Housesitting 101: How to Travel the World for Free

Housesitting experience

Table of Contents

Alright, picture this: You’re the temporary king or queen of someone else’s castle, living the dream without the mortgage! That’s housesitting in a nutshell, and it’s like getting handed the keys to a mini-vacation kingdom.

So, here’s the deal – people go away on holiday, and they need someone trustworthy to keep an eye on their place, their furry friends, and maybe even their potted plants. That’s where you come in! Instead of shelling out big bucks for a hotel or Airbnb, you crash at their digs for free. Yep, you heard me right, FREE!

You get to live like a local, explore a new ‘hood, and pretend you’re in your very own episode of ‘House Hunters.’ Want to chill on a sunny balcony overlooking the city? Check. Feel like cuddling up with a fluffy cat or a goofy doggo? Got it. Fancy whipping up gourmet meals in a fancy kitchen? You got the tools!

But hold up, it’s not all sunsets and smoothies. You’ve got some responsibilities, too. Water the plants, feed the fish, maybe collect the mail – you know, adulting stuff. But it’s a small price to pay for a rent-free getaway, right?

And the best part? You’re doing a solid for fellow travelers by helping them have a worry-free vacay. It’s like being a guardian angel for their home sweet home.

So, if you’re up for a nomadic adventure, love meeting new four-legged pals, and don’t mind a bit of light housework, housesitting might just be your ticket to living like a local, one borrowed house at a time. It’s a win-win – you get a cozy pad, they get peace of mind, and everyone’s happy! 🏡✨


The Benefits:

*Free place to stay with no bills

*Adventure in a place you may not have chosen

*Animals to cuddle and explore with

*Slow travel opportunity to experience culture on a different level

The Commitment:

*The animals’ needs come first. You’re on the animals schedule.

*You cannot leave spontaneously, not even for a weekend. 

*You must be sure you’re up to the task (really envision walking the dog three times a day or cleaning the parrot’s cage twice a week).


Step 1: Sign Up 

I love Trusted Housesitters. 

I’m currently on the Standard Sitter Plan which includes liability protection.

“For extra peace of mind, if a pet causes damage or injury to another person, their property, or pets whilst under your control during a sit, and this is due to negligence on your part, then you will be covered by our Sitter guarantee up to $1,000,000 per incident.”

However, the Premium Sit package includes sit cancellation insurance.


In the unlikely event of your pet parent cancelling, our guarantee provides up to $150 compensation per night to cover the cost of alternative accommodation, up to $1500 per sit.

You’re covered up to 30 days annually over as many sits as you like. Or, if you choose to do longer sits, then rest assured you’re still covered for your first 3 sits each year, even if they span over 30 days.” is very popular within Europe.

Step 2: Create a Profile

Tips for a Great Profile

Use photos with you and animals – show how much you love pets

Use photos of you in nature or with plants – to show you have a green thumb

Experience. List you experience with animals. Were you raised with chickens? Did you have a cat in your past life? List past housesitting experiences whether it was a weekend watching your sister’s cat in New York or a month housesitting for a stranger in Peru. 

Special Skills. Do you like to run (with a dog)? Are you fantastic at gardening? Do you speak the local language? Tell a little about yourself in a way that lends itself to this gig. 

Speak of housesitting as a career or hobby that you’re passionate about.

Step 3: Prepare Your Script

Once you start looking, you’re going to see a house that you LOVE and want to jump on the opportunity. I promise you.

So before we get too overwhelmed with passion, let’s create a thoughtful template.


This is about THEM. The host. You want the host to open your application and say “Oh, this person brings me peace of mind. I feel comfortable leaving my home in their hands”.

But you also want to show them you’re inquizitive. Not just a homeless person that will take ANYTHING. Ask some questions. 

Here is a housesitting script that you can use and tweak. You’re welcome. 

“Hello Robert and Liz!

Nice to e-meet you! I’m Lexi, a Seattle travel author who would love to come care for your home, Sparky and the chickens while you are away.

As a (full-time traveler, digital nomad, explorer), I look for housesits that offer a calming space for inspiration and an animal audience to read to! While I’m not a big party girl, I’d love a mini schnauzer to explore with. She won’t be left alone and I am totally comfortable with (giving her the medications they listed or letting her sleep with you if they requested).

