Review – Trustedhousesitters

Lake Windermere

Lake Windermere

We’ve just spent two weeks in the Lake District, staying in an enormous and beautifully decorated four bedroom house with three great cats for company, with the stunning national park and the northern fells practically on our doorstep and a huge garden for enjoying the rare appearances of the English summer sun… and it didn’t cost us a penny! How did we manage it, I hear you ask…

Housesitting! In case you haven’t heard of the concept, it’s exactly what it sounds like: we’re look after somebody’s house and pets while their on holiday. They save on kennel costs and know that their pets are being cared for and kept company, and we get free accommodation. It’s win-win.

Having completed our first housesit, I can honestly say that it really is as good as it sounds. We arrived in Cumbria and housesittingmet our first clients at their gorgeous house, where they gave us some straightforward instructions over dinner and wine, before leaving early the next morning to catch their flight… leaving us to take care of the house.

It’s not completely a holiday. We have to take care of three adorable cats, feed them twice a day and give them affection when they want it. The rest of our responsibilities include making sure Great British Bake Off records, feeding the fish, putting food out for Barry the hedgehog (yes – housesittinghedgehog!) and watering the houseplants once every couple of days. Other than that, we’re completely free to come and go as we please, use the massive oven in the country-style kitchen to cook dinner or bake (having been away for five months I really miss cooking) and explore the nearby national park. We’ve been for two long hikes, climbed Catbells, visited Carlisle, walked around Windermere and even tried out the new Zip Trekking adventure at Go Ape in Grizedale Forest.

It hasn’t just been a great way to have a free holiday. Housesitting has also given us practice at looking after a house and garden (instead of a tiny one bedroom flat), a great experience for two people thinking about buying their own property at some point. More importantly, it’s given us the chance to practice taking care of pets – something we’ve both wanted for ages. That’s one of the big positives of housesitting, that you can practice looking after animals – or simply enjoying having temporary pets if being on the road full time means you can’t have own at the moment.

George the cat

George

Whether its the free accommodation, the opportunity to stay in a nice house (some even have pools), the pets, or the variety of locations meaning that you can housesit whilst travelling, it’s clearly a great experience – especially for travellers. But how to find your housesit?

We use Trustedhousesitters, simply because it’s the biggest housesitting site out there. Biggest means the most Lake District, Cumbriahousesits in the widest variety of locations – most are in the UK, USA and Australia but there are plenty in Europe, or even further afield like Costa Rica and Thailand. Although biggest doesn’t always mean best, there must be a reason it’s the most popular site, and since signing up with Trustedhousesitters I’ve had a fantastic experience.

It works sort of like a dating site: we uploaded a profile and a few photos, then got searching to find matches in our chosen area. When you find a sit you like, you simply contact the homeowner letting them know who you are and why they should pick you. Then, if you’re chosen, the homeowner will let you know and you can make all the arrangements directly with them.

The best part of using Trustedhousesitters is that they email us with a list of all the new housesits every single day! This saves me searching (and housesittingpotentially missing an awesome sit because I filtered by location or dates): everyday I open up the email and check out all the new sits, then if anything takes my fancy I can apply.

We originally tried looking at another site before we found Trustedhousesitters, and not only did we discover straight away that the range and amount of sits is way too low to make finding anything good easy, but also the other site didn’t update the listings when a housesit had been found. Trustedhousesitters updates this straight away, so we haven’t wasted any time applying for already filled sits. It seems so obvious, but it’s a big thing and plenty of other sites don’t bother!

Lupin

Lupin

Trustedhousesitters have been really helpful all the way, and the site is so easy to use! We already have our second housesit lined up in Winchester, and pretty soon I’m sure we’ll have a third ready to go.

If you like the sound of housesitting, head on over to the Trustedhousesitters site to sign up. The 12 month membership is just £59.88, equivalent to £4.99 per month (there are also 3 and 6 month memberships if you want to test the water before going long-term). That’s accommodation for just £4.99 a month – if you’re backpacking around Europe, the states or Australia, or if you’re about to return from a long trip and have nowhere to live, it really is a great way to save money on rent and bills.

For help with getting started, don’t miss my post How to Get Your First Housesitting Assignment – it’s packed with all my tips and useful info from top Trustedhousesitter members, too! 

FYI – Trustedhousesitters are one of my chosen affiliate partners – so I do make a small commission on any sales generated from my site. But that doesn’t mean I don’t genuinely recommend the brand – in fact I joined the affiliate scheme because I use and love Trustedhousesitters myself and am happy to recommend it. If you decide to sign up, please support my site by using one of the links above to do so.


About Emily Luxton

Emily Luxton is the award winning travel blogger and writer behind emilyluxton.co.uk and backpacksouthamerica.com. A digital nomad, she travels as much as she can and funds it with freelance work and blogging.

22 Comments

  1. Sounds really great! I did some housesitting for friends of mine, it was a long house-sit, almost 6 months. They had emigrated, and wanted to wait a while before getting rid of their house. I cared for two gorgeous cats. And I was thinking to do this more often. I will definitely try out your recommended agency (TrustedHousesitters).

