Have you ever considered house sitting as a solo female traveler? If you enjoy traveling slowly, taking care of animals, and getting to know a destination like a local, house sitting might be a great choice for you. You can get free accommodation in exchange for taking care of homes and pets around the world.
But what’s house sitting like when you’re a woman traveling on her own? Is it still a good idea? Is it safe?
Look around and most of the posts you see about house sitting are written from the point of view of couples, for other couples. Perhaps because of this, some homeowners insist on taking house sitters who are a couple.
Does that mean that it’s not worth it for a solo female traveler to house sit? Not at all. Those couples-only listings are the minority. Ignore the listings asking for couples and you can find tons of wonderful, interesting house sits that will welcome a solo woman with warmth and gratitude!
I personally haven’t done any house sitting on my travels, so I called in an expert – April of The Unending Journey. April has done a lot of house sitting on her own, and she’s picked up a few furry friends along the way.
To be completely honest, after reading her post, now I want to house sit! April makes it sound awesome.
This branded content post is brought to you by TrustedHousesitters. Almost every house sitter I know uses TrustedHousesitters to find house sits around the world. April is one of them – TrustedHousesitters is the only platform she uses!
House Sitting as a Woman
When my six months of backpacking around the world came to a close, I was heartbroken – I didn’t want it to end. Travel had seeped into the core of my being, but with dwindling funds, I was unsure how to continue. And that’s when a friend suggested I look into house sitting.
House sitting? Sure, I had heard of it, but it wasn’t something I had given much thought. Might as well take a look.
I started researching house sitting sites and soon I found TrustedHousesitters. I joined online and before I knew it, I had scored my first gig – free accommodation on the trendy Lower East Side of Manhattan in exchange for taking care of two adorable cats.
Since joining, I’ve unlocked the door to a whole new way of traveling. I’m hooked on house sitting!
House Sitting While Traveling
First off, what is house sitting and what does it involve?
House sitting is taking care of someone else’s home in exchange for free accommodation. It involves spending each night at the house and maintaining its upkeep, which often includes watering plants, taking out the trash, doing dishes, and keeping the place tidy. In most cases, you’re also taking care of the owner’s pets – most often dogs or cats.
So what’s it like? After a long day of exploring my new destination, I walk through the door of my house sitting job. I’m home, with a nice comfortable chair to relax into. Maybe I’ll make a cup of tea. Or stretch out on the sofa while catching up on the news.
Later, I sink into a bed that’s only been used by one or two people, not hundreds or thousands like in a hotel. In the morning, I fix breakfast in the kitchen while eating at the dining room table.
Isn’t that how you wish traveling was like? All the comforts of home while being somewhere else in the world? Well, that’s how it feels when house sitting while traveling! You get to feel at home while taking care of someone else’s home.
For the most part, the homeowners are also travelers. They are eager for travelers to stay at their home and get to know the area where they live. Some owners will even give preference to people who have not been to that destination before.
Pet Sitting While Traveling
Most house sits involve pet sitting. When pet sitting, you need to remember that this is an important job, and taking care of the homeowner’s beloved pets always takes first priority.
For that reason, days are not entirely at your disposal — you must plan your sightseeing around the pets and their routines. It’s not a vacation, even though you get to explore new destinations.
This may mean starting your day with an early walk for the dogs, or grabbing an early dinner so you can come back to give the cats their dinner.
While cats and dogs are the most common animals in house sits, sometimes you could get smaller animals like guinea pigs or rabbits, backyard chickens (and their eggs!), or if you’re in a rural environment, even sheep or horses!
If the pets are particularly low-maintenance, some pet owners may allow you to go away for the night within a short distance to explore more of the region. But you must always clarify this with the pet owners in advance.
No matter how your travels go, you will walk away from house sitting with at least one friend. A four-legged one, but still a good friend! And it’s a wonderful feeling to have someone there to welcome you home at the end of the day.
Sometimes when traveling, I deeply miss being around animals. But pet sitting helps scratch that itch.
A Typical Day for a House Sitter
A typical day for a house sitter depends on the kind of house and type of pets you are looking after.
