You know how we identify some people or places with just one word? For LA, traffic is one possibility. Peace may accurately describe John Lennon or Gandhi.
A friend of mine once told me that my word is free.
I can’t say I disagree – it’s one of my guiding principles, as it reduces waste and often leads to better experiences and stories. My travel history follows this trend: from being an au pair, to hitchhiking and couchsurfing, I am always on the hunt for the more economic route.
House sitting is one of those wonderful finds — an accommodation option that is essentially free, and allows for a more enriching travel experience.
Typically, people house sit for their neighbors, family, or friends. I was therefore surprised to learn of the extensive online network for finding house and/or pet sitters. Housecarers and MindMyHouse are just two of the options I found during my research. As a prospective house sitter, a membership fee is often necessary (though it is not for homeowners). I chose TrustedHousesitters because they offered the most opportunities in the UK, where I was at the time I joined.
And though a majority of the postings are in the UK or elsewhere in Europe, I still managed to find an opportunity here in Malaysia. I’m currently pet sitting in Bangsar, an upscale and expat-friendly section of Kuala Lampur.
The premise of house or pet sitting for a stranger is that you have the opportunity to visit a new place and live as a local, for free in exchange for watching their house and/or pets. It’s a wonderful opportunity to travel, and still have the comforts and amenities of a home.
Pros: animal cuddles, low-cost, opportunity to rest, home environment
Cons: have to plan in advance, no built-in local interaction, extra responsibility (varies)
It’s free, comfortable, and you care for cute animals. If you have the time and flexibility to plan your next trip around a house sitting opportunity, I highly recommend it.