Tag Archives: trusted housesitters

House Sitting Escape

12 Jul

In the midst of my midwest coronavirus detour hunkered down with family an opportunity recently came my way for a new housesit. So I took a little leap and here I am in Texas Hill Country enjoying some new scenery, peace and respite on a lovely property.

I was chatting with an old friend the other day who had many questions about house and pet sitting. It occurred to me that many folks out there with a heart and spirit for travel may not realize how possible and viable house and pet sitting is as an avenue to travel. So whether you’re ready for a coronavirus diversion, if even just in the next town, or you’re not ready to travel yet but your heart and soul could use a little future travel planning and daydreaming, read on!

Before I started house and pet sitting I had done quite a bit of travel relying often on work exchanges via personal connections and the website helpx.net. I had always been curious about house and pet sitting but hadn’t yet taken the leap and honestly, wasn’t sure how difficult it would be to “get my foot in the door.”  But it was certainly on my mind.

A few years ago while living in Asheville I met a full time traveling house and pet sitter at a local meet-up group. She was generous enough to share her experience. It was so helpful to simply have a conversation with a real person who was doing it and to be reassured that yes, it really was possible and accessible.

I didn’t jump in right away and continued with life as usual. Then over a year ago life “gave me a push” as it sometimes does. My apartment unexpectedly flooded and I had to hit the road. Sometimes in the midst of uncertain times lies an opportunity to take a leap and do something new. For me, this led to my latest adventures in house and pet sitting.

Whether you’re a full time traveler or simply curious about embarking on the occasional diversion, house and pet sitting is worth exploring.

Choose a House Sitting Platform, Join and Set Up a Profile
Some people may be unaware that there are many house and pet sitting websites where you join for a modest fee and have access to apply for house sits all over the world. Typically homeowners post their house and pet sitting opportunities, interested subscribed house sitters apply, and the chosen house sitter cares for their home and pets in exchange for a place to stay. There are many sites out there including Trusted Housesitters, Nomador and HouseCarers

After you choose and join your site, you begin with setting up a profile. When I set up my profile, there were a variety of things I paid attention to:

  1. I chose photos that reflected my experience caring for others including people and animals. I also selected photos that reflected my experience traveling.
  2. In my written profile I highlighted all of my personal and work experience that demonstrated I was a reliable and trustworthy professional. I also focused on all of my experience caring for pets and animals and caring for houses.
  3. I shared information about me that was unique and distinct.
  4. I included external references as the system allowed since I didn’t yet have any reviews within that house and pet sitting community.
  5. I took my time writing my profile to present myself well.

Diving In!
After I set up my profile, getting started was as simple as applying for sits. I had received some advice that it can be helpful when you’re just beginning to apply for local sits to get your foot in the door. This may make a homeowner more comfortable plus you have the possibility of meeting them before they leave which is often appreciated.

When applying for sits I did my best to present myself well, address the homeowner and their pets personally and by name, and highlight my enthusiasm and the ways I felt I was a match for their needs.

I was fortunate to find a wonderful two-week sit for a sweet little dog in a laid back coastal town as my first sit. From there for me, things continued to flow. I applied for sits that felt like a match for me with homeowners, home and pets plus responsibilities. I chose locations that weren’t too far from my current sit. As I got additional sits and started receiving internal reviews, it made it easier for me to apply for sits with more applicants and be considered as a contender.

When you apply for a sit, some home owners may choose to interview their top candidates.  When discussing the opportunity on the phone or Skype, I would do my best to have some prepared questions, to learn about the temperament and needs of each animal, and be thorough in my responses and inquiries.

As I continued with my house sitting journey, an important piece of the puzzle was to leave the house in great shape, better than it was left to me, with a little token of my appreciation, often a note with some flowers or a plant.

It’s fair to mention that of course house and pet sitting has been impacted by our current national and worldwide circumstances with COVID 19. House sitting websites do currently have opportunities, but for now those numbers are certainly reduced from the typical fertile field.

