House & Pet Sitting Jobs Allow you to Travel on the Cheap

House & Pet Sitting Jobs Allow you to Travel on the Cheap

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Have you always dreamed of living in an awesome house on the beach? Lack of funds keeping your beach house dreams from coming true? If so, you may want to look into house and\or pet sitting jobs.

It’s unlikely you’ll be making much, if any, money pet sitting. You will be living rent-free in some amazing houses though. We’ve already shown you how to travel to some great destinations for cheap. Now let us show you how to live there…for free.

View from our 2 month house sitting gig
View from our 2-month house-sitting gig.

A Quick Primer on What a House & Pet Sitter Is

House sitting and pet sitting pretty much go hand-in-hand. We’ve been house and pet sitting for years, for many different homeowners, and only once did we house sit with no pets involved. If you want to live for free, in some amaze-balls locations, it’s going to take a little bit of work. Only a little bit though.

House Sitting 101

House sitting is just looking after someone’s house and property while they are away. This could be for the weekend or for the year.

Nomad Tip
Oddly enough there are house sits where the homeowner is at the house full or part-time.

We strongly suggest you not take these house sits.

Your house sitting responsibilities may include:

  • Watering indoor plants.
  • Taking care of gardens.
  • Cleaning the pool once a week.
  • Maybe some light yard work.
  • Actually being at the house more often than not.

In exchange for this little bit of work you live in the home for free; no deposit, no rent, and most likely paying no utilities.

House sitting in Progreso Mexico
A little pool cleaning during our Progreso, Mexico house sit.

Pet Sitting 101

Pet sitting is pretty much what it sounds like. You take care of someone else’s pet(s) while they are away. This includes:

  • Feeding daily.
  • Keeping the water full and fresh.
  • 2-3 daily walks.
  • Daily or monthly medications.
  • Loving the pets as if they were your own.

Seems pretty straight forward, huh? You’ll be pet sitting for the owner in their house and living rent-free while doing so.

pet sitting on the Caribbean
Paul walking the dog while pet sitting on the Caribbean.

What House and Pet Sitting Isn’t

If you’re looking for a way to save some money on your next vacation, house & pet sitting probably isn’t for you.

For starters, most house sits are long term; between 2 weeks to a year.  A little longer than a typical vacation. Secondly, homeowners expect you to be watching the house and pets, not spending 12 hours a day sight-seeing.

That’s not to say though that you’re stuck in the house all of the time. There is time for fun and sightseeing, just not all day, every day. If you can take yourself out of “tourist mode” and get into “traveler mode” house & pet sitting may work for you.

house and house sitting in Bacalar Mexico
Natasha playing tourist for the day while house sitting in Bacalar, Mexico.

Where and When are These House Sitting Jobs Available?

They’re everywhere. In every city, in every mountain town, and on every beach. I’d be willing to bet there are more houses and pets that need to be sat than there are sitters. Finding a pet and\or house sitting gig is actually pretty easy. As long as you’re flexible.

Are you wanting to leave the cold and snow behind and live in the tropics all winter? Guess what…so is everyone else. While great house sits are in every city and on every beach, they’re mostly limited to certain times of the year.

sunset while sitting in Xcalak Mexico
Pet sitting in the summer on the Yucatan Peninsula.

The Best Time of the Year to Find House Sitting Gigs

First, let’s be clear; house and pet sitting gigs can be found throughout the year. They may or may not be in an area you’re wanting to live in, or for the length of time you want to be there. If you’re dying to live on the Caribbean for months on end, you have to be flexible.

Few people may realize this but, for the most part, beach house owners only live in their beach houses part-time. This is true no matter where the house is located. Once May starts to roll around many of these beach house owners head back up north to their summer homes.

This means that once summer starts there are thousands of beach homes just sitting there empty. And most of those owners know the value of a trusted house sitter to hand their keys over to for the summer. Now you just have to find these owners.

pet sitting on the beach in Nicaragua
House sitting during the slow season at the beach means a lot of time just hanging out.

Here are the Ways we Find our Awesome House Sitting Jobs

There are a number of different ways to find house sits. Some involve an investment of money. Others involve an investment of time. Either way, you’re going to have to be pro-active in your search. At least when you’re first starting out.

