House-Sitting Our Way Through Europe
Don't have the money? Don't worry.
In the summer of 2022, my daughter and I embarked on an unforgettable three month European adventure. Since our return, a lot of people have been asking about the details of traveling to Europe with free accommodations, so I thought I’d fill you in on it all here.
Picture this: Summer of 2022, Paris, the city of love and croissants. Instead of cramped hotel rooms or expensive vacation rentals, we found ourselves in a charming two-bedroom house with a lovely garden, all for free! Thanks to fantastic websites like Trustedhousesitters and Mindmyhouse, we became temporary residents of this wonderful home, experiencing the authentic Parisian life firsthand.
What is House Sitting?
House sitting is a unique arrangement that allows travelers to stay in someone else's home while they are away, in exchange for looking after the property and often taking care of pets. It gives you an opportunity to experience life as a local, immersing yourself in the neighborhood and becoming a part of the community. When you search for lodging you can choose how many and which kind of animals you are okay with caring for, as well as the city and length of stay.
The Benefits of House Sitting
One of the most significant advantages of house sitting is the cost-saving aspect. By eliminating accommodation expenses, you can allocate your budget towards exploring local attractions, sampling delicious cuisine, and indulging in unforgettable experiences. Additionally, if you're an animal lover, house sitting provides the perfect chance to spend time with furry companions. It's a win-win situation—enjoying the company of pets while ensuring their well-being.
Trustedhousesitters is my favorite platform for sitting (using this link gives you 25% off!) With a wide range of opportunities in Europe, Asia, South America and the US, you can find your ideal house sitting gig easily. From quaint cottages in the English countryside to stylish apartments in the heart of Paris, the possibilities are endless.
Mindmyhouse is another fantastic resource that connects house sitters and homeowners globally. Choosing which website you want to use is really a matter of cost and available sits: Mindmyhouse is only $29 a year to join, while TrustedHousesitters is $129, but you’ll just need to take a look at the amount of sits each one offers in your travel destination.
How to Get Started
Getting started with house sitting is simple. First, create a compelling profile on the house sitting websites, highlighting your experience, love for animals, and responsible nature. You will also need to run a background check before you are completely signed up. Next, browse through the available listings, filtering by location, duration, and specific requirements. Once you find a suitable opportunity, submit an application, and wait for a video chat with the homeowners, this is where you can impress them with your genuine interest, and see if it looks like a good fit. This step was helpful for me to get a chance to meet the people before I accepted the sit. They usually have a handful of applicants, so after they have talked with everyone you will soon find out if you got the job or not.
We had such a great experience with all of our sits. It might seem crazy to travel half-way around the world to go to the home of a stranger and live sight unseen for days or weeks, but it’s a well-used and globally loved way to travel. We had fantastic home owners who went above and beyond in order to help us adjust to our new surroundings. One of our gracious hosts not only provided us with a cozy nest but also lent us their car. Yes, you read that right! We cruised through the picturesque Luxembourgish countryside, feeling like locals, all thanks to the generosity of strangers turned friends. I think it’s the fact that you will be caring for their furry babies that makes them so grateful, generous, communicative.
One of the most remarkable aspects of house/dog-sitting is the opportunity to forge lifelong friendships with people from all corners of the globe. It's incredible how these connections transcend borders and cultures, creating bonds that will forever hold a special place in our hearts. From sharing stories over a cup of tea to exploring hidden gems together, these newfound friends enriched our travel experience in ways we could have never imagined.
It turns out that this trip was also a great way for me to beat my passion for pessimism. Being a fearful traveler didn’t last for long when I had to find my way around the globe for three months with a teenager in tow. For more on the trials of travel and the hope and fortitude that developed from this tour see my Facebook posts from summer 2022, and future articles you’ll see here.
As we bid adieu to Europe and returned home, we couldn't help but reflect on the remarkable journey we had. House-sitting not only allowed us to explore the world without breaking the bank, but it also provided us with a glimpse into the lives of locals, immersing us in the rich tapestry of different cultures.
So, if you've ever dreamt of traveling to far-off lands but didn’t think you could ever afford it, I implore you to give house/pet-sitting a try. It opens doors to incredible experiences, grants you the comfort of a real home, and introduces you to extraordinary individuals who might just become lifelong friends.
Until our next adventure, keep dreaming, exploring, and embracing the wonders that this beautiful world has to offer. Bon voyage, fellow travelers, and may your own house-sitting journeys be filled with joy, laughter, and unforgettable memories!