Housesitting – How We Stay For Free While Traveling

Note: Affiliate Links are used in this blog post

Whenever people travel, one of the biggest expenses is lodging. Whether you stay at a 5 star resort, or a locally owned motel, the expense can add up with every night. In 2021, the average price of a hotel was $194 a night!1

So when we tell people about our nomadic lifestyle, we get a lot of questions and unsolicited comments about our lodging:

So are you living the van/RV life?

Or do you just stay hotels/motels every night?

Or are you staying with friends and family the entire time?

Wow, it must be expensive to find a new place to stay in every new city you visit.

No, we are not doing a camper van or RV while we travel. We had considered it, but for someone as active and as sweaty as me, I personally like showering every day. We also weren’t really jazzed about the idea of buying an RV. According to Camper Report2, it costs on average $45 a night for an RV campsite. Much cheaper than a hotel at least!

No, we are not staying in hotels/motels every single night. We will stay in hotels/motels on occasion, just a place to sleep before we’re back on the road the next day. But we enjoy cooking too much to live in hotels/motels full time, and not all places take pets (unfortunately).

We plan on spending some time with family and friends, as our main goal of traveling this year is to reconnect with people we haven’t seen since the pandemic began. But we also don’t want to be a burden to them. We understand how lucky we are that most of them are willing to open up their homes to us, and for that we are grateful. Plus, it allows us to spend more quality time with them! But we are not relying on our loved ones the entire time.

So how are we bopping around the country then? How can we decrease our living expenses even further while we travel, without compromising safety and comfort?

Trusted Housesitters

Trusted Housesitters is a platform that connects pet owners and sitters around the world. For an annual fee, you can join as a pet owner or a sitter, and have access to the community. You can book as many house sits as you like, wherever is available. Since all of the sitters are background checked and verified, you can trust that you will find someone legit to watch your fur baby. There is no exchange of money or goods between the two parties. Although you aren’t getting paid to watch their pet, you are staying in their home for free. It’s a win-win situation!

Becoming a Pet Sitter

When we signed up to become a pet sitter with Trusted Housesitters, the process was really simple:

Purchase Your Sitter Plan

There are 3 types of plans – basic, standard, and premium. The more you pay, the more benefits come with your plan, such as free communication with veterinarians, sit cancellation insurance, and even global airport lounge passes. We personally chose the standard plan, because we knew we would be housesitting multiple times and we wanted to make sure we had access to veterinarians in case of emergency. We didn’t need premium this year, as we don’t plan to house sit overseas, but in the future we would highly consider upgrading.

Build Your Profile

Once you purchase your plan, you start to build your profile. Make yourself stand out, and show yourself off! Use pictures of yourself with pets, and fill in the About Me sections with as much info as you can to show your personality. Most importantly, get background checked and get as many verifications as possible. Sitter verifications will boost your profile, showing that you are super legit.

You will have to do a background check through Trusted Housesitters. You will also have to provide a government issued form of identification, like your passport or your driver’s license. Then, you can ask for external references to fill out a form voguing for your amazing pet sitter services. We had pet sit for a friend in the past, and they were able to write us a glowing review. But if you haven’t pet sit before, ask a close family member or friend or coworker who can share with Trusted Housesitters how responsible you are and why you’d be a great pet sitter.

Apply For Unlimited Sits

Now you’re ready to start looking for housesits! You can search by date, by region, what type of pets, local attractions, and more. For us as remote workers, we make sure that our housesits have high speed wifi, which is a filter you can use while you search.

The person looking for a pet sitter may have multiple applications, so bear in mind that this is not a guarantee until it has been confirmed. Sometimes it takes a while for them to get back to you, as they are sifting through multiple applications.

You can also save favorite spots, and sign up for emails so that when new postings come live, you can be in the know. And hopefully, be chosen before anyone else applies!

Do The Thing

Now you have been confirmed by the pet’s owner. You have possibly arranged a time to meet them to pick up the keys, or they have given you instructions on how to access their home. Now, it’s time to take care of their fur baby!

