No one needs any reminder that things are getting more and more expensive at home, making it even harder to travel or go on vacation.
But what if you could travel as a family, get to stay in some amazing places, have new experiences and never have to pay for accommodations?
Well, I’m here to tell you that you can with house sitting.
This is exactly how my family of four, including two kids (ages 10 and 7) has been traveling for the past year.
In the last 12 months we’ve been able to go on 6 trips including:
- 3 staycations
- 1 international trip and
- 2 out-of-state trips
Nearly Free Vacations
To keep the costs down we brought a lot of our food, even having brought some meals we had already made. We still usually plan a number of meals to eat out so we can try some new foods or restaurants.
So with food primarily taken care of and accommodations paid for, all you need to cover is your transportation getting to the location and any entertainment you may choose to spend money on.
When we go to a new location we usually look for 1 – 2 museums or local attractions that really look exciting to us and buy tickets. Other than that, we spend time outdoors exploring new trails, parks or outdoor attractions.
How Does House Sitting Work?
We use a site called Trusted Housesitters which matches homeowners and sitters.
There you can look for available House Sitters anywhere in the world you want to go whether it’s in the same town you live, the state over or even the next country.
When a homeowner goes away, sometimes they don’t want to leave their home unattended or they have pets that they cannot take with them so they look for a sitter to stay at their home while they are away.
As the sitter you are a presence in the house that would otherwise be unoccupied. You may need to do some basic tasks like water some plants, take the trashcan to the curb on trash day and/or feed and water their pets if they have any.
We’ve met some really nice people who are super generous and accommodating. So far all homeowners have been really welcoming and open with their home so we feel more than comfortable.
How to Find a Family House Sit
To find a house sit, simply type in the city, state or even country that you were interested in visiting. That will show you all the homes that are currently are in need of a house it as well as Homes that are in that area but are currently not looking for a house sitter.
This broad search will show you everything available. You can also use the filters to search for house sits using criteria like:
- The dates you’d like to go
- How long you’d like to go
- What type of pets they have (or no pets at all)
- Attractions (beach, city, mountains, countryside)
- House or apartment
- Homes marked as family-friendly
- Disabled access
- and more
You can also favorite homes that you like so when they become available you will be notified. If you can’t house sit on the dates it is currently available, or you find a house sit you’d like to visit that doesn’t have listed dates, simply click on the heart icon.
You can read all the details about the home, view pictures, see what the responsibilities are and check feedback from previous house sitters so you know more about what to expect.
Note: if you don’t see any feedback when searching using the mobile app, check on your desktop as I’ve noticed a few back does not always appear on the mobile device.
How to Apply
Applying for a house sit is really easy. From the listing page, click on the green apply button. There you can select the dates you are applying for and include a message to the home owner.
I keep a message available for all house sits I apply for so I don’t have to start from scratch every time, and then simply customize it a bit to include the pets names (if any) and a detail or two that shows I’ve read the listing. I also offer to jump on a call or Facetime with them but you don’t have to.
Once the home owner has made a decision, you will receive an invitation to house sit or a notice that your application has been declined.
Do Home Owners Actually Select Families?
Yes! There are plenty of home owners who select families. You can filter by homes marked as family-friendly.
Last summer when we wanted to visit San Diego, we applied to house sit and there were already 10 other applicants before us. And they still chose us! When I talked with the lady, she said she travels with her kids and really likes to give families an opportunity.
I’ve also applied for house sits that were not marked as family-friendly and we were still invited to sit.
As a family with kids, you won’t get all the house sits you apply for. We get about 60%. That’s probably because I do go for some that aren’t necessary marked as family-friendly because they’re really amazing looking, have great dates, etc.
Do You Have to Pay?
You do need to pay to be a member of Trusted Housesitters. For us, once we spent one night at a house sit, it completely covered the cost as compared to how much it would have cost us at a hotel.
We’ve done the math and based on hotel & Airbnb prices in the areas we stayed, we’ve saved over $7,000 this past year. We definitely wouldn’t have been able to swing all of these trips this year if we hadn’t tried house sitting.
They have a few different packages to choose from. The basic plan gives you access to unlimited house sites around the world.
They also have different upgraded packages that have benefits such as:
- Instant alerts for when houses you’ve saved become available
- Accident & third party liability protection
- Unlimited pet & home care from verified sitters (if you’d like to list your home)
- Dedicated support
Trusted Housesitters Coupon Code
You can get a 25% discount off of joining Trusted Housesitters by clicking here.
Other Uses for House Sitting
Responsibility & Pet Ownership
If you don’t have pets, this is such a good way to give the kids an opportunity to be around animals. It’s also a great way to let the whole family try caring for a pet to see if you’re really up for it before deciding to get a pet of your own.
While we won’t be getting a pet, it’s been great to see my kids willing to clean a litter box, scoop food and put out fresh water.
Since we don’t have a pool at home, when it gets hot we like to look for homes near us that have a pool so we can enjoy it. This ends up feeling like a fun vacation (or really staycation!) whether for a few days or even a couple of weeks and have a pool to enjoy.
This is also taking us to new places that we may not have otherwise considered going to and been able to see new sites. Why not consider visiting a new location that you wouldn’t have otherwise?
Sometimes getting a couple days away as a couple is nice too. When the kids can be with the grandparents and you can go to a new place.
List Your Own House
You can also sign-up to list your home so you don’t have to board your pets or hire a pet watcher.
Try It For Yourself
Now it’s your turn! What do you think about house sitting for families? Let us know if you try it out! Don’t forget you can get 25% off Trusted Housesitters here.