Ever since I “met” Pete and Dalene Heck online a couple of years ago, I’ve followed their housesitting adventures with interest. The idea of being able to live in an area rent-free for an extended period of time really is intriguing, especially if, like us, you’re interested in doing long-term travel. Many of these positions include pet setting as well, and we do miss having pets. Housesitting allows you the opportunity to live in a typical neighborhood or rural location, get a sense of community, get to establish relationships with locals, and so on while not paying rent. So all around it’s a win-win proposition. I’ve been curious to try it, but it’s difficult to know which sites to work with, some of the ins and outs, and is it even a possibility for a traveling family. When I discovered the Hecks had written an ebook about it, I contacted them right away.
How to become a Housesitter* has about 51 pages of information about this interesting subject. They give some brief examples of the opportunities they’ve enjoyed so far, situations that have saved them approximately $30,000 USD since they’ve been traveling, but really that isn’t the focus of this ebook.
I found several areas of the book to be quite helpful. They offer suggestions and examples of how to create a winning profile, how to write a contact message that will increase your chances, a wonderful comparison of the most popular sites, including a map of which sites have the most available offerings by region, and some invaluable checklists to use when you do get your assignment.
Being a complete neophyte I read their book and pondered if it was worth spending the money to register with a couple of sites. My only reluctance was that we’re a family and I would think that would rule us out. The Hecks stress that they know of families who have housesat, so I finally decided that even if we got only one assignment, it would have more than paid for the fee. Being such a low risk, I figured why not!
I used their advice when creating my profile and when contacting people. We quickly got an email back from a lady in Belgium. She wasn’t quite sure of when she would need someone (some people don’t have the dates fixed yet, just have the time period or know they need people regularly), but she thought we were so cool that she invited us to come stay with her for a week even if she didn’t need a housesitter. She said we could do a few chores around the mini farm to cover food. I spent $65 USD in registration fees (for two different sites and after using the discount code for TrustedHouseSitters.com that they offer in their book). Even if we were to give this a very conservative €20 a night fee ($25), we will have paid for the registration fees AND saved $110 just on lodging alone, not including the savings on food.
I am currently in discussions with a family who needs a sitter in New Zealand for about a month next year, and we have some interesting possibilities for other places while we’re in Europe as well.
Did I mention they include a discount code for the site with the most options (which is also the most easy to use and the most robust website)? If you use the discount code at TrustedHouseSitters.com, you basically will have only paid $5 for this informative book.
If you have the slightest interest in figuring out how to do long-term travel on a budget, How to Become a Housesitter really is a fantastic resource.
*Please note this is an affiliate link. After reading the book and deciding it was something I would wholeheartedly recommend, I signed up for their affiliate program and will receive some money if a purchase is made with the above links. Regardless of potential for compensation, I do not recommend items or services that I would not suggest to a loved one or use myself.