If you feel like traveling but don’t have a lot of budget for it, you may want to consider house sitting.
Babysitting is generally unpaid work. You and the owner are essentially trading what you have for what you want. And when you do house-sitting in another country, because no money changes hands, you avoid having to get permission from the government to get paid employment.
But both sides get a substantial advantage. The owner can save the cost of having a pet sitter, which typically costs $ 25 to $ 100 a night, depending on the number of pets and the city. The arrangement may also benefit pets, which are less likely to contract a “kennel cough” or other ailments that disturb boarded animals in a group. The owner also avoids the pitfalls of leaving the place empty for weeks or months; someone will be there to deter break-ins and notice problems such as burst pipes. A sitter may also be asked to water the plants, collect mail, and do basic maintenance such as gardening.
During this time, the babysitter saves the cost of accommodation. Since many child care arrangements span several weeks, these savings can run into the thousands of dollars. At the same time, house-sitters often discover new towns and new friends – furry or otherwise – that they would never have known had they traveled more conventionally.
Paid babysitting jobs exist. However, these are usually home arrangements that only involve caring for pets and plants, not travel. The best site to list your paid babysitting service is Vagabond, which takes a 20% commission to help you find work.
If you are looking to stay outside of your metro area, you should expect the deal to reduce your expenses, not your income.
There are dozens of travel-focused websites where you can advertise your home or your availability to do so. Some sites focus on a single geographic region; others span continents.
Most charge house-sitters a monthly or annual fee to search the registry and apply for positions. Some charge homeowners as much or more than caretakers, providing them with premium services, such as insurance coverage for their property. Others don’t charge the owners at all.
Nomador offers a compelling combination of reasonable fees, great advice, and an abundance of users offering their homes and services. The site has a free option that lets you test the service, but it charges caretakers up to $ 99 per year if they want to contact multiple owners. The same deal applies to owners: you can sign up for free, but if you’re actively using the service, you’ll have to pay. Other features that help Nomador stand out include a ‘layover’ option that helps keepers find free accommodation between concerts, a fill-in guide to help owners put together the information keepers need, and a check-in service. identity verification.
Trusted housesitters is the most expensive of the international sites, but it attracts the most traffic. While Nomador attracted around 250,000 web visitors in April, TrustedHousesitters attracted over 780,000. The site’s annual fee ranges from $ 129 to $ 319, depending on whether you want a basic subscription, additional services or a subscription. “Combined” caretaker / owner. Most additional bells and whistles seem expensive. However, the site’s basic $ 129 registration fee provides 24/7 phone access to a veterinarian, making TrustedHousesitters a good choice for owners of older, medically fragile pets.
Home Caregivers is one of the oldest sites, with over 20 years in the industry. It is also one of the cheapest for registrants: free owner list; house sitters pay $ 50 per year. HouseCarers is for retirees looking for a comfortable, inexpensive way to travel the world. However, the website is not particularly user-friendly and seems to have fewer opportunities than Nomador and TrustedHousesitters.
Home Sitters America focuses on the United States At a time when international travel is still risky, this is a good option for US residents who wish to visit other parts of their own country. Like HouseCarers, House Sitters America does not charge homeowners to list their homes. Babysitters pay $ 49 per year. Because there is no international visa issue, Americans using this site can charge for house-sitting – but you have to understand that you are competing with people who are willing to sit down in exchange for it. ‘free hosting. So, unless the house or pets seem particularly unattractive, it can be difficult to find a paid opportunity.
Precautions and warnings
The catch for house sitters is that your vacation comes with responsibilities that could restrict your ability to visit places more than a few hours’ drive from where you are staying. The best way to resolve this issue is to research the location carefully to make sure it is close enough to the sites you hope to see. Another option is to ask the owners if they have a regular, paid babysitter that you could hire if you wanted to leave for a day or two.
The owners, meanwhile, assume the risk of harboring a stranger. Almost all caretaking sites suggest that homeowners address this risk by actively communicating with potential caretakers. Ask for references and read the babysitter’s comments. Be clear about responsibilities, asking sitters how they would handle potential problems.
Homeowners may want to keep their valuables in a locked area. It is advisable to clear a room for the babysitter, including wardrobes and closets, for longer stays. And check with your insurance agent how your insurer handles loss or damage caused by a guest staying in your home.
Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent site that reviews hundreds of lucrative opportunities in the concert economy.