Post-Netherlands Backpacking Trip

Home on the road

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.

During my first pet sitting gig (in England), I had full range of the family’s wifi, trampoline, and vegetable garden. I was basically in Julie paradise.

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.

Bonus: caring for this cutie feels more like play than work

Bonus: caring for this cutie feels more like play than work

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.

Pretty snazzy, right?

Pretty snazzy, right?

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.

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3 thoughts on “Home on the road

  1. I was talking to some people about this option when traveling on a budget and a friend of mine said he knew someone who used a house sitting website and came home to a completely trashed house. Do they have a reference system like CS?

    I’m totally going to give it a try next time I travel.

    Can’t wait to see you, Julieagulia. I already have a couple of guys who are ready to help you pick out the perfect bike for you, if you want advice. 😀

    ❤ xx

    • I know TrustedHousesitters does have a reference system, but it’s a bit different from CS. I was able to invite my contacts to leave a reference for me on the site, but they didn’t have to create a profile to do so. You can also note in your profile whether you have a police background check, which helps.

      I think it’s mostly about following your gut instinct. There’s a lot you can tell from how much effort one has put into their profile, and how they interact via email. And of course, it’s possible to skype before making a decision.

      As for the bike, you and your friends are too sweet! I would love some help, when I return 🙂

  2. Pingback: Day 3: Travel Style | Wander. Learn. Repeat.

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