House sitting – Free housing for expert travelers

Sunset view from our house in Portugal
Sunset view from our housewe sit in Portugal

House sitting sounds like a perfect opportunity to save ressources and enjoy a comfy home, while visiting a new destination. Thanks to the mighty internet, house sitting commmunities are widespread. How to find a house to take care of and what else you need to know is subject of this blog post.

How to find a house to sit

What you can find on international platforms is mostly promising. In case you can’t find a suitable option in the region you are about to visit, a search in local networks is sometimes more successful. If possible ask local friends for advice. Depending on the country that you are travelling, this might reach from an announcement board at the local grocery store to a nationwide online platform that you just never heard of cause you don’t speak the native language.

Another great way to find a house is to offer a house in exchange. It builds trust between the owners and a house swap or house share can be the beginning of a lifelong friendship.

In any case, there are some details that you will have to figure out in order to better your chances.


Timing is essential for this travel hack. House owners usually need a house sitter for a fixed number of days. Beeing flexible about your schedule will give you the best chance to score the gig. Ideally find a room, bed or couch that may host you for a couple of days prior and after the house sitting period. Be prepared that the house owner will not be open to negotiations about the date of arrival. Other circumstances, like the owner missing his return flight, might also affect your own plans. Make sure to have a plan B.

Skills checklist

Housitting is not for everybody. In most cases house owner has a reason to invite a housesitter. A cat, a garden, a mailbox or simply to scare away burglars. Give them the feeling that you are up to the task. Make sure to have some sort of agreement in case you break something.

  • Confidence
    Best achieved by bringing in the necessary experience. Lack of confidence can be compensated by professional skills.
  • Skillset
    You are a craftsman, know your tasks around garden and house? Mention it!
  • Reliability 
    Maybe the most important thing for every successful house sitter. Follow the guidelines of your host accordingly and be there for them. Some owners will call you twice a day, some never. Be ready whenever they need your help. Thats your job!
  • Discretion 
    It might be a nice place you are living in, but it is the private space of other people. Don’t go through their private stuff in order to find dirty secrets. Don’t post pictures of their home to your social media accounts. Don’t invite people over which you wouldn’t invite to a family brunch or better, don’t invite people at all. Enjoy the comfort on your own or even better. Bring your significant other! Many owners are looking for couples to share the stay.

Introduction letter

Especially around prime locations, house sitting opportunities are a competitive event. Your introduction e-mail has to be on point and stand out from the other applicants.

  • Keep it simple:
    – 2 sentences introduction about you
    – 1 sentence about your travels
    – 2 sentences about house sitting and references/professional experiences
    – 1 nice, personal line to the owners
    – Invitation to get back to you
  • Be specific about your plans. Prove your dedication to this part of your journey and name a reason to visit the region. Sports, recreation, culture, work, family, whatever comes to your mind.
  • Make sure to include a quality picture of yourself.

Housesitting sites

  • (Owners join for free, sitters pay $20 per year)
    Todays standard regarding house sitting communities. Many offers from UK and all around Europe, but also plenty of offers around Asia, Australia and other parts of the world.
  • (online subscription – $24,95 per year)
    A newsletter service with a magazine attitude, focussed on the American continent. Regular mailouts will keep you informed about the latest house sitting gigs and news from the world of house sitting. Great read for the experienced house sitter.
  • (Free limited account, Premium $99 per year for sitters)
    Former home of and good ressource of information in their blog and info pages.
  • (membership – $119 per year)
    Maybe it’s just the great name, but this plattform is without a doubt one of the most popular sites for sitters and owners to meet each other. It’s not exactly cheap, but if you plan to make a world trip on sitting houses, then this might be the most versatile and reliable option.
  • (Owners free, Sitters – $25 per year)
    A plattform for the most sophisticated amongst our fellow travelers. As the name suggest, homes and sitters are more of the classy kind. If you have the skills, this can mean 5-star ☆☆☆☆☆ accomodation for free.
  • (membership – $45 per year)
    A relatively new site that gained popularity fast, due to lots of good offers.
  • (membership – $89 per year)
    Only launched 3 years ago, the plattform is without a doubt the fastest growing community amongst french speakers. So expect to find more offers from Canada, France and similar locations.
  • (Standard account – $40 per year, premium $90)
    A modern designed plattform with a secondary target on pet owners and pet sitters.
  • (Owners free, Sitters – $8,25 per month)
    So new that they still offer free subscription for the first 500 members. Be quick and you get a 24month membership free of cost!

Final thoughts

Satisfying the owners need for communication, often requires a well organized lifestyle for the house sitter. Hosts will generally look out for the most reliable candidate, rather than for the most sympathic one. If you are tidy, reliable and calm, then house sitting is definitely for you.

If you know more house sitting contact networks and websites please comment with a link under this article.

Need more advice on how to find free accomodation? ->> Check our FAQ/Index !

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