My kids and I love to travel! But, traveling can get expensive, which is why we don’t do it as often as we would like. But, I recently found a way to combine two of our favorite loves: travel and pet sitting. Enter Trusted Housesitters. This is a program that makes your lodging FREE when you travel!
How trusted housesitters works
I first heard about Trusted Housesitters while listening to a podcast who had a travel guest on. He was speaking about how he and his family have been able to travel around the world for free. As soon as I heard that, my ears perked up.
The information this guest divulged was that there were a few different websites for housesitting all around the world. But, he found that Trusted Housesitters had:
- the most housesits
- one of the most thorough vetting processes
- the most bang for his buck
So, I decided to check it out. And I am so happy that I did!
Quick Run Down
You can search around on the website prior to signing up, which was helpful for me. If you are only wanting to housesit, but not put your house up for sitters, that is completely fine. This is the boat we were in, because we don’t have any need for people to housesit for us when we are gone. We have no pets, or house plants that can’t survive for longer than we are gone. But if you have either, it makes more sense to sign up as both a host and a housesitter.
As just a housesitter, I had to set up a profile. The profile includes information, such as:
- Eye catching profile title
- Location (where you live)
- Pictures of you and anybody you may be housesitting with
- About section
- Why you want to housesit
- Past experience with housesitting, if any
- Pet care experience
- At least 2 references
- Calendar of availability for the year
- Preferred countries to housesit in
- Ages of adults planning to travel
- Who you will be traveling with
This seems like a lot of work, but in reality, it took me the longest to get the references in. Once all that information has been set up, you have to choose the level of verification you want. I didn’t want to pay extra for the Enhanced verification, so I did the Basic and Standard. The requirements for those two levels are:
- Email address verification
- Phone number verification
- References verification
- ID document check
Before you get verified, you can still take a look at all of the options on Trusted Housesitters, which is great so that you know what you are getting yourself into.
When I signed up, the annual fee was $85.00. But I can’t vouch for the rates currently, so you will have to double check if this is something you think you might enjoy.
So far, we have really been enjoying this platform and had our first housesit in the Washington DC area. I was looking for someplace to take my kids on spring break within driving distance. I found a few options that would’ve worked during the time frame I needed and within a few hours drive.
I applied for 3 different housesits initially. I got turned down for 2 of them because they had other applicants prior to my application. But they said they would keep me in mind as the backup in case the first choice fell through.
The third one I applied for was the original housesit we were chosen for and it was up near Cape Cod. None of us had been there before, so we thought it would be a great experience. However, the drive was going to be a tough one for me. All of a sudden, on the same exact day, my first choice in DC emailed to say their first choice fell through and wanted to know if we were still available. A few hours later, the Cape Cod housesit emailed to say their dates changed, which now fell outside of my available window. So, we swapped housesits.
It took us a little over 4 hours to drive to Reston, VA, where the housesit was located, but it was very much worth it. The dog we watched, Lily, was absolutely fantastic! The owners put together a very in depth Welcome Guide with any and all information we could possibly need. They even included their metro cards for us to use while we were there, but requested that we return them with similar funds when we left.
That was a great surprise and came in extreme handy. This housesit was in a high rise condo building, which we were excited about. The building had a game room with a pool table on the top floor, and happened to be situation within short walking distance to the Reston Town Center and the metro station.
We spent a little bit of time at Reston Town Center each day and took Lily with us most of the time. That way she could get a longer walk in and we could eat outside at one of the restaurants for dinner with her. The kids loved it and so did I!
We went to the National Mall a few of the days we were there and spent another day at the National Zoo. All of the museums we went to were free, so that helped our budget for the trip also. Overall, including gas, food, metro fees and souvenirs, I spent a grand total of $450.00 for a week in Washington DC. It was absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to do it again!
Trusted housesitters takeaway
If you haven’t tried this, or even heard of it yet, then you have got to check it out. We already have another week long trip scheduled for our whole family during the summer that we are really excited about. Whether you are traveling as a pair, solo, or with your family, lodging can get pretty expensive.
So, if you are willing to watch other people’s pets, and help keep their house clean, then this may be a great option for you.
Have you heard of Trusted Housesitters? If you have tried it, what has been your experience?