What Is House-Sitting?
First things first, what is house sitting? Essentially it’s living in other people’s houses whilst they are away. It stems from people wanting someone in their empty house, so that burglars are deterred and in some cases so that their house insurance is still valid.
For us though, we’ve never house sat where the main reason hasn’t been to look after the pets. It should be called pet sitting really. Why have a pet sitter? The fact is that no mater how wonderful a kennel is (which they often aren’t), they will never be as wonderful or as comfortable as your own home. Furthermore, the animals will never get one-on-one care from a kennel, which they will from a house sitter.
But I’m not here to convince you to get a house sitter, I’m here to convince you to be a house sitter.
Why You Should Be A House Sitter
The main reason we decided to house sit was because it seemed like a great way to save money. By deterring burglars and, more often than not, looking after pets you get to stay rent free. We hated paying rent, so we found a way to live rent free, to live in nicer houses and – the cherry on the cake – a way to live in Australia!
House sitting also seemed to be an excellent way to introduce us to travelling. It was a nice transition from ‘normal life’ to a ‘travelling life’. I was fresh out of university and Tanbay was a manager. We didn’t think we’d enjoy the hitch hiking/ hostel/ camping type of travel, but knew we wouldn’t be able to stand a package-deal holiday either. So we went for something in the middle.
We also liked the idea of helping people out and having pets again, but I’ll be honest, the rent/money thing was the main incentive.
How It Exceeded Our Expectations
We knew we were going to be living rent free and that’s all we expected. We didn’t expect to find firm friends in the majority of the people we sat for. We didn’t expect to fall in love with the pets in such a short period of time (the worst being when the house sit ended and we had to leave my best friend Max the boxer in Canberra. I cried)!
We also didn’t know how generous the house owners would be. They’ve mostly picked us up from the airport/train station/bus station. They’ve mostly left us food (in some cases ridiculously kind amounts of food). They’ve mostly taken us out on nice day trips, or dropped us off in places, or lent us their car. None of these photos would have been possible without house owners:
But the best example of generosity came from Carole who we house sat for in Adelaide. She happened to own a unit on Kangaroo Island, which she let us stay in rent free. We’d have never have been able to go there otherwise (Kangaroo Island is expensive), and it was one of the top places we went.
What The Houses Are Like
Each house sit we’ve done (ten at last count) has been different. For us, any house is a great house as without it we’d be living in a box. We have met other house sitters though who only go for the great ones. We’ve had the far share of great ones ourselves, one with a pool at the Gold Coast, one with an excellent view of Adelaide, and one in Western Australia with this deserted beach two minutes walk away:
Will We Always House Sit?
We are now back in Europe and are a lot more adventurous than that graduate and manager who set out a year ago. We are just about to hitch hike round Europe, but we’re still going to compliment it with house sitting, because it’s still free accommodation and still a great experience.
Our plan is to travel the world and so I can definitely see us house sitting indefinitely. It opens up so many new doors and experiences that we could never have dreamed of.
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