When caring for cats, my mornings start with serving breakfast followed by playtime and scooping the litter. For dogs, my mornings generally start with a walk.
During the day, I get to explore my destination, get work done, or just kick back and relax. Some pets have special needs requiring you to be home at midday for a walk, medicine, or feeding.
Evenings are for more walks or meals with the pets, then cuddle time – my favorite part of the day!
Throughout the day, I take care of the house. Usually it’s nothing major. My day typically involves tidying up, bringing in mail, watering plants, taking out garbage.
If you have a longer house-sit, you might have more in-depth tasks, like moving a car each day due to street parking rules, or gardening and yard work. If you house sit in the winter, you may need to shovel, clear the walkways, or turn the pipes on to keep them from freezing.
At some point in the day, I send a text or email to the homeowners. A photo plus a fun story of the day helps the pet owners feel more at ease while away — I sometimes send these via the TrustedHousesitters app. It also shows them that you’ve bonded with their pet.
As a former cat mom, I loved receiving photos and updates when I was away. Remember, their pets are not just pets — they’re family.
How to Become a House Sitter
To become a house sitter, first make sure you have some sort of experience taking care of other people’s pets and/or homes. It doesn’t have to be professional. If you’ve ever watched a house or pets for a friend or relative, that’s perfect! Use it.
If you don’t have experience, start asking around so you have an experience to reference when creating your profile.
Once you have experience, you can easily create your profile on TrustedHousesitters. Your profile consists of a photo, a blurb about yourself, why you want to house sit, and what your experience is. This is where you want to be personable. Let your personality shine through. Be genuine and honest.
Then, as you are new on the site, send out requests to friends and family for either reviews on past house sits or a character testimonial. Finally, to raise the status of your profile, you need to complete two easy verification steps: first to verify contact information, next to verify your identity.
Once your profile is completed, that’s it! You can immediately start applying for house sits anywhere in the world. You can become a house sitter in just 15 minutes!
Why TrustedHousesitters? That’s easy. It’s the only house sitting platform I use to find house and pet sits. They have an extensive collection of house sits around the world, and I appreciate the verification steps they take.
I find that the community on TrustedHousesitters is so warm and supportive. The homeowners on TrustedHousesitters are so helpful to the people who take care of their pets. They understand that everyone who has joined is some form of traveler.
I’ve experienced some house sits where the owners will provide accommodation the night before and/or after a sit to help accommodate the next stage of travel. It really is a community, first and foremost.
TrustedHousesitters was created with the idea to help pet lovers and travelers help each other. Care for pets in exchange for accommodation. Get to know a new part of the world while making furry friends. It’s a win-win!
Pet owners save the expense of boarding their pets or paying a sitter to come over daily. Instead, they have someone providing their pets with care and attention in the comfort of the pet’s home.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, TrustedHousesitters is the largest pet and house sitting platform out there. If you’re house sitting as a woman, it offers a secure and safe way for travelers to interact with pet owners without giving personal information. No personal details are given out until deep into discussions for a house sit.
Even better, if traveling is your passion, house sits are available in 130 countries! That’s a whole lot of traveling opportunities. Imagine the cultures you can immerse yourself into, and all those wonderfully cuddly creatures. And you get all of that for a yearly annual membership fee.
Why Pay to House Sit?
Honestly, I was a bit hesitant about paying a fee to join a housesitting organization. But soon I realized that it made sense. TrustedHousesitters provides a platform for homeowners to safely vet prospective house sitters, and vice versa.
Not only have they verified that every member is who they say they are, but they also provide a safe and effective way for homeowners to communicate with house sitters. No personal information is shared at first, so both parties are protected.
The annual fee for TrustedHousesitters is $130. Though it may seem like a lot at first, consider what accommodation in a major tourist city would cost per night.
One of my house sits was for two weeks in Newark, New Jersey, a 20-minute train ride from midtown Manhattan. Where else could you find lodging for two weeks that close to New York for just $130? You can’t even find a hotel for $130 per NIGHT that close to New York!
The annual fee just paid for itself. Even if you only want to house sit occasionally, the annual plan fee is excellent value.
