that you do not get paid as a housesitter with Trusted Housesitters.
Choosing a TrustedHousesitters plan
TrustedHousesitters has two different plans for housesitters: a Standard Sitter and a Premium Sitter. Having a Premium account doesn’t necessarily give you a leg-up for securing great housesits, but it does offer peace of mind if you plan on housesitting a lot because it provides extra insurance and liability protection among a few other perks.
A Standard Plan costs $169/year and a Premium Plan costs $259/year.
You can also do a combined plan, which allows you to post listings as a homeowner and apply for housesits as a pet sitter.
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Tips for creating a great profile
The secret sauce to landing amazing housesits around the world is creating a stellar profile. Here are a few tips to help you get started:
Really take the time to explain who you are, why you love to travel, what your skills are (like tummy rubbing or mowing the lawn), and why you signed up for Trusted Housesitters.
The more thorough and relatable you are, the better chance you have of getting your dream sits.
Don’t skip this step! TrustedHousesitters reviews are super important because they allow homeowners to get a better sense of who you are and whether you’d be a good fit.
Since you probably don’t have any housesitting reviews yet, ask around for some references from landlords, bosses, co-workers, and other people who know you well.
Choose a great profile photo that really encapsulates who you are.
Be sure to upload a few of your favorite photos, ideally featuring you interacting with pets and animals.
Cute dog photos go a long way.
If you have a lot of good reviews on Airbnb you can link your account. This could be a great way to increase your chances of getting your first sit if you don’t have any reviews yet on Trusted Housesitters.
You can also link your LinkedIn account if you’re active on that platform.
Applying for sits
Once you’ve created an account and chosen a plan, housesitters can apply for as many housesits as they want. This doesn’t mean you are guaranteed to get your top choice, but it does mean that if you keep at it, you will eventually land your first housesit.
When you apply for a sit, write a short, thoughtful note about why you’re interested in this sit and include a bit about who you are, where you live, and what you can offer. For example, I typically add that I work from home, so I’ll be around a good portion of the day to keep the critters company.
Every housesit I have done has had its own unique requirements in addition to caring for pets. For instance, during my sit in England, I mowed the (extensive) lawns every week. I’ve also maintained hot tubs, watered gardens, taken pets in for their routine shots, and more. Every housesit is different, so be sure to read through the listing to make sure it fits into your plans and expectations.
Here are a few things to consider when applying for sits:
If you see a sit that fits all of your criteria, don’t hesitate! Drop everything you’re doing and apply then and there. I’ve seen housesits with 51+ applicants and if your name isn’t the first few on the list you’re probably out of luck.
What to expect on your sit
Each sit is truly different, so it’s hard to say what to expect, but here are a few general considerations:
- You’ll probably either spend one night or at least a few hours getting a rundown of the house, pet care, and general overview of the housesit. I’d say for me, it’s been 50:50 as to whether the homeowner(s) want me to spend a night or just come over a few hours before they leave.
- You’ll most likely be expected to stay in close communication with the homeowners with daily texts, photos, and check-ins.
- The animals and home always come first. This is rule #1 of housesitting. If this means missing out on a favorite trail or ride because the dog needs to go to the vet or there’s a water leak in the basement then so be it. This also means making sure that the dogs get their morning walk before I jump on my bike or watering the garden before the sun gets too hot. Housesitting isn’t all about a free place to stay, it’s about taking care of the home and animals first and then having fun after.
- Problems to solve. Whether this is figuring out where the cheese grater is stored (true story), how to unclog the sink (another true story), or when it’s necessary to bring a pet to the vet (when in doubt just bring them in) you can expect to run into a few problems or at least head-scratchers that you’ll need to figure out.
- Cleaning! Always, always, always leave the house cleaner than you found it. This will help you secure stellar Trusted Housesitters reviews and it’s just common courtesy. I always set aside the last day of my sit just to clean, do laundry, and make the place look nice.
Collecting your five-star Trusted Housesitters reviews
Hopefully, at the end of your sit, you’ll be rewarded with a five-star review. These TrustedHousesitter reviews are worth their weight in gold because they help you score more and better housesits. The more reviews you have, the more likely homeowners will choose your application from a pool of many.
You can also leave a review of your housesitting experience, which I highly recommend doing, so other housesitters can better decide if they want to apply for that same sit.
Tip: Trusted Housesitters doesn’t actually do a great job of reminding you or the homeowners to leave a review. If it’s been a week or more and you still have received your review, you can go to “reviews” under your profile name and send a request.
Pros and cons of housesitting
Like everything in life, there are pros and cons to housesitting. Here are a few on my list. These aren’t to sway you one way or another, but it’s important to be realistic.
My experience with Trusted Housesitters: An honest review
In all honesty, I have only had amazing experiences with TrustedHousitters. I’ve done over 15 housesits all over the US and one in England and I hope to do many, many more. It’s hands down my favorite way to travel and since I travel a lot, it saves me a ton of money on accommodations. Of course, that’s not the only reason I housesit – I also love meeting new people, I’m a huge animal lover, and I prefer to experience places as a local rather than a tourist.
All that being said, though, I don’t apply for a housesit that I’m not 100% in for. If there are 5 dogs to feed and walk every day, that’s just too much for me even if it’s in the most amazing mountain bike destination ever.
So what about when things go wrong? I have been on housesits when I’ve needed to take the dogs to the vet (make sure the homeowners let you know they will pay the vet bill), unclog a very clogged up sink, jump over a fence because I locked myself out, manage a wild puppy in a tiny apartment, among other ‘problems’. But these problems are things I would need to deal with as a homeowner or pet owner myself. There is a risk when you agree to housesit, but that risk is definitely worth the amazing experiences you are sure to have.
Where I’ve housesat
So is housesitting for you?
If all this sounds like something you’re interested in and something that you’d be good at, I say go for it! Housesitting has been such an amazing experience for me and I highly recommend it to other travelers and adventurers.
But I can’t stress enough that housesitting is not just about a free place to stay. You have to be willing to treat it like a job and be uber-responsible and respectful. If you do that, housesitting will open so many amazing opportunities for you and give you access to incredible places around the world.
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What is your housesitting experience? Would you add anything to this Trusted Housesitters review? Let us know in the comments!