Wondering how to start house sitting? We list the best house sitting websites and offer tips so you can even do international house sitting!

How To Start House Sitting: Websites, Tips, Costs, and Safety Concerns

Wondering how to start house sitting? We list the best house sitting websites and offer tips so you can even do international house sitting!

How To Start House Sitting

When we decided to become digital nomads, we knew that our traditional way of life was going out the window. Our major concern, when traveling full time, is figuring out where to live. We are on a very limited budget, so we can’t afford to pay for hotels or Airbnbs.

We’ve found that out of the many ways to travel with free accommodation, house sitting has been the most rewarding, and it has allowed us to travel slowly and as locals for nearly three years.

*Scroll to the end to watch our YouTube video about house sitting!*

Best House Sitting Websites

If you’re ready to start house sitting, there are a number of websites you can use. Some are more specific to certain countries or areas, but some are perfect for international house sitting. Below are some of the best house sitting websites:

  • Trusted Housesitters – $129 a year; International house sitting.
  • Nomador – $89 a year; International house sits with a focus on Europe.
  • HouseSitMexico – $79 a year; Specific to Mexico.
  • Housecarers – $50 a year, Focuses on Australia, New Zealand, and North America
  • MindMyHouse – $20 a year; International house sitting.

Trusted Housesitters

When we started researching house sitting websites, we heard the best things about Trusted Housesitters and knew many other bloggers that used them. It is the most expensive website, but they have a user-friendly website and great customer support. We’ve been happy using them for three years so they are who we personally recommend.

start house sitting with Trusted House Sitters
Trusted Housesitters Homepage

How To Sign Up For Trusted Housesitters

Signing up for Trusted Housesitters is a straight forward process. There are videos on the website and frequently asked questions that make it super easy.

When signing up for Trusted Housesitters, there are two options you can choose from: Home & Pet Owner or House Sitter. Each is an annual fee of $129 (if you sign up for both at the same time you get a bit of a discount).

Pro Tip: You can get 25% off by using the code RAF79399.

We think the price is pretty reasonable no matter which of the two you choose from. If you’re a pet owner and want to travel, you spend a lot more than that when you take your pet to a kennel. If you’re a traveler, you spend a lot more than that on accommodation. So even if you only use it once, you are guaranteed to save money.

Like we said, the sign-up process is easy. As an applicant to be a house sitter, you give basic information about yourself and what experience you’ve had with pets. You can also add other details that give you a more personal profile; we mentioned our love of travel and that we have this travel blog.

For every step of the process, there were tips and guides on the website, so it really was very easy to do. Below is a screenshot of my Trusted Housesitters profile…

Trusted Housesitters is one of the best house sitting websites
My Trusted Housesitter Profile

Start House Sitting – Search And Apply

Once you’ve gone through the background check and verification, you can get started house sitting. Keep in mind, Trusted Housesitters is in over 140 countries!

You can do a simple search by typing in a state/country or you can add filters like specifying certain dates or if you only want to care for a specific type of animal. You are then left with a list of available house sits.

Let’s say you want to see what house sits are available in Florida. Simply type in “Florida” and we see there are currently 6 homeowners looking for a sitter…

Getting started house sitting is easy with Trusted Housesitters
Trusted Housesitters search page

If there’s one that interests you, click on it for more information. The homeowner will lay out more about the house itself, the surrounding area, and whatever responsibilities you’d have with their pets and/or house.

If you want to apply, you then send them a message through the site. Some people will respond right away, some might not respond at all. You just have to apply and see how it goes.

We’ve had nothing but great experiences so far. We’ve gotten to meet new people and have been able to explore new cities. We also love it because we feel like it’s a more authentic travel experience and we get to see a place from more of a local perspective.

Pro Tip: Keep track of where you’ve been with this Travel Tracker Map.

Is House Sitting Safe?

Something we’re asked pretty frequently: Is house sitting safe? We feel that the answer is yes. For one, Trusted Housesitters does background checks. For another, we speak with the homeowner ahead of time and get a general feel for the person.

