Earlier this year we picked up a copy of the housesitting guidebook – ‘Break Free: The Ultimate Guide to Housesitting’. Having finally had the time to read through it we felt that many of you who frequent our blog are more likely a traveller – whether if it’s full-time or on vacation – and you too might like to know how to make a saving when it comes to accommodation.
In this article we hope to give you a small glimpse at just how helpful we’ve found this book which has provided us with the extra confidence – and especially – the best preparation to begin housesitting ourselves.
What Is Housesitting?
As with babysitting you watch over babies, and petsitting you watch over a pet, with housesitting the purpose and tasks are the same. In fact, with some housesitting there may be (and most housesitting comes into this category) a degree of petsitting to be done as well.
The idea is that when the time comes that someone must leave home for a period of days, weeks or months, rather than leaving their homes unattended and left to gather dust, the home owner can ask someone to come and stay at their house and act as security, maintenance and sometimes as a pet handler so Mr Tiddles doesn’t have to go through the stress of a temporary stay at a shelter.
It’s an open exchange between two parties so that someone has the peace of mind of knowing their house is occupied whilst they’re away, and the bonus for the housesitter is a temporary home (for those always on the road) and occasionally – we love this part – a temporary pet.
Who Wrote The Book?
In an effort to direct both Housesitter and Houseowner into an easily directed process to avoid mistakes, full-time travellers Dani and Jess of GlobetrotterGirls.com have taken their expertise and experience of having sat at many a home in many locations over the past three years so that others can enjoy the fun.
How Does The Book Work?
All six sections are full of facts and examples from Dani and Jess’s own experiences out in the housesitting world, and on reading each chapter you get a true account of the great possibilities of housesitting in Mexico one day, France the next, but also the true and honest accounts of what unexpected events can occur to the unprepared and unaware.
1. The Housesitting Movement
In recent years the housesitting movement has exploded phenomenally as the internet expands the previously used newspaper adverts for a local temporary tenant instead to a widespread mass of people online who are constantly on the move.
This section explains how through the explosion of housesitting people are now able to travel on much longer holidays than they would normally knowing that their house is in safe hands, their cats, dogs, horses – and sometimes cattle – are well looked after.
For the would be traveller it opens up the experience of living like a local for a longer stretch of time than we’re used to. You get to shop where the locals shop, eat where the locals eat and have the benefit of having your own house to relax in, extending your time in a town where you’d normally spend only a few days, whilst making a saving on hostel accommodation too.
2. How To Be A Successful Housesitter
From choosing the right website, to how to deal with the handover process when it’s time to back up your backs and hit the road again; the GlobetrotterGirls think of everything, note it and share it for all.
Providing more information than I had previously considered a necessity for housesitting, this section gave the clearest insight on how to stand out from the crowd in the application and interview process, how to adjust to a new routine and methods for a house before the houseowner has left and knowing just the right questions to ask so you’re not on the phone every other day to Istanbul to know how to get the WiFi to work.
3. Housesitting For Homeowners
So, you want to get away but it breaks your heart to leave your house alone with the risk of burglary constantly clouding your mind? You’re worried that Benjo the puppy isn’t going to want to play fetch anymore after you abandoned him (in his eye’s at least) to that lady with all of the ribbons above her fireplace for this dog show and that contest? That’s where ‘’ comes in.
At some point you’re going to consider asking a friend if they can watch the house, and what’s wrong with that? Nothing. But wouldn’t you like the security of knowing someone is always there?
You may like to read: How We Spent Less Than £600 on Accommodation This Year
Section three is there to flatten out all of the wrinkles and creases of preparing to hand over the keys to one of your most treasured possessions to someone else. In it, Dani and Jess use the feedback from all the hosts they’ve stayed with and the knowledge from being on the housesitting side of things to ensure everything has been taken care, from advertising in the right places, how to select the best housesitter or sitters for your needs and just what should be spoken about and covered when it comes to the handover.
With all of this information, even reading as a housesitter rather than owner, you can’t help but feel incredibly prepared for the first occasion that you step onto someone else’s doorstep halfway around the world.
4. Safety and Privacy
How’d you know that you’re letting the right person in through your door? How’d you know that the door you’re stepping through is safe one to do so? Just as much as selecting a new babysitter through the local pages of a newspaper when you’re friends are all out of suggestions, the only way to truly know how things stand is to do your research.
Combining even more suggestions and going back through and reaffirming some of the points from the previous sections, the necessary course of action becomes laid out for all to minimise as much risk as possible before anyone books that first flight ticket to their new temporary home or their beachside resort.
5. Real World Samples
Now this is where the book truly takes off for me. Not only have Dani & Jess pulled together an fantastically concise picture and guide of how to housesit (whether you’re a beginner or pro), this section is a showcase of just how professional and prepared ever step of the process can be to minimize risk and make everything go along to plan first time.
Example text includes:
6. Housesitting Website Comparisons
As housesitting opportunities continue to explode all over the world by the day, so too does the quantity of housesitting websites with which you can use to being your venture into unknown – but now prepared – territory.
In this final section, all of the information is laid out from which sites are best for which continents, what the cost could be for running an advert or signing up and the full pros and cons of each service off the back of Dani and Jess’s own dealings with them.
Closing The Door
As we reach the end of the book we’re gifted with not only the brand new knowledge from ‘’, but also links to printable checklists for the prospective houseowner or housesitter about to join the community of people around the world making the most of this wonderful opportunity.
They also include useful resources such as up-to-date flight comparison sites, reliable visa information (also covered in the book) and also a link to further advice from Dani and Jess on how to become a digital nomad, making a little money via freelance work online – music to the ears of the penniless and budget minded nomad.
Not only do you get all this fantastic information compiled inside this 153 page book, you also get the added bonus of a discount code for one of the housesitting websites mentioned in the previous chapter further helping you make that step into this unique style of travel.
For all the blogs and articles I’ve read about the subject of house or pet sitting, this was by far the clearest, the most concise and to the point piece I’ve come across and compiled not only for the sake of the book by Dani and Jess, but for the love of housesitting.
Their personal experiences detailed inside, their expertise and knowledge; all have expressed to me that not just myself and Franca, but many more of us can join in and be apart of the rapid expansion of housesitting. Will you join us?