Housesitting – A Cheaper Way To Travel!
- Cheap Travel
- Family Travel
Housesitting – A Cheaper Way To Travel!
This article was written by a colleague of ours, Edward Robinson, based on his family’s first experience ‘Housesitting’. We (Jen and Joao) started Housesitting last summer 2022 and found it to be a great way to travel cheaply throughout the year for just a small upfront cost. Read our initial Housesitting review here. After we posted about our experience, many of you signed up and agreed with what a great service it is.
Why we decided to Housesit?
At The Travel Mum we are always on the hunt for great travel deals and new ways to save money. Cheap flights and accommodation allow us to travel more often, and we want to pass that knowledge (and the savings) on to you. This summer, Jen took on some housesitting to investigate whether it really was a good option for saving money on accommodation. Essentially it involves looking after other people’s houses/pets whilst they are away in exchange for the accommodation. After seeing Jens housesitting review and what a positive experience she had, I took the leap of faith and registered to TrustedHousesitters to hopefully secure some cheap getaways for my family and I. We really want to travel more with our son while he is little, housesitting is a great way to do it on a tight budget. Last month I secured our first house sit in Exeter (Devon) and took my partner and our 6-month-old son. I wanted to write about my experience to help anyone who may be considering joining.
Signing up for the free account
The TrustedHousesitters website is easy to register to and create an account. This part is free. Once you have the free account you can scroll through the website or app and look at all the available housesits – this is the fun bit! There are so many opportunities all around the world but most choice seems to be within the UK and US. You can customise your search for location, specific dates, duration, and pets. We already have a cat and so feel most confident looking after other cats, it was useful having a filter specifically for this. You can filter for a variety of animals depending on what you would be most comfortable looking after. Jen looked after Alpacas on one of her sits! I like that the free membership allows you to browse all of the houses available before committing to the paid membership. We had already found a variety of places where we would like to stay before we signed up.
Signing up for premium access
In order to be able to arrange housesits you need to become a fully paid member. Membership is tiered and ranges from £99 to £199 for the whole year. We opted for the middle tier (£129) as this gets you unlimited housesits worldwide, free video & phone calls with vets plus accident & liability insurance. I thought this would mitigate against any worries we had about looking after someone else’s home/pets, it is a big responsibility! It is reassuring to know that you’re covered if something goes wrong. The rest is a bit like creating a social media page. You need to add photos, descriptions, interests etc to your profile to help people decide if they want you to look after their house. It helps to link your account to your Airbnb or Linkedin to help “Pet Parents” trust you and your family. You are then free to apply for unlimited housesits! Naturally, some sits are more popular than others, you can see how many people have applied to know what your chances might be of securing that particular sit. When you are starting out and have no reviews you likely wont be able to secure the luxury mansion in LA, but start small, build up your reputation and the world is your oyster. Dare to dream, cast your searching net wide and get excited about unlimited travel and accommodation over the next year! It really is a lot of fun looking through the options and deciding where you might like to go. Once the membership fee is paid and you’ve done your first sit, it really does feel like free accommodation.
Our First Housesit
Our first housesit was a week long stay visiting Exeter. This stay has already justified the membership fee for us. We had looked for accommodation prior to signing up to TrustedHousesitters and the price for the 7 night stay was looking to be around £800+. We wrote to the home owner explaining that we were wanting to visit Exeter and that we love cats and have one of our own. We explained that we had a baby and checked that it would be ok to visit with our son. He wrote back quickly saying he would love to have us stay. It was then confirmed on the app and we were good to go. The man that we sat for welcomed us and told us to make ourselves at home. His cat Aura was super friendly and was no trouble to look after. Our responsibilities were simple and included feeding her twice a day and giving cuddles in the evening. Once we fed her in the morning we were free to explore Exeter. It was crazy that we were able to sit on the beach in November with the winter sun shining down on us. The house was really close to the sea and Exeter city centre. I really recommend visiting this area if you haven’t already.
On completing your sit you can then review the home and the owner and they can review you. This creates increased trust when you apply for future sits. Naturally when the home owners are looking for someone to look after their house, people with lots of good reviews are favourable to people who have none. So the more sits you do, and the more good reviews you collect, the higher your chances become of securing that mansion in LA!
All in all, this was a very positive experience. We’ve already got another stay booked next year in the Cotswolds. I cannot recommend this enough if you’re looking for a cheaper way to get away in 2023.
If you want to learn more, click here to head over to the TrustedHousesitters website and sign up for their free account and see if you can find some where you would like to stay!
The links in this article are affiliate links. This means if you click and sign up to the website, we get a small commission at no extra cost to yourself. We tried TrustedHousesitters before becoming affiliates and joined the programme once we realised what a great service it is. We only recommend companies and websites that we have tried and tested and have found to be great value.