Ok, onward to the reason for this post; house-sitting. As I write this, we are lounging around the pool of a beautiful five bedroom home just a short walk away from the beach in South Africa. We have been house-sitting now since November 27th—minus a few days in Paris and Bordeaux—and it has been a dream!
Enter Hecktic Travels, a blog that we just happened to stumble upon while doing some pre-life-trip research. The creators of Hecktic Travels are Peter and Dalene Heck, a Canadian couple that has been traveling the world and house-sitting since 2009. Right before we left Louisiana they came out with an ebook about “How to Become a House-sitter“. Now I don’t know if you guys believe in signs but we do, and we took this one as a big sign. They are the sole reason we decided to house-sit, and for that we will be forever grateful.
I guess you can pretty much deduce from the name what house-sitting is, but we wanted to go into a few more details because we often get the question. House-sitting is usually an equal trade; meaning the sitter gets FREE accommodations in a homely environment and the homeowner gets the peace-of-mind that their home and pets are secure while on holidays. Seems like a win win situations to us!
The gamut of house-sitting possibilities is endless, from a remote solar-powered house in Fiji taking care of farm animals to feeding a goldfish in a plush London flat. The sits don’t always come with the company of animals though, our current South African house-sit is sans animals. But you name the house-sitting circumstance and it is probably out there, and the best part is you don’t have to be a full time traveler to reap the benefits either. We have seen many sits lasting only a few day, while others last years—not too long ago we were very tempted by a 4 year Costa Rican house-sit. Timing is everything though.
Now I’m sure you’re thinking, “That sounds just fine and dandy but where do I find these people to sit for”. Well there are a few websites that are dedicated to house-sitting, our personal favorite is trustedhousesitter.com. We have found it to have loads of new sits each day and it is by far the easiest to navigate. The only slight down fall—and I do mean slight—is the membership fee to list your profile on their site. You have the option to choose 3 months for $30, 6 months for $45, or a $60 annual membership fee. But we have done a few calculations and figured out that by the end of January we will have saved roughly $3000 in accommodations from house-sitting alone, not to mention the option of cooking meals versus eating out and saving there as well. So $60 for a year membership is just a tiny fish in the huge ocean of savings possibilities.
We started out this house-sitting journey with the goal of saving money and getting to stay in some great places, but the longer we do it we realize that there’s so much more to gain. We have met some great people and pets along the way. There was Jimmy, Sandie and their gang from Fontaine-Chalendray, France, who had an early Christmas celebration with us because they knew just how much we loved that time of year (they even let us decorate their tree!). Then there was Dave, Jenny, Harvey and their 2 lovely French bulldogs in Sarlat-la-Caneda, France, who made us feel right at home with lasagna, wine and great conversation. We couldn’t be more excited for what our future holds and where this house-sitting journey will take us. But we do know one thing, we will need our love and of course our passports along the way!
If you are interested in learning even more about house-sitting, Click here to look at Hecktic Travels book “How to Become a House-sitter”.