How we saved over $6,000 in 6 months of backpacking: Trustedhousesitters.com review
What is Trustedhousesitters?
Trustedhousesitters is a subscription website, $130 CAD per year, that allows house/pet owners to find housesitters to take care of their home and pets while they are away. Note that almost all postings will require taking care of pets.
Who we are
At the beginning of June 2018, we started a year of travel around Europe. We had saved up money for about 2 years, did a lot of research on how to prepare for this trip. House sitting provided a good opportunity for free accommodation, to see more remote places, and best of all, take care of adorable pets. At the end of 2018, we have completed 96 days of house sitting across 5 countries. This includes both major centers and small towns.
- Free accommodation and saves you money
- Hang out with pets!
- Sits all over Europe and North American and some other countries
- Your own bed
- Private kitchen
- Private shower/bath
- You get to meet locals
- It is an effort to apply
- You may not meet other backpackers
- Some locations are hard to get to and may require a vehicle
- Some pets need more attention
From the chart above, we had 96 days of housesitting. An average accommodation cost for 2 people was $63 per night which results in saving over $6,000 over the 6 months!
Our experience has been great with the website and we highly recommend it. We have had almost all fantastic experiences, meeting new people, playing with cats, dogs, chickens, and rabbits! We have seen parts of countries that most travelers do not get to see. We will be using this website even after we are done backpacking because it is just that good.
If you want to sign up, you can get 25% off a membership (referral link, see disclaimer below).
7 Tips on how to get the most out of Trustedhousesitters.com
Read the reviews of the owner and previous house sitters before you apply for a house sit. You need to make sure that you and the homeowner are compatible. Some examples are owners are vegan and don't allow meat in the house or vice versa. Some require a vehicle to get to due to remote locations. We have even had one that did not want wifi or cell phones used in the house while their pets were inside, although that is not common. We have seen unrealistic requests by homeowners such as cleaning their house 3x a day or never leaving their pets alone for even 5 minutes, which is fine if you don’t want to explore their community or are sharing pet responsibilities with another person.
2. Be an early applicant
If a homeowner receives a significant number of applications, they will pick the first one they really like. If you are the 20th applicant, it is very unlikely that you will be chosen. Keep in mind that some places are highly sought after and may be overwhelmed with applications within the first hour of the posting. You can subscribe to new posting emails to help be one of the first applicants.
3. Make a quality application
Treat this as a job interview. The homeowner is trusting you with the most important thing in their world, their pets, along with their worldly possessions. If you met someone on the street and all they said to you was “Hi, pick me” or “I'll do it.”, would you trust them with your home? Or would you prefer someone who told you about themselves, why they like pets, and what brings them to your city? Just note that Trustedhousesitters requires identity verification for homeowners and house sitters to ensure that people are who they say they are.
4. Be sincere
You are taking care of someone's life while they are away in exchange for free accommodation. It is critical that you actually care about their place and their pets. How you treat their life will become obvious to the owner during and after the sit. They will notice how well you communicated during the sit, how clean you were, how stressed or not stressed the pets were when they returned.
5. Be flexible on your dates
The dates you see for housesits may not be the final house sitting dates. A homeowner may not have booked flights, or they only booked a flight to their destination. Also, we have consistently been asked to arrive the night before the house sit begins in order to learn how to feed and take care of the pets, as well as to learn the home.
6. Leave the place cleaner than when you arrived
Just a reminder this isn't a hotel, nobody will clean up after you. Everyone has a different idea of what clean means. If you do not keep the place clean enough, that could result in a poor review. Alternatively, too much cleaning could be considered insulting. Keep the place neat and tidy but how the owners left you with it. We try to put things back where we found them so the homeowner isn’t stressed when returning from their trip.
One of the most important things you can do is communicating with the owner. They may be away due to work or vacation but regardless, they will still worry about their pets and home. Ask how they would like to communicate while they are away. Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp seem the most popular options. Send them pictures, tell them cute things the pet did, ask them questions only as needed such as where extra blankets are or you are having issues with one of the appliances. Be careful not to message them too much, especially over small things such as food condiments, or where a light switch is located. Try your best to be self-sufficient.
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