Since 2019 I’ve been exploring Australia using the TrustedHousesitters app, caring for pets and homes along the East coast and exploring new destinations. It’s undoubtedly filled my travel cup in the midst of this pandemic, with local sitting opportunities surfacing almost every day and the opportunity for a relocation to a new region — even for a few days — providing the sense of awe I’ve craved.
What is Trusted Housesitters?
TrustedHousesitters is a global marketplace that connects home and pet owners with sitters, to solve a common two-sided problem – pet care and cost-effective travel.
The platform launched in 2010 with one simple mission: to create an innovative approach to facilitating high-quality pet care and ethical, authentic travel experiences at a minimal cost. Since then, they have grown into a global community connecting thousands of home and pet owners with care-orientated sitters, who will look after their home and pets in exchange for a place to stay.
How much does it cost?
Sitters pay one annual fee of $109AUD or a combined owner/sitter fee of $159AUD per year if they wish to be a sitter and also advertise their pet/home to a sitter.
How does it work?
Sitters (travellers) and home/pet owners connect on the app to exchange a service, which is to care for pets and homes around the world. The platform interface allows users to search and apply for sits by location.
Below, I’ve outlined the steps involved and some tips to get the best out of the TrustedHousesitter experience.
Step 1: Purchase your sitter plan & Create a profile
Users are required to set up a profile. This ensures transparency and trust when it comes to the sitting exchange.
My tips: Be specific and detailed in your profile, include lots of pictures and ensure you verify your profile using an email. Use images that show your face. Imagine yourself as the pet owner, what kind of profile would strike interest when trusting someone to look after your home and your pets?
Note: The profile will ask for your location and available dates. If you add your current location, homeowners may be able to find you and reach out to you for a sit.
Step 2: Search for a sit
The website and mobile app allow users to browse sits by region e.g. Sydney, Australia or United Kingdon etc. Browse the platform to find a sit that suits your dates and destination. Owners provide a detailed description of the location and responsibilities, including the type of pets and how to care for them.
My tips: Set up a saved search so you can get notified of the most recent sits available. Some sits may have a large number of applicants so it’s best to get in quick. I had my first ever sit on a first-come-first-serve basis and that sit provided my first review, which has since helped to gain more sitting opportunities.
Step 3: Apply for a sit
Once you have found a sit that interests you, apply for it.
My tips: Have a template ready for your application, but be specific when applying. Use correct punctuation and reference the names of the pets in the application. This can be found under the ‘meet the pets’ section of the listing.
Note: You can check how many applicants have applied by viewing the number under the listing dates. 0-3 applicants or 4-7 applicants means you will have a decent chance of being chosen for the sit. 7+ applicants signify a lesser chance of approval, but you have to be in it to win it so I recommend applying anyway.
Get 25% your first yearly membership with this link: https://www.trustedhousesitters.com/refer/RAF261585/
Step 4: Communicate with the host and start your sit
It is common for the host to set up a call with you prior to confirming the sit. Unlike Airbnb, users are able to exchange contact details in the chat. If a user is successful they will receive a ‘Sitter Confirmation Request’, which can be accepted or declined. If accepted, the sitter sends a Welcome Guide with details about the sit including the address, how to care for pets e.g. feeding times, and other logistics.
My tips: Ensure to ask any questions you have during the introduction call, including the arrangement of arrival time and departure time.
My experience with TrustedHousesitters
It really is in the name – I’ve only ever had wonderful experiences with all my hosts. Naturally, I’ve always played the role of the sitter due to my nomadic lifestyle and so feel as though I gain more from the experience. But in the eyes of a host, I can see how it is preferable to keep their beloved pets in the home instead of a shelter, and so am always greeted with immense gratitude upon arrival.
I’ve completed sits in apartments and larger homes. I’ve cared for both cats and dogs, although the opportunity to care for bunnies, chickens and horses has presented itself. Some hosts offer to pay for my food during the stay, others offer the use of anything in the pantry. I always feel very at home and welcomed by the hosts, and so offer this kindness in return.
It’s a different kind of adventure, one that sequentially comes with responsibilities. However, I do find enjoyment in caring for animals and homes and welcome the opportunity to explore a new destination, no matter how small.
Do try TrustedHousesitters if:
- You have a love for animals
- You are a responsible person
- You are willing to care for pets and a home
- You have the flexibility to relocate
- You are willing to spend time with the animals
Do not try TrustedHousesitters if:
- You will spend minimal time with the animals
- You are just in it for the free accommodation
- You do not have the flexibility to relocate
- You are not willing to meet the responsibilities of the sit
Get 25% off your annual fee with this referral link
If you want to join the TrustedHousitters community use this link and get 25% (save $27.25AUD) off your first yearly membership.
Have any questions about TrustedHousesitters? Or House-sitting in general? Contact me here.