Do know that there may be added costs involved in some sits. On longer house sits (3+ weeks), some homeowners may ask you to contribute to the cost of utilities. This is generally stated up front in the listing, so there are no surprises mid-sit. It’s up to you to decide if you are okay with paying extra. If not, then don’t apply. Just know to keep an eye out for this.
Is it Hard for A Solo Woman to Become a House Sitter?
House sitting as a solo female traveler can have its drawbacks, because some homeowners are insistent on couples only, for whatever reason. However, I’ve never found any difficulty in securing house sits as a woman on her own. Sometimes I think it’s actually to my advantage.
My top tip? Look for homeowners who are solo women. Several of my house sits have been caring after pets of other single women. Since we have that in common, it’s easier for each of us to relate to each other and support each other.
I don’t bother with the listings requesting couples only as there are so many other opportunities at any given time on TrustedHousesitters. New opportunities open up every day. In my experience, there is nothing to hold you back when you house sit as a solo woman traveler.
Is House Sitting Safe?
Some women looking to house sit solo wonder how safe it is to house sit alone. Is house sitting safe? I say yes, it’s just as safe as staying in your hometown!
When house sitting, you have a house – or apartment, or condo, or even a farm – all to yourself. If you’re a budget-conscious traveler, that’s a big difference from sharing accommodation with others at hostels. You don’t have to worry about locking up your luggage or loud roommates snoring all night.
Additionally, some house sits are located in gated communities or doorman buildings, providing you with an additional layer of safety. Plus, there’s an adorable pet to greet you at the end of the day!
That being said, it’s up to you to do your research on a destination before accepting a house sit. What part of the city do they live in? Is it convenient to public transport? Are there friends of the homeowner nearby who can help you out in case of emergency? You can do this research on your own, or just ask the homeowners during the interview process.
In most cases, homeowners like to speak to you before they make a decision on who will house sit. Not only are they putting their home in your hands, but they are entrusting you with their beloved pets, who are members of their family.
A phone call or video chat helps pet owners get a sense of your personality. Do they think that you’re responsible and that you would bond with their pets? The chats are often informal, less like an interview than you’d think. If you’re close by, sometimes they prefer an in-person meet and greet instead.
These conversations are just as beneficial for you. It’s a great way for you to get a feel for the home, the pets, the neighborhood, and an opportunity to ask the homeowners all the questions you have.
I find that the more questions you ask, the more homeowners appreciate you. It means you have thought things through and are serious about taking good care of their home and pets.
Do You Get Lonely While House Sitting Alone?
I have never once felt lonely when house sitting by myself. The pets are there, and they are the best company. Just as much as you are there to provide them companionship, they return the favor in spades.
Cats are my personal preference for house sitting. Once you gain their trust, they are around you all the time. They either want playtime or just a lap to curl up on. At night, when they snuggle in bed, it’s the sweetest thing! That sure beats sitting in a hotel room by yourself.
How to Get Good House Sitting Jobs
Getting a good house sitting gig involves work, diligence, and sometimes a little bit of luck. That being said, how would you define a good house sitting gig for you personally? Is it the location, the type and number of pets, the duration of the sit, or all of the above? Everyone is different!
The main key to landing a good house-sitting job is to apply early! If you’re looking to house sit at a popular travel destination, you’ll need to apply to a house sit as soon as it posts. Ideally, you should apply the same day the posting goes live.
Applying to a potential house sit that already has more than 20 applicants is pretty much a waste of time. In my experience, I’ve found that most homeowners go with someone who was one of the first to apply.
One nice thing about TrustedHousesitters is that each listing states the number of applicants a sit has received. With that, you can check the site multiple times a day, wait for the daily email sharing new opportunities, or you can save yourself some of the work with TrustedHousesitters app.
I love using the TrustedHousesitters app. You can create saved searches based on location, duration, and type of pet, so when a listing comes up that meets your criteria, you’ll get notified right away. This increases your chances of securing that perfect house sit.
But the easiest way to get a house sit is to be flexible with the location and duration of a house sit, especially if you want to travel full-time house sitting by yourself. Maybe you have your heart set on house sitting in Amsterdam, but there are charming cities all over the Netherlands with canals and stroopwafels.
