The Ins and Outs of House Sitting

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Dalene and Pete Heck are a Canadian couple who sold everything in 2009 to travel the world. Since then, they have slow-traveled through 33 countries and have no desire to stop. The blog, Hecktic Travels, chronicles their journey around the globe.

The Heck’s favourite method of travel, via house sitting, has helped them save over $40,000 in accommodation costs. In their new ebook, How to Become a House Sitter and See the World, they write about how to live this exciting lifestyle. Today, Dalene shares a few tips from the book with our boomer readers:

View of the Costa del Sol Sunset
View of the Costa del Sol Sunset

We’ve all dreamed of an extended stay in the tropics – waking up each morning to the sounds of a National Geographic episode playing outside your own door on a small Caribbean island, taking a leisurely walk on the nearby beach every afternoon.

Or how about Christmas in southern Spain? More leisurely walks on a beach, an intensive holiday dinner replaced by tapas and one of the many local red wines.

Or if you’re aching for the big city life, imagine spending six weeks living on Manhattan. Take in Broadway, Central Park and more homemade one dollar dumplings than you thought was possible.

Roatan Beach
Roatan Beach

Now, what if I told you that you could do this for free?

We are house-sitters and we’ve done all of the above, plus more.

House-sitting is the last frontier of budget travel, and all the rage among retirees. While other people are off enjoying their vacation, you can enjoy yours in their home. Watch the house and give some love to their pets whilst exploring a new and exciting foreign neighbourhood.

The perks are numerous:

Save big money. Accommodations are often the biggest cost of traveling, and can be entirely mitigated with house-sitting.

Live like a local. Get a completely different travel experience by exploring a real neighbourhood outside of the typical tourist zones. Get off the crammed bus that just hits the highlights, and really dig into the local culture.

Enjoy the comforts of home. Stuffy hotel rooms are replaced with well-appointed houses made for daily living. Avoid the breakfast buffet line and dine at your leisure, also while saving more money on eating out.

And it’s so easy to get started. There are several websites available to match home-owner with house-sitter:

  • The largest site on the web with nearly double the available house-sits over others. It has great functionality, and is heavy on UK and European opportunities.
  • A decent number of house-sits with a well laid out website. It has the lowest fee to join, and is heavy on European and North American house-sits.
  • Plenty of good house-sits, focused largely on Australia, New Zealand and North America. The website structure is improving, but is not as good as the others.

So pack up your belongings and be ready to head out for an exciting stretch of travel like you’ve never done before. House-sitting has become our favourite way to see the world, and we bet it could be yours too.

Dalene and Pete ‘s great eBook about how to become a successful house-sitter, How to Become a House Sitter and See the World, includes examples of successful profiles and application letters, a 3-page checklist on everything to look for in a house-sitting job, as well as a discount to their favourite house-sitting website that covers the cost of the book!

Have you ever used house sitting as a way to travel the world? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email with your comments or questions.

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