• Join TrustedHousesitters.com , pay annual fee, and create profile
  • Gather 3 letters of recommendation
  • Submit personal information, give permission for 3rd party background check
  • Look for sits around your preferred dates & possible locations
  • Video call with pet owner/homeowner for prospective sit
  • Finalize details and book travel & car rental
  • Share your personal Trustedhousesitters Link with friends for a discount
  • Remember no extra guests or outside pets at the owners home during your stay
  • Enjoy your slow travel experience 

One of the beautiful things about being retired is that we no longer need to fit our travels into 2 or 3 week blocks.  As retirees, we can take extended trips that allow for different kinds of travel experiences.  One of those, which we enjoy very much is that of a Trusted Housesitter.

What is a Trusted Housesitter you ask?  Someone who will be a caretaker for pets, livestock, on simply the home while the owner is out of town.  This allows you to stay in the home for free in exchange for caring for the pets and home.  We have completed several of these assignments internationally since we began housesitting in 2019.

Getting started is a very simple process.  We use the site, TrustedHousesitter.com, based in the UK.  There are other services, for example MindMyHouse, HouseCarers, Aussie House Sitters, House Sitters America and House Sitters Canada.  We only have personal experience with www.TrustedHousesitters.com.

The first step is to join Trusted Housesitters, Join Trusted Housesitters here and save 25% signing up and paying the annual fee.  As of this writing it was appx. $129 US per year.  This covers the background check and administrative fees.  Follow all the steps as you will need to grant specific permission for the background check, which is done by a third party company.

Once you have registered with TH, then create your profile.  You’ll need a good photo, where your face(s) are clearly visible.  You will also want write a short descriptive paragraph about yourself and why you want to be a Trusted Housesistter.  In our profile, we also referred people to check us out on AirBnb, where we have dozens of 5 star reviews about how well we care for a person’s  house when we stay there.

After creating your profile, you will need to reach out to a few friends, preferable pet owners, and ask them to write you a brief letter of recommendation.  Back when we signed up, there was a link you can send your friends to submit recommendations, however this process might have changed slightly.

While you wait for your background check to be completed, and your letters of recommendation to be posted, you can start to research places you would like to housesit using the filters on the site.  For example, Mike is allergic to cats, so we only apply for sits with dogs.  There are also a few sits with livestock – rabbits, goats, horses, cows.  We have zero experience with these animals, so we skip applying for these.

The listings for housesits usually have a description of the house/property, a description of the owners, and a description of the pets with photos.  Most listing also include reviews from previous housesitters sharing their experience, feedback about the pet, the owners, house and location.  This will give you a good idea of the place, the nearby area, and whether or not you will need to rent a car for the duration of your stay. We have done several sits in rural England, and have rented cars for the duration of the housesits.

Keep in mind, when you are looking for a housesit in very popular areas like London or Paris, you may have to apply for several sits before you are chosen for one.  It is up to the homeowner to make the selection.

After you make an application for a housesit and the homeowner has accepted, it is a good idea to setup a Zoom or Skype call for introductions.  After all the homeowner is entrusting you to care for their “baby”, so the more familiar with each other, the better the comfort level.  During the call, confirm WHEN on the start day the homeowner would like you to arrive, allowing time to go through daily routine for pets, emergency contacts, and any special instructions regarding the house.  For example, watering plants every few days, trash out, etc. Confirm all the details and then go ahead and make your flight & car arrangements. As a hint, if you are not sure if housesitting is for you, perhaps accept a short assignment close to where you live, to try out the experience, before spending money for airline tickets and rental car in a faraway destination.

Always, always take extra precautions to have the pet secure.  Either on a leash, or in the yard.  The worst experience would be to have an animal escape, and not come when called because you are an unfamiliar person.  Cannot emphasize this enough.  Even if the owner lets the pet “off leash” to run at the park, we don’t recommend it.  Keep the pets on a leash.

Homeowners are expected to provide accommodations, but not food or transportation.  It is very important to leave the house in tip top condition, and scrupulously clean at the end of your sit.  Do not expect the homeowner to arrive home to a dirty house, you are the cleaning service.  After we get settled in at the sit, we make a trip to a local supermarket for provisions:  groceries, sandwich supplies, coffee, etc.

Once the sit has begun, we settle into the pet schedule provided by the homeowners, and usually stay pretty close to home on the first couple of days so the pets get used to having us there.  A quick trip out for a meal, or a pint at the pub is a good way for the pets to learn you come back, and get used to comings and goings.

Once the routine is established, we feel comfortable going out for a few hours to see a sight or explore a village.  Never gone for more than 3-4 hours, so as not to leave the pets too long.  We find this style of sightseeing is different, in that we don’t stay gone all day, and usually limit ourselves to 1 major sight per day, remembering our primary responsibility is to the pets.  For example, if there are many things to see in the nearby area, we might return the next day or two, rather than be gone for so long trying to do it all in 1 day.

We have done multiple back-to-back housesits in England.  We allowed a day or two in between sits, staying in hotels, to allow time for travelling to the different locations.

One of the benefits of housesitting is living like a local, and really getting to know an area, rather than touring for one day and moving on.  It is a slower pace, with the benefit of a free place to stay.  We actually look for longer sits because as retirees, we have the time.  Our first sit was 8 days, and our second sit was 12 days. We highly recommend housesitting as a way to stay longer and save hotel dollars and have great travel experiences

Happy travels.
Kathy & Mike