Fit Housesitting into Your Nomad Life

As we travel around the world as a nomad couple, we’ll be balancing our overnight lodging among Housesitting, Airbnb, Hotels, and other opportunities. Lots of our friends have asked about the Housesitting part, why we’ll do it, and what it means.

“Why Should You Housesit?”

We want to housesit for three reasons:

  1. To reduce our monthly lodging expenses
  2. To get puppy and kitty snuggles
  3. To stay in places where we might not think of staying

Notice we didn’t say to make money or get cash.

“What Is Housesitting?'”

We use a website called Trusted Housesitters. It’s the largest website for an equal exchange of services between pet/home owners and pet/ house sitters. On this website, homeowners describe their homes and pets and what types of services they need. Generally, they want someone to stay in their house, take care of their pets, water plants, and get mail. Housesitters, on the other hand, describe their skill sets, their availability, and their experience. The website attempts to match up needs and wants. No money is exchanged and both homeowner and pet sitter are equally happy. Reviews are the magic juice that keeps things accurate.

Please use my Trusted Housesitters referral code so we both get a bonus when you sign up. Get it here.

“How Do You Get Started with Housesitting?”

When putting together your profile as a housesitter, there are some guidelines to follow. My friends, Tim and Amy Rutherford at GoWithLess, who introduced me to this housesitting concept, have great suggestions on how to get started, including writing a good profile. Watch 5 Tips to Getting Started in Housesitting. Be sure to subscribe to their YouTube Channel, too!

“When Will You Housesit?”

When do you select a housesit over an Airbnb?

As we travel the world, we have budgeted $2000 monthly for accommodation. In some countries, $2000 can go quickly. Other countries, it can buy you several months of heavenly living. We don’t want to limit our nomading to the “cheap” countries, so when we’re in more expensive countries, we’ll strategize our stay by housesitting most of the time. We’d like to housesit and slow travel at the same time, so we look for housesits that last a month or more. Sometimes, we’ll have to string together a few of them to make a month combined. The good news is that the expensive countries have lots of housesitting. A quick search for housesits in the UK, Australia, Spain, France, and New Zealand shows hundreds of housesits.

“How Will You Plan?”

As we try to work through our monthly logistics, we try to anchor a few accommodations and then work our way around those anchors. So, for example, if we really want to be in Paris on a particular date for a festival, we’ll “anchor” with either a housesit or an Airbnb. If a housesit doesn’t show up, we’ll book an Airbnb that has a refundable cancellation policy. If a housesit shows up and we can cancel our Airbnb without penalty, we’ll take the housesit. Otherwise, we’ll enjoy the Airbnb. We can also book a hotel and pay either with cash or with points accumulated through credit card reward programs.

In the least expensive countries, we’ll anchor with an Airbnb. Finding housesits in the more affordable countries can be challenging. For example, a quick search on Trusted Housesitters for Thailand, Bangkok, China, or the Philippines brings up only a handful of housesits. Airbnb is a fabulous way to find great accommodations exactly where we want them; within communities! Be sure to use my Airbnb referral code when signing up.

“How Long Do You Stay in Housesits?”

dog and woman
King Caspian gives kisses

In the US, many of the housesits are weekends to ten days, at the most. Sadly, in the US, people’s vacations are limited, thus, the housesits are relatively short. Longer ones do show up, but they are hard to find and very competitive to get. As we travel through the US, we are housesitting one week at a time. Since we clean the house to better condition than when we found it and leave home made cookies when we leave, moving every week gets tedious quickly.

In Europe, housesit opportunities generally are longer. They range from one week to one month. Europeans get longer vacations and this culture of longer vacations shows up in the housesit opportunities. As we jump the pond, we’re looking to settling in to longer housesits, getting to know the local towns, and getting to know the pets better.

“Isn’t Taking Care of Someone Else’s Pets a Bit Tedious?”

Are you a cat or dog sitter?

Yes. But it’s also rewarding and interesting. Cats are easier, generally, than dogs, and cats afford you more flexibility if you want to visit the local area. But dogs are great if you want to get to know the locals in the area. There’s nothing like meeting people when you’re walking dogs, and walking around neighborhoods opens up all types of opportunities. Dog parks are great places to meet locals and to learn about local restaurants and hang out.

“What If Something Bad Happens?”

Fortunately, nothing “bad” has happened yet. But through the Trusted Housesitters website, there’s a 24/7 vet hotline. In addition, we always make sure we have the vet info for the pet, we know emergency numbers, and we make sure we can reach the homeowners. We did have a situation where we cracked the windshield on the car they let us use, and we also broke the cover on a hot tub. In the case of the car, they had just replaced the windshield and a replacement to the replacement was still under warranty. In the case of the hot tub, they had already planned to replace the cover and weren’t even phased by us breaking it. In both cases, though, we were prepared to pay for repairs.

Ask Us Questions

Please feel free to ask us questions about housesitting. We’ll answer and add them to this post.

See you soon!


  1. Amy

    Such a helpful website! We are on our 6 month countdown to start Nomading and CAN NOT WAIT!! Thank you for all your helpful tips. Happy Travels to you both!

    • EatWalkLearn

      So happy for you! Where will you go first?

    • EatWalkLearn

      So fun! Where are you going first?

  2. Toni Farmer

    We’ve been full time Housesitters for over 5 years, finding the mutual fair exchange and trust to build a successful relationship with owners. It’s disturbing to see the influx of people who’s priority is “free accommodation” instead of the pets and home being foremost. It is changing the board – and not for the better! If you want to be successful – put the owners first. You will have ample free time to …whatever.

    • EatWalkLearn

      I totally agree. I’m thinking about putting a post together….something like “17 tips to a successful housesit” and not one of them would be how to save money. We’re actually looking at this really cool housesit in Scotland that’s about sheep and ducks. I have no idea how to take care of either, and I think about how enriching the experience would be, not how much money we’d save in accomodation.
      Hope to run into you on the road!


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handsome hiking couple

Chris and Steve, the empty-nesting nomads, travel the world, one month at a time, housesitting and Airbnbing along the way. We uncover urban walks, great hikes, and vegan/vegetarian eats that other guide books miss. And we throw in a bit about Forex trading along the way.

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