Travel Cheap Tips #7: Try Professional Housesitting
It’s both a comfort and a necessity for many homeowners to have their dwelling—and all the animate and inanimate treasures that come with it—watched over while they’re away. What one person yearns to temporarily escape from can be the ideal home base for your next wander. And, the it can be free if you take advantage of professional housesitting as a way to travel cheap.
Start off by spreading the word among your network of friends, coworkers, church or temple members, and neighbors that you’re willing and available to sit with a house in exchange for free accommodations. Don’t drive them crazy, but you’ll have to mention it more than once if you really want this to happen.
If you want to exponentially increase the quantity and quality of housesitting opportunities, you’re going to want to go pro. Being a professional anything takes commitment—and being a professional housesitter is no different.
Imagine it’s your own home-sweet-home you want sat. No matter how modest it is, would you rather have the cousin of your co-worker’s sister’s friend caring for it or someone who has made the effort to get educated, is affiliated with a reputable website, and brings solid experience and references to your front door?
No matter which professional housesitting path you choose, be patient and walk it earnestly.
It’s doubtful you’ll be sitting a mansion in Bali as soon as you hang the housesitting sign on your virtual front door. It takes time to build a reputation and learn the ropes. Take small steps to build your résumé.
And, with every arrangement you consummate, never forget you’re being trusted with someone’s most treasured possessions. There are likely pricey plants to water, beloved pups to walk, royal cats to wait on, sensitive mail to collect, potential burglars to foil, and any number of other basic domestic tasks. It’s simple…while you’re there, it is your home.
As with any arrangement of this importance, assumptions are a colossal no-no. Make sure you’re clear on the homeowner’s expectations and/or requirements before you commit to the professional housesitting assignment. What are the duties they want you to do and are you able to do them well? Do they want you home at certain times or are they flexible? It will also behoove you to get a feel for their temperament during the communication process. Are they persnickety or complacent? Patient or anxious? And, of course, clear (and documented) communication is an absolute necessity.
Here are some helpful links to begin your education:
- Housesitters America
- How to Become a Housesitter and See the World (eBook)
- Housesitting Around the World (eBook)
Have you ever housesat as a way to travel cheap? If so, do tell in a comment.
Don’t miss my other tips for traveling cheap—The Wandering Ex-Housewife’s Travel Cheap Tips!