But what we really take into account is the fact that these homeowners have paid for their membership, same as we have. To us, that makes us think they’re a bit more serious and responsible. Obviously, you never know what could happen, but we just don’t feel like unsavory characters would be going through the effort to sign up on Trusted Housesitters.

House Sitting Is Perfect For Weekend Travel And Pet Lovers

We’ve always been advocates for traveling while holding down a full-time job, so if you’re trying to find ways to travel on the weekends while not spending a fortune, this is for you.

Or even if you don’t want to go far, but want to spend time cuddling with a dog or cat, this is also a good option. We know plenty of people that can’t have a pet because of where they live or because they themselves travel so often, so they love that they can have the pet experience for a few days.

Over the years we’ve taken care of dogs, cats, birds, hamsters, and even chickens!

snuggling with a dog we took care of while house sitting
So many snuggles!
Beautiful Siamese cats we took care of while house sitting
Beautiful Siamese cats
when you start house sitting you can spend a lot of time cuddling with animals
This little girl really loved to cuddle!

Tips For House Sitting

Since we’ve been house sitting for a few years now, we feel we can offer some tips to help you get started and also to help you continue to get house sits in the future.

  • Start Local – Finding house sits can be competitive, especially in areas that are popular tourist destinations. Think about it, other house sitters want to spend their time there too. What we recommend is first starting with local house sits. Homeowners are more likely to pick you if you can arrange an in-person meet up first, preferably with the pet so that they make sure it is comfortable with you and you with it. If you’re local, they will also be more comfortable knowing you are familiar with the area. After you complete a house sit, you’ll get a review from the homeowner. Building up your profile with great reviews will make it easier to later find other house sits in different areas.
  • Keep In Touch – Before the homeowners leave, we like to confirm how often they’d like to be contacted. Some like a daily text with a photo, some prefer to completely disconnect and enjoy their vacation without thoughts of home. Some like a weekly email. Whatever is decided on, it’s important that you send little hellos and photos so the homeowners know everything is going well.
  • Keep The House Clean – When you house sit you won’t be expected to be a house cleaner. In fact, many homeowners have house cleaners that still come on their regularly scheduled days. However, you should be cleaning up after yourself. When the homeowner gets back, they should come home to a fresh and spotless house. It will let them know you’ve been diligently caring for their home and will lead to great reviews.
  • Maintain Your Vehicle – If you’re driving to a house sit, make sure that you’re traveling in a reliable car. Some homeowners do allow you to use their vehicle, but we prefer to have our own. We do regular oil changes, check the tires, and always have our road trip essentials.
  • Keep In Touch Afterwards Too – We’ve gotten repeat house sits because we’ve developed great relationships with the homeowners. We send texts just to say hi or to ask if they’re ok if we see there’s been some kind of natural disaster in their area. We’ve also been welcomed back into homes just to visit; that’s how good of a relationship we’ve formed.

Our Video About House Sitting

In this video, we answer your top 5 questions about house sitting:

YouTube video

Additional Questions We’ve Gotten From You

Here are some additional questions we’ve gotten from you over the years:

  • When do you arrive at the house?
    • We usually arrive the evening before the homeowners are scheduled to leave and spend the night at the house. This gives us time to chat with the homeowners and become familiar with the house and pets. There is usually a guest bedroom where we’ll be staying the duration of the house sit.
  • Do you leave immediately after the homeowners return?
    • It depends on what time they get back and what our plans are. If they get back early and we have to get on the road to our next destination, we leave pretty quickly. Other times, if the homeowners get back late, we spend the night and leave in the morning.
  • Where do you stay between house sits?
    • We’ve stayed at friends’ houses or slept in the car at rest stops. Sometimes we stay at hotels. That gets expensive quick, though. We do our best to look for house sits that we can drive to within a day or two so we don’t have this issue.
  • How do you decide where to look for house sits?
    • Sometimes if we have an end destination, we look for house sits along the way. For example, let’s say we’re in Florida and need to be in Massachusetts in two months. We’ll look for house sits along the east coast that have dates that work within our timeline. We could find a house sit for 2 weeks in North Carolina and then a month-long house sit in Pennsylvania. You just have to be flexible.
  • Can you eat the food in the house?
    • Each house sit is different, but usually the homeowners have been using up what they have in the fridge knowing they were leaving. But, if there are perishables left they say to feel free to eat them or they’ll go bad anyway. Using condiments and spices is usually fine, but for the most part we leave everything else in the fridge and pantry as is and we buy our own groceries.
  • Are there any house sits with no pets?
    • Sometimes you can find them, but for the most part all house sits will have a pet for you to take care of.
  • What is your favorite thing about house sitting?
    • Definitely the people we’ve met and the relationships we’ve formed. Also, we love being able to really get to know an area by staying in a neighborhood and getting recommendations for what to see and do from locals.
  • What do you dislike about house sitting?
    • This is a hard question because we really do love everything about it. If we have to say one thing, though, it’d be cleaning up accidents in the house lol!

