Why you should consider an in-home pet sitter who will care for your pet and house....for free
1) Less stress for your pet
Sure you can ask your friend, neighbor or mother-in-law to housesit your pet. Or, you can kennel your pet or hire a service to stop by a few times during a day. But why would you, when you (and your pet) can enjoy all the benefits of a live-in sitter -- at no cost to you?
Your pet(s) avoid the stress (and expense) of having to be kenneled. Fido continues to sleep on his favorite bed every night and enjoy his comfortable surroundings. And, you don't have to worry about your pet getting kennel cough or other infections. Plus, an in-home pet sitter can care for animals that a boarding kennel may not accept. For example, we've cared for a tortoise and chickens in our pet/house sits.
There are lots of great pet sitting companies and services, but they typically charge between $25 to $40 or more a day. The far majority of the over 9,000 pet sitters on Trusted Housesitters (US) don't charge for their services. Like us, they believe the "payment" is the opportunity to live in a home free of charge during the term of the house sit.
2) Get instant notification of home repair issues
In addition to having responsible individuals care for your pet, you also can travel worry-free knowing that your house sitter is looking after the air conditioner, furnace, hurricane shutters, irrigation systems and mechanical systems that can be prone to leaks or troubles. Many of the house sitters are retirees who have owned their own homes for years and know how to respond when something goes wrong. In addition, many of the sitters -- like us -- have experience caring for swimming pools, spas, lawns, gardens, etc. so you don't have to worry about your pool turning green while you're gone or your green grass turning brown.
If someone is simply checking in on your home every now and again, they may not see the leaks nor can they quickly close the windows/shutters when storms threaten.
3) In-home sitters = safety/security for your home
In addition to the pet and home mechanicals being meticulously cared for, an in-home house sitter also provides an additional safety/security factor. A home that looks lived in is less likely to be attractive to burglars. There's movement in the home, drapes opened during the day and closed in the evenings, lights on at night, no overflowing mail boxes or newspapers on the driveway.
4) Your insurance policy may not cover your unoccupied home
Check with your individual insurance carrier, but you may find that your homeowner's policy doesn't extend coverage on your home if it's unoccupied for over 30 days. That means if you're traveling for more than 30 days or you're a snowbird traveling between homes, you may not be covered in the event of a theft, a fire, a leak, etc.
5) Get notification of important mail
If you're traveling for a long period, you likely bank online and don't have to worry about monthly bills. But there's always the surprise mailing. During one recent three month house sit, we were asked to notify the homeowners of any mailings that appeared to have timely information. We informed the homeowners about an envelope from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The homeowners asked us to open the letter. It was a mailing indicating that the DMV did not have verification of insurance on one of their cars. If not addressed within 30 days, the vehicle registration would be suspended by the DMV. Not a good thing! We contacted the homeowners' insurance agent and had them submit the proper documentation to the DMV.
5) You'll meet people from all over the world and help promote tourism
We're frequently asked, why would a homeowner in Australia invite an American couple to house sit for them, when they could find someone nearby to do the same thing? We believe that websites like Trusted Housesitters (US) help promote tourism. The people whose homes we care for are eager to recommend places for us to visit and are proud of their communities.
No doubt, there's an element of trust in having a "stranger" live in your home. But if you do your due- diligence ahead of time (read our article Doing your due-diligence in finding a qualified in-home house/pet sitter ) you will soon join the ranks of others who are benefiting from this wonderful exchange.
DISCLOSURE: In the spirit of full disclosure, this page contain an affiliate link, which means that we may get a commission if you decide to join TrustedHousesitters. We only recommend them because we are paying members ourselves and love the many worldwide listings we receive from them every day, so we know youll benefit as well.
Do what we're doing!!! Why, as a retiree, you should consider pet and house sitting
Many house/pet sitters are like us -- responsible retirees who come from professional backgrounds. If you're retired or have a job that can be done remotely, you should consider international house and pet sitting.
1) Travel the world; less expensively
Yes, you have to pay to belong to one or more of the house/pet sitting web sites (yearly fees range from $50 to $90 per site) and you have to pay to get yourself to the house sit. But once you're there, you live in the home for free in exchange for taking care of the home and pet. We couldn't afford to stay in London for two months or New Zealand for six weeks if it weren't for house sitting. Plus, since the homes all have kitchens, we save tremendously on being able to shop at local markets and/or grocery stores and doing our own cooking.
2) Live like a local
You probably spent your working days like we did, cramming in vacations rushing from one place to the next -- exhausted before you left and after you returned. House sitting, especially those for longer periods, allows the opportunity to travel at a much more leisurely pace. We balance visiting local sites and finding great hiking trails with doing normal chores like grocery shopping, house cleaning and laundry. We've also done volunteer work in the communities where we are sitting which is another great way to meet locals who all are very welcoming and eager to offer advice on places to see and things to do.
3) Make worldwide friendships
True, we only stay with the homeowners a few days on the front end and typically a day on the back end of a house sit, but even during that short time, we have come to make long-lasting friends around the globe. Perhaps it's because these homeowners open up their homes to us, introduce us to their families and neighbors and are like-minded travelers that the connection is so strong and immediate. Or, it's just that we've been very, very fortunate to have applied for and been selected to care for homes of people who are very special. No matter the reason, we are blessed to have met such interesting, diverse, well-traveled, adventurous homeowners over the past two plus years. You will too!
Is pet and house sitting for you? Click on Travel the World for tips on how to get started.