Another easy way to book sittings is to look for house-sits in the off-season. Everyone wants to find a house sit on the beach in summer, but how about house sitting in Southeast Asia during the rainy season? Or Michigan in the winter?
Being flexible opens up your options and allows you to apply to more house sits. You never know what fun new place you’ll discover. It’s all part of the adventure!
House Sitting Tips
To become a house sitter and rack up glowing reviews, there are some small things you should do for every house sit:
1. Send a daily update of the pets to the homeowner, even if they say you don’t need to. Though it doesn’t need to be daily, it shows that you care about the pets and it makes the homeowner feel so much better about being away.
2. Clean up. Not only after the pets, but the house, too. I always leave the house the way I found it. Yes, that means doing cleaning at the end of the house sit – but no one likes to come home to a messy home. And if the house is messy, how well did you take care of their pets?
3. Don’t use up supplies. Though many homeowners say to make yourself at home and use whatever is available, I always replace what I use, whether it’s butter or toilet paper. I always purchase my own food to prepare. A homeowner’s kitchen is not my private pantry.
4. Before applying for a potential house sit, make sure you’ve looked into transportation options. Some house sits are in rural areas and public transport may not be available. You need to ensure that you can get there so you’re not wasting anyone’s time. If you mention how you would get to the house sit in your introduction message, it can help to give you preference over other candidates.
5. If you work remotely, don’t be afraid to ask what speed and type of internet is available in the house. When traveling, I know I’ve encountered some slow wifi connections in hotels that made doing my work nearly impossible. So far, I haven’t had that issue while house sitting, but it’s always something to keep in mind.
My Favorite House Sitting Experiences
My first official house sit on TrustedHousesitters was on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, taking care of two of the sweetest cats. On day three of my two-week sit, I awoke to find one of the cats sitting on top of my head! What a laugh I had!
It showed me that I was providing the cats with such a comfortable environment that they had no reason not to do their normal routine. It was like the boss saying, “Nice work!”
But one of my overall favorites took place in Providence, Rhode Island. Admittedly, I had never given much thought to Rhode Island. But the house sit was available with hardly any applicants, so I applied and I got it.
The apartment was a dream for me, located on the second floor of a house built in the early 1900s. Character oozed out of every corner. The entire neighborhood was that way. Quiet streets were lined with colorful houses built in the late 1800s. Walking around the neighborhood every day felt like traveling back in time.
The two cats were absolute sweethearts, though I did have to work to earn the trust of one of them. I was told she was very timid with strangers and that she may not come out at all during the entire stay. Imagine my delight when on the third morning, there she was, no longer hiding!
This sit allowed me to explore Providence. I fell in love with the city – its history, its architectural gems, its quirky shops…and that’s what I love about house sitting. If you’re open to anywhere, who knows what gems you’ll find!
Is House Sitting for You?
Before applying to become a house sitter, ask yourself what type of traveler you are. Do you travel for the party scene? Do you prefer the social atmosphere of a hostel? Do you like to get away from responsibilities on your travels? If so, house sitting probably isn’t for you.
But if you’re the type of traveler who enjoys getting to know daily life in a location, who likes to get away from the regular tourist areas, and who is open to letting the day be whatever it may, then house sitting could definitely be for you.
Finally, if you’ve thought about traveling by yourself but have never given it a try, house sitting as a solo female traveler is a secure, fun way to start your solo travel adventures. When you have a pet or two to keep you company, you’ll never feel alone.
Ready to house sit?
About the Author
April is a solo traveler with her own travel blog, The Unending Journey. She started traveling at 19 and was instantly hooked. Another passion of hers is hiking, and you will often find her on the trails while exploring new places.
Using pet sitting as a way to travel, she now has half of the year planned with pet sits already agreed to including in the U.S., Canada, and the UK. She enjoys sharing her travels with the pets she looks after.
Have you done house sitting as a woman? Share away!
The post The Solo Woman’s Guide to House Sitting While Traveling appeared first on Adventurous Kate.