House and Pet Sitting is a fast growing travel trend and here's why. It's a mutually beneficial system that matches travelers with homes. And often, matching animal-loving travelers with animals that need love!
I personally am a huge fan of house sitting because it allows me to travel full-time by exchanging my care for new animal friends and a place to stay. But since it's relatively new, I thought I'd answer some questions and explain some of the benefits!
1. for the Homeowner
If you are a homeowner, having a house sitter to occupy your house on a daily basis is the best step you can take for security, as well as the peace of mind knowing your house and property are cared for. And, it's free!
If you are a homeowner and a pet parent, having a pet-sitter take care of your babies while you're away ensures pets are kept happier, healthier and safer in their home environment with their normal diet and routine uninterrupted.
2. for the Sitter
House sitting gives you rent-free accommodation. This can significantly cut down on your travel costs, saving you thousands. It's a great tool to help you not blow your travel budget. Maybe you don't want to fork over tons of money for a hotel, or you just don't feel like staying in a crowded dorm room with a bunch of drunk partiers.
Housesits can be as little as a few days to as long as 6 months to a year or more. As long as you are a responsible mature person and are able to manage a home and take care of maintenance and emergencies that arise, you basically get a free home to live in.
There are homes available all over the world in most every major city and country. Is there somewhere you're always wanted to go? Want to live like a local and really experience the culture authentically? Spend a few months on an island. Stay at a castle in Europe. Live off-grid in the jungle. It's easy to get started!
If you love animals, you benefit by getting to meet new animal friends, take care of them, and enjoy their companionship. Often, and especially when traveling, animal-lovers need their fix!
Interacting with and loving animals in their homes, where they feel most comfortable, is such an awesome responsibility and pleasure. Dogs love to go on walks so you can get exercise and explore local areas, maybe even take them to parks or beaches. You can ride horses, milk goats, hang out with chickens, kiss kittens, or smell puppy breath (yum)!
3. for the Pets
Pets don't want their owners leaving just as much as their owners don't want to leave them. They don't think it's a great opportunity to finally got some peace and finish working on their novel. Instead they may feel abandonment and separation anxiety.
Pets can be creatures of habit and do best when their routine is uninterrupted. Nobody wants to impose pet care on unwilling or inexperienced friends, neighbors, or family. Even with the best of intentions, this can be quite a stressful experience to all involved.
Boarding pets comes with the risk of diseases, parasites and behavioral problems, not to mention emotional stress. I have personally worked at many veterinary hospitals and boarding facilities and have seen how traumatic this experience is to the animals. Pets don't understand that they're in a safe environment, instead they feel that they were abandoned by their loved ones and left in a jail cell with scary sounds and smells.
With over 15 years of personal experience pet sitting and over 10 as a veterinary technician, I can confidently say that the safest environment for pets is their own homes. And having a pet sitter around may save a life in the event of a pet emergency.
4. for the Home
Having a human occupy the home everyday, coming and going, turning lights on and off, using the tv/radio, and a bicycle or car; all this maintains a lived-in status in your home. This continual presence alone can prevent crime, robbery, and pet theft or abuse.
Someone is also around to handle day to day operations, mail, cleaning, and maintenance or emergency issues that may arise. Pipes break, power goes out, water leaks. Better to have someone at home to handle these things rather than come home to a disaster.
The peace of mind that comes from the safety and security of having a house sitter is worth its weight in gold.
5. for the Travel Community
As ambassadors of ourselves, our country, housesitting, and the travel community as a whole, it benefits us all to work together in a symbiotic relationship.
The positive experience you have with housesitting can travel online or by word of mouth and turn into someone else's positive experience. We all want to keep our experiences professional, responsible and kind. This way we can all continue to benefit, and pets can get the love they deserve! House sitting is a great opportunity to explore the world.