Most sits that we have encountered have left us very detailed information on their pet. We also make sure that we know exactly what we are responsible for prior to arriving at the home. Typically the day or two before we arrive, we will read over the welcome guide (that they provide either on Trusted Housesitters, or may send us separately if they already have something created).

Once we arrive to the home, we immediately take a photo of their pet and let them know that we have arrived. During our sit, we take at least 2 photos a days – one in the morning, and one in the evening – to let them know that their fur baby is in good hands.

When we are leaving, we make sure we leave their home in even better condition than we arrived. Unlike a hotel, we are in someone’s home, so we want to make sure they arrive home and not have to worry about who was staying in their home prior. We wash the sheets and the towels, run the dishwasher, and make sure we don’t leave anything behind. Some pet owners have very specific rules for checking out, so make sure that you abide to those requests. If we are not meeting the owners before we leave, we also take one last picture and let them know that we have left their home.

Finding a Pet Sitter

Purchase Your Owner Plan

Similar to the Sitter Plan, there are the 3 memberships – basic, standard, and premium. As an Owner, you now have added protections such as home and contents protection, along with sit cancellation insurance as well.

Create Your Listing

Now it’s time to show off your pet and your home to attract sitters! Create your listing with multiple pictures of your home and pet, so that you can catch the eye of potential pet sitters that are looking to travel to your area. Write a detailed description of your home, amenities, location and neighborhood, to encourage pet sitters to travel to your city. Talk about how awesome your pet is, and make sure to provide details on how to care for them. You can provide more details once you select a sitter, but as a pet sitter, we like to know what exactly we are applying for, so that we can be the best fit for the pet.

Now that your listing is set up, add the dates that you will be away and need a sitter. Once you set up your listing, you add the dates that you know you’ll be out of town. Your listing will not become available until you have at least one set of dates.

Choose A Pet Sitter

You listing is live! You will start to receive applications from pet sitters. Now you can pick and choose who you think would be the best fit for you and your pet. Most owners prefer to have a phone call or video chat prior to confirming the sit. But you will see that all the sitters on Trusted Housesitters are verified. Some may have already completed petsitting jobs and will have reviews that you can look over as well.

Create A Welcome Guide

You picked your trusted housesitter, and you’re getting ready to travel with the peace of mind that your fur baby will be in good hands. In order to make sure your trusted housesitter is ready, you will prepare a welcome guide.

Trusted Housesitters provides a great template for the welcome guide. This is where you can leave check in and check out instructions, medical needs, walking habits, and more. You can also create your own in whatever format you like, and send it to your house sitter as well, if that is easiest for you. Either way, providing a comprehensive guide will help your petsitter be fully knowledgable of their responsibilities.

Enjoy Your Travels

You provided the welcome guide to your trusted housesitter, and now you’re ready to enjoy your travels! At this stage, you have probably exchanged real contact information, such as your phone number and email, in case of emergencies. But you can also contact them through Trusted Housesitters as well. But now, you can sit back, relax, and know that your fur baby is in good hands.

What If I Want To Do Both?

You can purchase a combined plan where you can be a pet sitter, and also look for a pet sitter for your fur baby while your’e traveling! Once we decide we’re ready to settle down and have a permanent residence, we will highly consider the combined plan.

So if you’re looking to travel, love pets, and want to save some money on lodging, I would highly recommend Trusted Housesitters!

If you’re looking for more ways to save money, check out some of my other blog posts:

If you want one-on-one mentoring in your finances, let’s work together to help you on your personal finance journey! Click here to sign up for your FREE 20 minute consult.

Note: I am not a certified financial advisor/planner or a certified financial analyst or a CPA or an accountant or a lawyer. Remember, I am an allied health professional, just like you! This website/blog is for entertainment and educational purposes only. Please consult with your financial advisor(s) regarding your personal finance, investment, and tax matters. 



Thanks for reading my blog! I use affiliate links to keep this blog and its content free for you, so I would be so grateful for your support by clicking below!

  • Trusted Housesitters is a platform that connects pet owners and sitters around the world. For an annual fee, you can join as a pet owner or a sitter, and have access to the community. Click here to sign up today!
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