  2. Ah The Lake District! One of my all time favorites. It’s been decades since I visited England, but The Lakes District stays near the top of my list of Most Beautiful Places. We stayed in a B&B called The Manse on the edge of Lake Windemere. Loved the green fields crisscrossed with stone fences seen through the perpetual misty fog.

    • It really is a beautiful part of England! I can’t believe I’ve left it this long to travel within my own country – there’s so much more to the UK then I’ve seen so far!

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  6. lydia.006@hotmail.com

    Hello Emily, I am wondering if you might not mind a question from a fellow housesitter. I’m currently on the site you blog about here. I signed up last week. I have sent several messages to people on the site looking for a housesitter. None of my mail has been opened by anyone I’ve contacted. I’m wondering if this happened to you or how long it took you to get your first housesit? Just curious as to your experience. Would be so appreciative to hear back from you if you might have the time :)
    Thanks so much!
    Lydia

    • Hi Lydia! Of course I don’t mind a question. It took a couple of weeks before I managed to get my first housesit, mainly because many people are reluctant to select a brand new member who doesn’t have any references from past sits. Also, many homeowners place an ad, then sit back and wait several days until plenty of requests have come in – or just until they remember it – so it can be a while before your message is read. Also, some people will click straight onto your profile before reading your message, so if they’re not keen it may be that your message is never read.

      Do you have a profile picture? As if not that will be a big turn-off for most homeowners straight away! Make sure you have a nice pic of you looking as friendly and like a good housesitter as possible, as this comes up next to your name in the message you’ve sent them so it’s the first thing they’ll see. And make sure your profile is really full, talk about all your experience and really sell yourself!

      Have you read my other post – How to get your first Housesitting assignment? http://emilyluxton.co.uk/2014/09/04/housesitting-tips/ It’s got all my tips, and everything I do to line up a sit. Hopefully that will help.

      Good luck :)

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  9. Wow, George looks like one cool cat! ;-) I really want to get into house-sitting but I don’t know whether I can justify the cost right now as I’m currently working full-time with just 23 days hol per year, so I’d possibly only be looking at a house sit for one of my 4 weeks hol, which makes it rather expensive! Will definitely have a look at the 3-month membership though, as I think it’s a good idea to get your foot in the door for future long-term travels :-)

    • He was the best! Enormous and like a weird dog-cat hybrid; we even caught him digging holes in the garden and chasing balls. We loved him :)

      Housesitting is a fab way to visit places on a budget, and it’s even a good way to explore some of your own country – lots of assignments are for weekends only so you can even take a free mini-break in a nearby city as a good way to get started :) Let me know if I can help with anything!

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  11. Hi
    I was actually thinking of joining the site to find a sitter for when we go away for 2 weeks in May but I am unsure because if I pick a sitter and book them in, what happens if just before we fly they cancel and leave me without pet sitters? I’d never find a kennels/ cattery in time for school holidays? Is there any insurance to protect against this for homeowners do you know?
    Thanks
    Emma

    • Hi Emma

      Thanks for commenting – and good question. There’s no insurance with Trusted Housesitters that I know of, but the guidelines for housesitters expressly forbid us from cancelling unless due to extenuating circumstances (basically, nothing lower in importance than a family death). If you’re careful in your choice and select someone with a lot of good references you should be safe to assume that they wouldn’t cancel – housesitters rely on good references in order to line up sits, so no one would cancel without good reason. For piece of mind, I’d suggest selecting a couple; I sit as a couple with my boyfriend and I know that if there was any reason one of us couldn’t come after all, the other would do the sit alone in order not to let down the homeowner. Also, homeowners are completely within their rights to ask sitters to send them proof of travel (like a receipt for train tickets for example) for added reassurance. Stay in regular contact with the sitter and maybe arrange to skype the week before so that you can double check all the details.

      Finally – if the worst happened and a sitter did cancel, you probably wouldn’t have too much trouble finding a replacement at short notice. A lot of the sits I’ve undertaken were advertised with a week or less to spare, and the homeowners always recieved lots of applications in spite of the short notice.

      I hope that helps put your mind at rest, but feel free to ask if you have any more questions :)

      Emily

  12. Wow. You obviously had an amazing experience. I did not know that there is a website where you can sign up and start doing this on other places of the world. I will check it out to see what suits me best.
    The home and the view looks great!
    Been reading a lot of your articles. I`m impressed of how many beautiful places are around the world.
    I know my own country very well, I can say, and I can say that Romania is a beautiful, authentic and unique country.

    Have a great day. Looking forward to see more of your experiences.

    • Thank you! Housesitting for the past few months has been incredible – some amazing houses, lovely pets, and lots of lovely cities to explore. It’s a great way to see more of the world.

      Romania is somewhere I would love to visit – maybe later this year! :)

  13. I will definitely try exploring the world with Housesitting.

    I totally recommend Romania. You will find all kinds of sights and really welcoming people. The traditions are unique and something that must be carried on.

    In the mean time, If you could check our website: https://familyvacation.com/
    We could use your expert adivce and Feedback. (There is a button up on the right on the Homepage for a Feedback)

    Thank you very much and appreciate your Feedback!

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