I am an experienced housesitter, so you’ll be able to enjoy your travels knowing that Sparky, your chickens and your home are being well taken care of. I have years of experience looking after homes with dogs, cats, rabbits and extensive gardens with ease. As I am relatively new to TrustedHouse sitters, I don’t have reviews here but I have references that I’m happy to offer!

I see your dates are flexible and so are mine. I am happy to commit to two months or more when you solidify your dates. 
I’m happy to accomodate your needs and answer any questions you may have. I’d love to chat more. 

Looking forward to hearing from you,


Step 4: Apply to Housesits

There are housesits around the world on Trusted Housesitters. 

housesits around the world on Trusted Housesitters. 

You can see what and how many animals you’ll be responsible for via the icons in the thumbnail. 

You can see what and how many animals you’ll be responsible for via the icons in the thumbnail.

You can use filters!

Looking for just housesits with cats? 

Want a house in the US?

Want to stay for 4 weeks or less?

Use the filters! 

Also Set Up Saved Searches

Click the little heart. Now it’s saved and you’ll get notifications when that house posts another listing. 

Act fast: The best housesitting gigs get taken quickly! So show your interest an enthusiam. If you message a host, be quick to reply and offer a Zoom meeting. 

Be serious. Don’t apply to a housesit unless you’re sure you can make it work. 

Step 5: Set Up a Call

Or don’t. Sometimes both of you will want to chat, sometimes you won’t. When you do set up a call, be professional and ask questions. Here are some questions I like to ask.

How would you describe Sparky’s personality?

Do you have fast wifi? As I work from home, that is helpful to have. 

Is your home within walking distance to a supermarket? 

Make sure to ask every question you need because the last thing you want is to turn up and find that you’re stuck in the middle of no where with no wifi and a psycho dog.

Pro Tip: Entering a New Country to Housesit?

When immigration asks you what you’re doing here, don’t say “housesitting” because that may be considered work. You can say that you’re on holiday and plan to visit friends in the north. The hosts may be your “friends”. You can let your hosts know gently, “I’ll be letting immigration know that I’m visiting friends, rather than housesitting just to play it safe.” That way you’re all on the same page. 

During the Sit

housesitting in bali, indonesia

Be committed to taking care of this home as if it were your own.

Be prepared to clean up after a snowstorm. 

Don’t miss trash collection day. 

Get to know the neighbors!

Most importantly, send regular updates with photos. Show the adventures you’re having!

How to Get Invited Back


Leave the house spotless. Pick up after the pets. Take out the trash. 

Leave a “Welcome Home” note for the hosts and some flowers or a treat. 

After a few days of them being home, send a “wrap up message” to ask for a review. Something like “I hope you are settled and relaxed back home. I had a wonderful time housesitting for you and I hope you were happy with my stay. When you have a moment, would you mind leaving me a review on TrustedHousesitters so I can continue my housesitting adventure with good karma? I’ll also be leaving a review to express how much I enjoyed my time with you. Thank you so much and please stay in touch.”

House sitting beckons to travelers, nomads, retirees, and even those seeking brief getaways. While securing your initial opportunity might be competitive, meticulousness in application, interview, and delivery will build a strong foundation for your house sitting journey. As you establish credibility and rapport, the doors to more fulfilling house sitting assignments will continue to open.

Interested in other ways to travel for free? Check out my blog on the work-trade industry!

buy on Indie Bound
buy on Barnes and Noble
buy on amazon

Ticket Plan

this book has magic powers

Find and Fund Your Purpose while Traveling the World

listen on audible
got to application

Want to contribute to the blog? I love to feature the perspective of other solo female travelers.


Blog Contribution

meet your travel guide

I'm a bestselling author, hotel reviewer and pickleball player. I teach women how to travel the world solo without going broke or getting kidnapped.
In 2011, I left Seattle with just $200 in my pocket to travel the world solo. Today, I'm the founder and creator of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide, the #1 travel guide book series for women - and the author of The One-Way Ticket Plan. 

author of The One-Way Ticket Plan and CEO of The Solo Girl’s Travel Guide

Meet Alexa

subscribe to my channel

YouTube Video

Check out my Latest