Imagine being able to travel the world and having a place to stay in each location for free.
The catch? You’ll have to take care of someone else’s pet/s in exchange.
Now, I’m not really fond of animals (I can’t be a Disney princess, I know), so it’s not something I’d go for, but I’m quite sure that this sounds like a dream come true for many of you, no?
House-sitting is one of the travel hacks you can use to score free lodgings. In exchange for looking after someone’s house while they’re out (presumably on their own overseas vacation), you get to stay there for free.
And then there’s pet-sitting.
It’s basically like house-sitting, except there are usually furry, hairy animals added to the mix. A company called TrustedHousesitters has set out to become the AirBnB of pet-sitting as it seeks to connect pet owners who want to travel the world (but feel guilty about leaving their dogs or cats behind) with people who are happy to look after their furry friends (and in some cases, their home) in exchange for a place to stay.
Anyone from anywhere in the world can apply, and the available accommodations are located in a variety of incredible locations scattered throughout the globe. This way, would-be petsitters not only get to indulge their love for four-legged companions, but they also get to explore exciting new locales without having to spend a fortune on a place to stay.
So, how do you get in on this amazing gig?
For starters, you need to sign up with the right agencies. There are many websites offering house-sitting or pet-sitting opportunities, but if you want to travel, you’re better off joining one that has a global reach. The aforementioned TrustedHousesitters is one, while Housecarers is another. On the former, you can even search by countries, cities, and dates, which is perfect for when you have an upcoming trip planned and need accommodations.
Second, as with any application, you need a good write-up. House and pet owners all look for one simple thing: a trustworthy and responsible person who can look after their homes and pets properly, so be sure your profile reflects this.
To start, explain why you’re up for house and/or pet-sitting and why anyone should trust you (having had numerous pets in the past is a plus, as are glowing recommendations from friends and family).
Being able to speak more than one language, knowing how to do basic maintenance chores like cleaning or gardening, and even a working knowledge of simple repair work are all examples of personal assets that you should mention.
Don’t forget to infuse a bit of your personality into your write-up as well. Home or pet owners often choose someone they can connect with as this is more conducive to building a relationship of trust.
Lastly, be flexible and professional. Be ready to modify your travel plans in case a home or pet owner is suddenly in need of a sitter, and treat each arrangement as the job that it is.
Make sure you have your own house or pet-sitting questionnaire addressing important concerns such as emergency contacts, how electricity and water work in the house, which plants need extra care, the food and feeding schedules for the pets, how you should clean them, and whether they’re allowed to roam the house at will or not.
Often, asking relevant and thorough questions can impress your prospective host from the get-go and will also help you build up a standard routine for future arrangements.