Using Paid Platforms to Find House & Pet Sitting Jobs

There are numerous different paid house sitting platforms you can find online. Some specialize in certain regions, some are pet specific, and some specialize in only luxury homes. Below are some of the more popular paid house sitting platforms:

  • HouseCarers.com – At the time of this writing housecarers.com has 212 homeowners looking for house and\or pet sitters. The locations span the globe and length of stay is anywhere from 1 week to 6 months. HomeCarers.com has an annual fee of $50.
  • Nomador.com – Nomador has 89 house sitting jobs available right now all over the world. They also have a free “discovery option” that allows you to search available house sits, as well as contact three of the homeowners. If you decide you like the platform nomador.com annual fees are $89.
  • HouseSitMexico.com – If living rent-free in Mexico is on your bucket list, this is the site we recommend. While they may only have 15 active listings at the time of this writing, that’s more listings in Mexico than the other platforms. Listings include amazing beach homes with no end dates, as well as beautiful lake homes in the mountains. HouseSitMexico.com has an annual fee of $79.
  • TrustedHouseSitters.com – This is one of the larger house sitting platforms. There are hundreds of pet sits available on this site. There are also hundreds of sitters to compete with. You can browse the sits for free but you’ll need to pay TrustedHouseSitters annual fee of $119 to contact the homeowners.

While there are some sitters who are members of multiple paid platforms, we think that as long as you can be flexible with your dates and location, any one of these sites would work for you.

Not Ready to Make a Monetary Investment in Pet Sitting?

That’s ok. You can still find quality house and pet sitting jobs. You’re just going to need to invest your time instead of your money. While we initially started out on paid platforms to find our house sits, the following is now how we find most of our house sitting gigs.

Step #1 – Determine some places you’d like to go.

Don’t be too picky about your exact destination. Since we spend a lot of time in Mexico we’re going to use this as an example.

Let’s say we want to live on or near the beach in Mexico. We’d prefer the Caribbean, but anything will do. The first step is to find a list of cities in Mexico that are on the water and have a large expat population. How do we do this? With Facebook (it ain’t just for sharing cat photos).

Search Facebook for groups that can help you in your search. Find any groups that a lot of expats are in. Groups will sound something like, “Expats in Mexico” or “Gringos living in Mexico“. Join these groups.

house sitting in Mexico
House sitting gig found using Facebook groups.

Step #2 – Ask for Suggestions on Where to Live.

You can look at a map of the Mexican Caribbean and find the big cities that meet your needs. What you need to find are the small out of the way villages on the ocean that only locals and expats know about. And there are lots of them.

Post to the group with questions such as, “I’m looking for a town on the Caribbean with a strong expat community”. You’re going to get a lot of helpful, and some not-so-helpful, replies.

Step #3 – Time to get more granular.

Now that you have a list of smaller towns that fit your criteria, start joining those Facebook groups. Once you’re a member, don’t just blurt out you’re there for house sitting gigs. That’s a good way to get banned from the group. Instead, interact with the group, ask questions, and get to know the people there.

pet & house sitting in Bacalar
Backyard of pet sitting job found using Facebook groups.

Step #4 – Time to pop the question.

After a reasonable amount of time has passed, it’s time to pop the question. I usually phrase it something like, “Hey everyone. We’re going to be in your town on these dates. We’re experienced house and pet sitters with tons of great references. If anyone needs house\pet sitters, feel free to contact us”.

Step #5 – Commit to your new house sit.

Do not flake out on these homeowners. If you tell someone you’re going to house sit for them, please don’t leave them hanging. They’ve put a lot of trust in you, and the process. Do not let them down.

How Often Does this Free System Work?

For us? More times than not. We decided last year we wanted to live in Colombia. I joined many of the Medellin, Bogota, and Cartegena Facebook groups. I employed the above steps and within a week had 3 different leads on house and pet sits. It works in every country we’ve moved to.

fridge finds while house sitting in Merida Mexico
Food and a nice note left behind from the homeowner. Another Facebook group house sit.

Finding House and Pet Sitting Jobs through Word-of-Mouth or Repeat Sits

Eventually, this is how you’ll get your house and pet sitting jobs. If you’re content returning to the same place every year it’s very likely homeowners will be seeking you out, as opposed to the other way around.

After a couple of years using the above mentioned paid platforms or the Facebook method, you’re going to have homeowners contacting you directly about sits. This year alone we’ve had to turn down four house sits.  These four sits were either from owners we’ve sat for before or from recommendations.

Why’d we turn them down? We’ve been to these cities already. Many times. We’re just ready for some new experiences and we know that using the above methods we should be able to find quality house sits anywhere we decide to travel.

Monkeys! Pet sitting in the Nicaraguan mountains.
Pet sitting in Nicaragua from a homeowner recommendation.

Ready to Start Looking for House and Pet Sitting Jobs?

Tired of living the rat-race in the States? Are you ready for some long-term beach-time, rent free? Then let’s get started. We suggest using one of the paid platforms first. These platforms make it fairly easy to build up a list of references, which you’re going to need.

Once you have the references, you can move onto the free Facebook method. Choose where you want to live, and start messaging Facebook groups that are filled with expats looking for time away.

After a year or so you’ll see that the house and pet sitting jobs will come to you. Eventually, you’ll be able to choose where you live and for how long. Because you deserve to ditch the rat race and finally enjoy life.

House sit above the Pacific
Our house-sitting job in Nicaragua above the Pacific.

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