What Now?
So how about it? Do you want to hit the road? Maybe even just a safe escape to a nearby location? If you’re ready to jump in now or down the road, follow this link to save 25% on a Trusted House Sitter membership.

Whether it’s in the coming months or future plans, house sitting is a wonderful opportunity to be of service to home owners and their pets while offering you an opportunity for a little escape or adventure. Full time travelers and part-time explorers alike can benefit from the opportunities of house and pet sitting.

How about you, what are your house and pet sitting stories, adventure and advice?  If you’re curious to know more, feel free to ask any questions about house and pet sitting!

5 Affordable Ways to Take the Travel Leap

11 Jan

TRAVEL LEAPFour years ago I took the travel leap with very little money in my bank account relying mostly on a work exchange arrangement in Germany to make my way. As my initial 6 week journey expanded and grew, I began to discover new and useful resources that make it possible to continue to travel on a modest budget.

The point here is simple.  If you want to travel, internationally or even within your own country or continent, it is truly possible.  Money doesn’t have to be the thing the keeps you saddled at home.  Here are some viable travel resources that can help set free your travel dreams and make them a reality.

Helpx.net
This is my favorite travel resource and the one I have relied on most heavily in my travels.  The concept here is simple:  connecting hosts offering room and board in exchange for work with travelers. For a modest yearly subscription (20 Euros, about $24 USD, for 2 years) you literally get access to the world.

The membership gives you access to hundreds of hosts supplying detailed information and photos about their exchange opportunity. There is also a rating system allowing travelers to rate and offer input about hosts they have visited. This is very helpful and increases your confidence about a decision to stay with a host. There are even family friendly destinations so you can pack up the kids and go!

I have written in more detail about helpx on an earlier post, Travel the World with Helpx.

Workaway
This site is similar to helpx, offering work opportunities in exchange for room and board.  I have found many listings are the same on Workaway and Helpx… however there are still some differences and distinctions.  You can check out the listings for free.  If you find an opportunity that is calling you, membership and access to contact information is just 23 Euros (about $25 USD) for a two-year subscription.

Servas
Servas International is an international, non-profit encompassing an international network of hosts and travelers. They are founded on the premise that hospitality and cultural interaction are the essential tools for achieving conditions for people to live in peace and unity.  Members around the world offer homestay opportunities to member travelers.  If you’d like to learn more visit servas.org.

Couchsurfing
I am not an expert couchsurfer, but I am glad the option exists.  If you are not familiar with couchsurfing, it is similar in its mission of servas seeking to build connections and foster understanding across cultures.  Many members offer a “free couch” or bed for a few nights.  Profiles are quite descriptive and there is again the opportunity for feedback from other members allowing you to travel and make plans with greater confidence.

I look to couchsurfing when I want to take a quick getaway, perhaps for just a few nights, and would like to stay with someone local and also keep my budget low.  It is definitely an option to consider when navigating the globe, or just looking for some new scenery for a few days.

Trusted Housesitters
Have you considered house sitting?  I have… and while I don’t have much experience with it on the international scene, I just became a member at trustedhousesitters.com.  This is the largest site on the web and the fastest growing with the best functionality.  With a New Years deal, I received an annual membership for about 60 Euros ($70 USD).

I imagine this site, much like other online opportunities, begins with a well completed profile.  They provide the opportunity to file a police check as well as external personal and professional references.  It might be the ticket to your next international adventure.

What are you waiting for?
Whether you are seeking to change your life and travel full-time or simply for a way to temporarily launch beyond the boundaries of your current location, these are some great ways to do so.  With some common sense, a bit of preparation, and attention to details — these are all safe, viable and accessible ways to take the travel leap. Why not check them out?

And if hitting the road (or the airways) is not your destiny at the moment, remember with many of these organizations you can also be a host.  Helpx and Workaway may be a great way to get that gardening project underway or whatever it is you have been putting off around the house… and be of service to a traveler and bring a little international flavor into your life.

Do you have any travel plans on the horizon?  Or experience to share with any of these organizations?  It’s always great to hear from you!

 

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