Final Thoughts On Getting Started House Sitting

House sitting opened up a whole new world for us and has allowed us to travel slowly all over the country. We’ve even done some international house sitting! But even if you’re not looking for anything long term like we are, we still think house sitting is a great option for traveling and saving money on accommodation.

Like we mentioned earlier, Trusted Housesitters has a pretty straightforward process to sign up. However, if you have any questions about Trusted Housesitters, or house sitting in general, feel free to ask them in the comments below and we’ll do our best to answer them. 🙂

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Wondering how to start house sitting? We list the best house sitting websites and offer tips so you can even do international house sitting!

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  1. I have a friend who house sits for me occasionally – it’s definitely the nicest way to leave your animals for a while (in my case a cat). In fact I think some pets quite relish their temporary ‘slaves’ – and it’s such an easy win for travellers too!

  2. I’d love to give housesitting a try someday. It seems like a great way to afford long and short term travel. But even more so, I like the spontaneity it could bring, since you’re not quite sure where your next housesitting job will be, right? Good luck and keep us posted on the pros and (any) cons!

  3. A friend of mine is using this service in her home area, along with her boyfriend, so that they can save most of their salary for a year or more, and be able to put down a deposit to buy their own home. Paying rent would make saving sooo much slower for them. They also did a couple of months travelling through this service and loved that too.

  4. I do catsitting when I travel, but I get them from other online sources like Facebook, Couchsurfing, etc. I would love to sign up here, but it’s not worth it for me. Having a Philippine passport means I can’t just go where I want to go. Being a member is good though, as it gives you some sort of security both as a sitter and as an owner.

  5. What a brilliant idea! I didn’t know this existed! I’m going to have a look especially as it is 140 countries! Thank you for sharing this valuable information.

  6. This is such a relevant and helpful post for me as I’m looking into house sitting for when I start traveling again. i’m actually releasing a post on Tuesday about it. I have bookmarked this post and will definitely be referring to it if I decide to go the house-sitting route. Could have been better timing, thanks 😀

  7. This is such a great option for both people who want to travel on a budget + love animals AND pet-owners who want to travel. If my mom didn’t love to watch her granddog as much as she does I would definitely need to take advantage of this! I love that it’s a program that you feel safe using as well! Thanks for sharing this guide to getting started!

  8. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of house sitting when traveling but I haven’t had a chance to further investigate and make the investment. Glad to hear you’ve had wonderful experiences

  9. That’s an interesting idea and I never even knew that such services exist. Reminds me the olden days when my family used to live in a small town in a standalone house (not an apartment or a gated compound). So, traveling even for one day was a worry because we always had to find someone to stay there.

  10. Thats quite an interesting idea. Having pets at home often means comprises in travel plans, but with this one can easily travel with the safety that the pets are taken care off.

  11. Interesting way to save more on travel! Will think of this when I do my US national park visit. Im curious though that if I register and pay the $119 fee, I dont have to pay anything else to the house/pet owner? Dog lover here so really think that this is a great alternative to hostels!

    1. Hi Carla! Nope, nothing else is paid! That’s the beauty of it! 🙂

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