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Housesitting to Save Money on Travel Accommodation

housesitting to save money on travel accommodation

If you want to stay local at your destination but also want to save money, housesitting may just be the right fit. It’s possible to do this all over the world. Charli introduced Her Packing List readers with it in her three part series on a beginner’s guide to housesitting. It’s certainly not for everyone so we’ll dive into the pros and cons as well as what type of traveler it would be best for.

Housesitting Basics

The first thing you need to know about housesitting is how to set up a profile. This can be one of the more labor intensive processes, as you can create ones on multiple websites or just one specific to your destination. Trusted Housesitters and HouseCarers are just a few the main sites people use to apply for housesitting opportunities.

Once you start the application process, there are several things to keep in mind, such as the location of the housesit as well as any expectations of the homeowners. It’s important to cover off all the details when conversing with a potential homeowner.

And, after you get the sit of your dreams, you should come prepared (just in case the house doesn’t have plug adapters or a wine cork, or if you prefer to use your own pillow).

Who Should Housesit?

Digital nomads, people whose work can be done remotely, especially love housesitting gigs, as it typically entails reliable Internet and space to set up a temporary office. Slow travelers are cut out for it, as it allows you to spend lots of time in one place. It’s also a great opportunity for families who can find the right hosts as it allows you all the benefits of an apartment rental without the costs.

It’s important to note that housesitters should be hard workers, people prepared to accomplish the tasks required of them, not people who just want a free place to stay.


Pros of Housesitting

    • Money Savings: The biggest pro in housesitting is the ability to travel without spending hardly any money on accommodation.

      Potential Savings:

        • Apartment Rental in London: $200 USD per night plus transportation and food costs ($6000/month)
          Includes: WiFi, kitchen, accommodation
      • Housesitting Membership: around $75 per year plus food costs, possibly transportation
        Includes: WiFi, kitchen, accommodation, potential stipend
    • Local Living: You get to really feel like a local in your destination, experiencing the side of life you just don’t see as a tourist in downtown hotels.
    • Home Cookin’: You’ll be able to cook your own meals most of the time, which also saves money (and your health if you do it right).
    • Extra Perks: You sometimes get paid or have access to a vehicle to use to explore further.
    • Experience: Once you’ve done one housesit, it’s easier to land more.
  • Live Outside Your Suitcase: You can fully unpack your bags instead of constantly stuffing everything back in.

Cons of Housesitting

    • Location: On the flip side, you’re not really in control of where the home is located. It could put you far outside the tourist area.
    • Working Holiday: There may be work involved, not just a vacation in someone else’s house. Their pets may need constant attention, feeding and walking.
    • Fees: It’s also an investment on the front end, as most housesitting sites charge an annual fee, ranging from $50-100 USD.
    • Wrong Fit: Some people prefer couples or others prefer solo travelers, which can throw a wrench in your plans.
    • Lack of Exploration: You’ll need to commit to the entire length of time, so weekend getaways are generally out of the question unless you’ve planned ahead with your homeowners.
    • Visa: Depending on the sit and destination, you may require a specific type of visa if you’re housesitting overseas.
  • No Socialization: By staying at a housesit, you won’t meet fellow travelers like you might at a hotel or hostel.
Housesitting often involves petsitting as well.
Housesitting often involves petsitting as well.

Housesitting Caveats

And housesitting isn’t always sunshine and roses, as your hosts can cancel or be unreasonable in their requests.

Fellow traveler, Jeannie, got a case of fleas when the cat she was caring for at her house sit became infested with them. She ended up having to take the cat to the vet on her own dime.

Make sure you discuss emergency situations in your contract! Caitlin had to deal with her host’s creepy comments on her Facebook pictures in addition to having them push her into staying with them before and after housesitting.

More Housesitting Information

If you have further questions on how to travel the world indefinitely by housesitting, check out the Hecktic Travels ebook about housesitting.

*This post may contain affiliate links meaning we receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking them (at no extra cost to you).

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Packing Cubes – Organize your luggage with the lightweight, durable and compressible Eagle Creek Pack-It Specter Compression Cubes.

Backpacks + Daypacks

Pacsafe – Since they come with extra theft-resisting features, Pacsafe bags make you a more confident traveler. We especially love this bag.

Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.

Personal Care

Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

Anatomie – Anatomie travel pants come with luxury prices, but they offer many benefits for travelers. See our review of the famous Skyler pants.

Travel Resources

Booking Airfare

Dollar Flight Club – Get flight deal alerts for your preferred departure airport. There is both a free and premium version (recommended for more sweet deals). Members save on average $500 USD per flight!

Skyscanner – Skyscanner is our preferred site for searching flights. They offer unbiased search results and are free from hidden fees. You can also book your hotels and rental cars.


Airbnb – Airbnb is the best place to book out apartments around the world. Sign up using this link to get $37 USD off your first stay booking + $14 USD towards an experience booking! – Search for hotels, hostels, and apartments using this one resource. Use it for flights, car rentals, and airport taxis as well.

Hostelworld – For hostels, Hostelworld remains our number one source for booking stays. Choose from straight up hostels, budget hotels and bed and breakfasts.

Trusted Housesitters – Save money on travel accommodation by becoming a housesitter. Housesitters often have extra duties, like caring for pets and gardens.

Reader Interactions


  1. Abby Woody says

    Thanks for this honest look, Caroline. We are considering houseitting in Singapore or Malaysia in the coming months and have found some promising-looking placements, but I NEEDED that reminder that it isn’t totally free. I don’t have a profile yet so the reality of paying to set one up hadn’t sunk in yet. Thanks for giving us the pros and cons!

    • michellechee_ says

      Hi Abby,

      If you’re not accustomed to Asian lifestyles, you might find house-sitting in Singapore or Malaysia to be uncomfortable. Many homes still have their conventional squat toilets and if they aren’t, most bathrooms are small with the shower head barely spraying into the toilet. Unless of course, it’s a home of some super rich person! I only say this to hopefully prepare you for the experience. I’m Malaysian and my Australian fiance (6’2″) found it challenging to have a shower in my parents’ home (basically where I grew up). If you need some tips of great eating places in Kuala Lumpur, let me know – happy to help 🙂

      Good luck!

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