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How to House Sit Around the World Part 2: Choosing Your Assignment

How to House Sit Around the World Part 2

In the first part of the How to “House Sit Around the World” series, I talked about creating a kick-ass profile and applying for your first house sitting assignment.

Hopefully all the talk of travelling in luxury for less has ignited your interest in the concept of house sitting. In part two, I’ll be going into a little more detail by highlighting:

  • How to choose the assignments that suit your travel needs
  • What to look out for when entering into a discussion about an advertised assignment
  • Why it’s always a good idea to chat to the home owner about their expectations before you agree to house sit for them

However before I start why not take 30 seconds to visualise your dream assignment.

It could be a beach house in the Caribbean, a suburban family home in the UK or a rural lifestyle block in New Zealand. Whatever your ideal house sit, meditate on that thought now.

lifestyle farm in rural new zealand
Stay at a lifestyle farm in New Zealand.

Then consider how you can…

Get More Bang For Your House Sitting Buck

House sitting is the perfect tool for the frugal traveler. It’s a fact that accommodation costs often eat into the majority of one’s travel fund, so sourcing free lodging means more finance available for activities and experiences when you’re on vacation.

As a digital nomad, house sitting has allowed me to stretch my budget substantially. I’ve been able to stay for free in a number of countries where the cost of living is much higher than those on the more traditional budget traveler trail.

For example, sourcing a house sitting assignment in Sydney could allow you to utilise more of your savings to see the world famous city, rather than ploughing the majority of your money into a hotel room or short term rental for the duration of your stay.

During my stay in Australia I saved over five thousand dollars by house sitting which I put towards an epic Aussie road trip!

The epic Aussie road trip.
The epic Aussie road trip.

Sample Alternative Locations and Lifestyles

One of the great aspects of house sitting is that it offers travelers the opportunity to step into the shoes of a homeowner in a different suburb, state or country. Walking a mile in someone else’s shoes can open your eyes to new lifestyles and allow you the chance to sample daily life in a variety of different locations and cultures.

However, it’s important that you consider every aspect of your “temporary life” before agreeing to take on any responsibilities.

If your plan is to see as much of the surrounding area as possible then it might not be advisable to take on a sit which involves in-depth animal care or is particularly remote. Instead look for something close to the locations you hope to visit and will allow you the freedom to spend your days as you please.

If you are interested in sampling life in a particular locale then perhaps daily responsibilities are not a major concern. Just make sure you are confident that you can fulfil the owner’s expectations and are happy to take on the relevant daily chores.



Consider Location Logistics

Foreign Assignments
If taking on a house sitting assignment abroad, you’ll need to make sure that you are eligible for a tourist visa to cover the duration of your stay. One point to note is that although house sitting is not technically a form of employment as no wage is paid, some countries will class it as a form of volunteering and therefore require you to hold a work visa.

Never mention that you are house sitting when passing through immigration as you enter a country. When asked, I say that I am staying with friends. Should the immigration officer suspect that you are in fact working, you could be refused entry and therefore lose out on your dream house sit.

Of course if you do choose to charge for your services then you will be required to hold a work visa.

*Her Packing List urges you to research this option carefully and make your own educated decision when it comes to immigration.

Sailing Sydney Harbour
Sailing Sydney Harbour

Unfamiliar Locations
If you’ve never been to the location in question take the time to research the area before you agree to live there temporarily. A few hours spent online making sure what you perceive to be paradise lives up to your expectation is well worth it.

Talk to the home owner about their proximity to the services you’ll require during your stay. Generic services like medical care, groceries and fuel are a must. However, if you’re someone who needs activities and culture to keep you happy, then ensure there are day trip options close by.

Property Facilities
As soon as a home owner shows interest in your application, you can begin the process of interviewing them. It’s just as important that you approve them and their living situation as it is that they approve you to care for their home while they are away.

Write down exactly what you will need during your stay.

Transport
Some owners are happy for their sitters to utilise their car for the duration of the assignment; others prefer that you utilise public transport.

Communication
Find out what internet and phone package you will have access to. If like me you run an online business, then a reliable internet connection is vital.

Maintenance costs
Ask the owner for a break down of exactly what costs you will be liable for during your stay. You could have to pay for anything from gas and electric to communal property maintenance fees. For assignments which are less than 1 month, I have found the owners are normally happy to cover these costs but any more than a month and you could be asked to contribute to your living costs during the sit. This should be explained to you in detail prior to arriving at the property. Go ahead and ask if nothing is mentioned.

Communicate with the Home Owner

To ensure you have a superb experience when house sitting, it is vital that you take the time to chat with the home owner prior to accepting their offer of temporary accommodation.

Understanding the extent of the responsibilities you will undertake during your stay, as well as the lifestyle you will sample, is key.

When house sitting solo there are a couple of additional points to consider:

Don’t negate personal safety.
Ask the owner for their thoughts on the suitability of the assignment to a solo sitter. If the property is very remote, involves a lot of additional maintenance, or means you have to utilise unreliable public transport to buy groceries and the like, then make sure you are comfortable with those facts before accepting.

Find out if house guests are welcome.
While all house sitters should confirm with a home owner whether they are happy for them to entertain guests in their home, solo travelers should also be aware of the owner’s wishes when accepting the assignment.

Ask for emergency contacts.
Life can sometimes throw you a curve ball. While all sitters should ensure they have a local contact to call in an emergency, solo sitters should consider collating a list of the owner’s neighbours and friends so they have extended support should she need it.

Costa Rica landscape, Monteverde.
Decide which sort of location suits your travel style. Perhaps the chance to experience this blissful landscape in Costa Rica’s Monteverde.

Don’t forget that every assignment is unique. Just like each home owner, every sitter has different requirements and expectations for their experience.

The key to ensuring you find your dream house sit is understanding what you want from the experience and making sure you only accept the assignments which can offer you just that.

Don’t be afraid to interview the home owners just as they have interviewed you. House sitting is a partnership, an agreement, and an understanding. Both parties must be on the same page.

If this article has your house sitting wanderlust on overdrive, then watch out for the final part in the “How to House Sit Around the World” series where I’ll be taking a look at what to pack for your house sitting assignment.

Until then happy house sitting everyone!

>> Become a house sitter at Trusted Housesitters.

Written by Charli

Charli Moore is a house sitter and travel addict with a penchant for dark chocolate. In 2011 she and her other half Ben waved ‘Adios’ to the corporate world and jumped head first into a life of perpetual travel. You can follow the adventures of this writer/photographer team over at Wanderlusters or find them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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