One of the most expensive accommodations travelers pay for is housing. Whether it’s a hotel or a vacation rental unit, if you plan on seeing the world, you’ll have to pay to stay somewhere.
But what if you could explore new destinations and not have to spend a dime on housing? In an interview with Insider, Marius Schmit thoroughly describes his experience seeing the world for little to nothing as a house-sitter.
Schmit describes himself as being “without a home”. His house-sitting journey began in 2017 after leaving Munster, Germany to travel the world. When an ex-girlfriend introduced him to house-sitting, his days spent paying for AirBNBs and hotels came to an end.
“I’ve been house-sitting now for 2½ years,” Schmit told Insider. “I’ve done 27 sits in places like Dubai, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, and Bulgaria.”
Schmit isn’t the only traveler tapping into the perks of house-sitting. In fact, there are entire websites and communities dedicated to finding assignments for those who don’t mind keeping a watchful eye on someone’s home.
Like Schmit, these individuals are traveling the world without paying for housing. A seemingly untapped industry, house-sitting is an easy way to save a few bucks when exploring planet Earth.
Free Accommodations Worldwide
The biggest perk of house-sitting of course is staying in the home for free. According to NerdWallet, the nightly cost of a hotel per person is $75 while an Airbnb cost $125 for two people. House-sitting eliminates this cost altogether.
However, Schmit reminds travelers in his Insider essay that there is no pay for house-sitting. The exchange for overseeing the home is free accommodations. This is the perfect opportunity for someone who works remotely and doesn’t have to leave home for long periods of time for work.
Schmit has been able to house-sit in locations around the world. So travelers can find opportunities both internationally and within the states.
One common thing he’s noticed when getting house-sitting jobs is that most homeowners typically have pets that need to be cared for. This can range from cats and dogs to even horses and chickens in more rural areas. Caring for pets and the homes are the main responsibilities of housesitters depending on the gig.
House-sitting Is A Commitment
Unfortunately, house-sitting is not a free vacation. Homeowners expect sitters to be dedicated to taking care of their property and pets while they are away. If pets aren’t for you, house-sitting may be out of the question considering many gigs include taking care of animal friends.
Due to pet care, some homeowners don’t allow sitters to stay away from the home overnight. Schmit says it’s important prospective sitters ask the right questions to find out what the rules are before taking on gigs.
Outside of the animals, house-sitting duties will vary depending on the needs of the homeowner. Some basic tasks include emptying the garbage, cleaning up, watering plants, and collecting mail. While some folks stick to the basics, Schmit advises always leaving a home better than you found it.
Schmit also says the homeowner may include more strenuous activities like gardening, yard work, and even pool cleaning. Occasionally, house-sitters may even run into owners with cars that they are allowed to use as long as they keep up the maintenance.
Whatever tasks the homeowner assigns, doing a great job when taking care of someone’s home is the first step to getting more house-sitting gigs around the world.
How To Find House-Sitting Gigs
Most house-sitters find their gigs through membership platforms like TrustedHousesitters.com. Blogger and budget traveler James Cave said TSH is the most trusted source for housesitting gigs. He also noted that gigs go very fast so it’s important to stay alert when opportunities become available.
Schmit encourages travelers to begin their house-sitting journeys by taking more short-term stays to build their TSH profiles. Short multi-day or week-long stays will allow travelers to build a rapport amongst homeowners and gain reviews on their profiles.
Once a job is in motion, Schmit says most homeowners will do a video chat interview to answer questions and see the home. However, he says it’s important to ask need-to-know questions and to always follow your intuition if you feel unsure about a gig.
“From the start, I would be very selective,” he said. “Don’t go for everything.
When a house-sitting job is secured, Schmit encourages travelers to keep good communication with the owners. This could include phone calls or texts with videos and photos of the pets they’ve left behind. Good communication lessens the homeowner’s anxiety and reassures them you’re taking care of their home.