For many, the dream of traveling abroad seems unattainable due to the costs. Between airfare, hotels, food, rental cars or car services, food, and so on, a weeklong trip can become impossible. Fortunately, a new option has become available over the last few years, allowing you to travel accommodation free. People who live where you want to travel will also need to travel. If they have pets, will be gone for an extended period of time, or simply want someone to look after the place, they may look to have someone housesit their home. And rather than pay someone locally to look after things, why not let you stay there for free in exchange for doing those chores?
Generally, house-sitting has very little “work” required. You may need to keep after a pet, keep up the landscaping, or simply be there every night. But there can be some unexpected issues which arise that can be time-consuming If a gutter clogs, you’ll need to unclog it, if a leak springs, you’ll have to look after it, and if anything else happens, you are acting as the homeowner to make sure the house stays in good shape.
But in exchange, you can live somewhere else for as short as a long weekend to as long as a year, for free. And with many listings, you will also have access to a vehicle, making it easy to see the area.
If you are interested in house sitting as a way to cut your costs when you travel, there are a number of websites you can join to find opportunities. You will be competing with other potential house sitters for jobs, so you need to be flexible in where you will stay, when you would like to travel, and so on. You will also need to create a great profile, and an unbelievable cover letter that can be customized to the specific house sitting opportunity to impress the current homeowners.
Finally, you need to start building up a portfolio of recommendations. You can do this by starting locally with friends, family, and colleagues. If you hear about someone going out of town for a week, ask if you can housesit in exchange for a letter of recommendation. This will give you some experience in house-sitting while building your portfolio of recommendations.
Once you have your recommendations, you’ve found some opportunities you’d like to pursue, and a cover letter that will blow the homeowner away, it’s time to reach out to the homeowners directly. Be prompt, be courteous, and be honest, but also be sure to ask questions. If you absolutely want to spend a night in another city, for instance, be sure it’s ok to leave the house vacant for a night. If you need access to a car, be sure you can use theirs. If you will be staying for an extended period, be sure it’s ok to have guests. Most homeowners will appreciate these questions, as it shows you are looking to do a great job for them.
If reading this hasn’t scared you off, then it’s time for you to get going. Start building that portfolio and looking for opportunities, and happy travels!