Episode 5 – How to be a Housesitter

travelingchimps.comThis week we talk about how to become a housesitter or petsitter. How to find opportunities to live for free all over the world, what to expect when you get there and how to get repeat customers.

Have questions about full time travel? I’m always willing to share what I know. I wouldn’t be plugging a mic into my laptop if I didn’t. Hit me up on social media or email me directly at: travelingchimps@outlook.com with all your family travel questions.

Each week I’ll release the next chapter of the book along with a supporting podcast, covering that chapters topics and highlights. Comments and questions are encouraged, so please comment and ask below. I’ll answer any questions either on the podcast or directly to you via email.

Link to the Fifth Chapter:

Family Vagabond Adventure, Learn the Art of Full Time Travel – Chapter 5

Amazon Travel Accessory of the Week:

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Trusted Housesitters – UK based website with opportunities all over the world.

Housecarers – Housesitting and Petsitting opportunities all over the world.

Housesitter America – Focused primary on Housesits and Petsits in the USA.

Petsitting Check List – Key questions to ask pet owners before starting a pet sit.

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps and YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps and now on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/travelingchimps/

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Family Vagabond Adventure – Housesitting – Ch. 5

A Roof Over Your Head

As I stated above, probably numerous times, we set our adventure into motion by Housesitting, but there are a number of creative ways to keep a roof over your head on any budget. Let’s start with the Housesitting and dive into the others as well.

Housesitting & Petsitting

BuberHousesitting is watching over people’s properties while they go on vacation or other extended trips form their home. Typically you would stay rent and utility free for the length of the housesit. Some folks just want the security of knowing someone is watching over their property, other folks need someone to watch over the property because the area, while completely safe, may have some interesting characters in the town that would help themselves to the property if they knew no one was home for an extended time. Others may need you to take care of their furry friends, scaly friends or swimming friends, this would typically qualify as a Pet Sit, but the same rules apply. You stay rent and utility free in exchange for caring for their pets. We actually do a combination of both and enjoyed them equally.

So, the number one question we get about our travels is, “Where do you find these housesits?” And the answer is, “the internet”. Where you can really find anything. You can even use that smartphone we talked about in the last chapter. A quick Google search will show you numerous online sites specializing in connecting housesitters with opportunities. Most of the sites are pay sites; however the cost usually is in the neighborhood of a Priceline Express Deal for a single night’s stay, or around $50 a year. We used a few sites, but really had the greatest luck with Trusted Housesitters, with opportunities all over the world, literally, Housesitters America and Housecarers.

This is how it works. You set up a profile, talk about yourself and your story, add some pictures and start applying to posted housesits. In our case we are a family of 4, road schooling our kids in a Hybrid. I actually think the fact that we are a family plays well to most home owners. I think people see us as safe, we’re not going to throw parties and torment your neighbors. Last year we actually had to turn down opportunities because they overlapped with housesits we had already agreed to. Depending on your strategy, the longer the housesit the better. So, if you knock down a 3 month housesit and someone asks you to do a 3 week housesit in the middle, you’ll probably want to turn down the 3 week sit.

A note of caution, try to be flexible. We did have a housesit fall through at the last minute, the women was unable to get time off from her employer, not a huge deal, but it would have kept us out of a hotel for 2 weeks, which helps out the wallet tremendously. Also, this has never happened to us, but I have heard of it happening. You lock down a 3 month housesit and the owner decides to come home a month earlier. Kind of sucks for your plans, but it is their house and they have a right to come home if need be. Again just be flexible and roll with the punches. There’s a reason for everything and maybe your loss of a roof over your head for a month could turn into a new opportunity for 3 more months, you just never know.


The first house we ever housesit in Happy Camp, CA

I’ve also seen people, families, and couples start housesitting/pet sitting businesses. I’m really not sure how successful this can be with so many free opportunities out there? Maybe some people feel it’s more legitimate if they pay for the service? Maybe they expect more from a paid service? I’m not really sure, but you will see it as you start digging around on the topic. We felt like it was more than fair to stay rent and utility free, that’s a ton of savings to fuel the adventure.

So, what do home owners expect of you? Pretty much take care of the place like it’s yours. In other words, mow the lawn, weed whack, water the plants, water the garden, change the HVAC filter, feed the pets, medicate the pets, but please only medicate them with their prescribed treatments. If you’re handy, it couldn’t hurt to do a few things around the place to fix it up like paint, lube the door hinges, and fix that light switch that doesn’t seem to turn anything on.

Here’s the link to the corresponding podcast: Episode 5 – How to be a Housesitter

More on keeping a roof over your head next week.

Follow along on our adventure at Facebook http://www.facebook.com/travelingchimps Twitter https://twitter.com/TravelingChimps YouTube at: http://www.youtube.com/user/travelingchimps and now on Pinterest at: https://www.pinterest.com/travelingchimps/

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Pet Sitting Check List

Pet Sitting Check ListHouse-sits are a great way to visit locations and live like a local on short change. There are literally house-sits all over the globe and you could actually travel around the world on house-sits alone. Not all, but many house-sits involve a pet sit. Pet owners need someone to feed, walk and care for their most loved furry, finned, feathered our scaled friends while they are away for extended amounts of time. I would say that 3/4 of the house-sits that we have completed have been pet sits, dogs, cats and fish, so I thought that I would share some good questions to ask pet owners to make your first pet sit a successful and rewarding one.Pet Sitting Check List

  1. Food – How much, how often? Is there anything you should absolutely not give them? If there are more than one pet, can they eat together? Is there a specific place in the house where they eat? Are they territorial about their food? Some animals can be aggressive when they are eating.
  2. Snacks – How many, how often? Are you free to give the pet a snack at will , or does the owner reserve snacks for special occasions, like after a walk? Cat nip?
  3. Water – Usually you will want to keep the water bowel full at all times. You try walking around in a fur coat all day, you’d be thirsty too. Just clarify with the owner, just to make sure.
  4. Physical Activity – Probably the main job of a pet sitter is taking dogs for walks. Again, How many, how far? Are you a runner? Then you may have a niche market. Some dog owners regularly run with their dogs and would like to keep their dog’s mileage up while they are away. Just be clear how far and how fast you should run? Note, I’ve yet to hear of any owner that runs their cat, but you never know.
  5. Veterinary Services – Where should you take the pet in case of an emergency? Does the pet have any upcoming vet appointments you will need to take them to? How should you travel to the vet, on leash, in a kennel? Depending on your arrangement with the owner, you will want to make sure they have a credit card on file to cover any charges for vet visits. Put the Vet’s phone number on the refrigerator to easily find it.
  6. Medications – Many pets have monthly medications they take to keep them healthy, like flea prevention or heart worm pills. Make sure you know how often to give the pet their meds and if it is an extended pet sit, you should mark on a calendar the date of each administration. It’s easy to forget when you last gave a pet a pill after a few weeks go by.
  7. Procedure for leaving the house? Can the dogs and cats stay in the house? Should you keep them in a particular room or are they free to roam? Are they allowed to be on the furniture? Do they run out the front door?

Pet Sitting Check ListAsking these questions will help ensure you meet the needs of the pet and the expectations of the pet owner. Email the list of question to the owner ahead of your house sit and review their answers before you get to the house, that way you can ask any follow up questions in person. I hope you found this article helpful. Please comment below with your pet sitting experiences or questions.

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