Often people are confused where I stay when moving to a new part of the world. They either think I party it up in a 10-dorm hostel room or even worse live in a sterile hotel room for months. But actually I do neither.

Roaming the world with a laptop working online is far more challenging that some might think and that's why a nice, decent place to lay my head down is very important to me.

I often book an Airbnb as I love the local aspect in it. Staying with someone who already knows the city with not only its tourism but also local spots, has local friends, knows the ins and outs and is able to point you in the right direction, that's surely helpful when arriving in a new city.

I don't need a hotel concierge telling me how to get to the next tourist attraction but someone who recommends me a cute local café with reliable Internet. If you are new to Airbnb but always wanted to give it a go, you can get a nice discount off your first stay with this Airbnb discount code.

Sometimes, when I plan to stay a little longer I also look for a shared flat like I did when I lived in Barcelona and in Canggu on the island of Bali.

Another option that I discovered is house sitting for free rent, which basically means minding a house or apartment while the owners are away on a holiday, all in exchange for free accommodation.

Yep, you heard right: free! Many housesits also come with sweet pets which will need to be taken care of, so it's actually perfect if you miss having furry friends around when you travel.

Tips On How To Become A House Sitter

Get References

When I applied for my first house sit in 2015, I had only ever looked after friends places and my mums garden, but I guess that's a start!

Ask family and friends if they can give you a reference if you have looked after their house, pets or plants before. Having a good housesitting or character reference is your first step towards landing a housesitting job with a stranger on the other side of the world.

Find A Platform That Suits You

I had a look around at several house sitting websites and eventually decided to go with Trusted Housesitters, one of the largest housesitting sites on the web. Since I joined, they overhauled the complete site and it's now really easy to navigate PLUS they also have a mobile app, which is super easy for messaging on-the-go!

On the platform you can find all sorts of housesits, from sea view apartments to cottages and large farms all across Europe, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with fewer listings around Southeast Asia and South America.

All of the housesitting websites I checked have a membership fee, some more, some less. With Trusted Housesitters you have to sign up for a yearly membership which is around $119 USD, but it's really so very worth it, even if you just use it for a week in Paris over New Years (like I have done!), you have already saved a lot of money. Now imagine going on four week gigs or even three months!

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Are you considering to join Trusted Housesitters?

Once you are signed up to the platform, the fun begins. I took a look on the site every day and also signed up for the daily email alert, which delivered the newest housesits right into my inbox every morning so I wouldn't miss an opportunity.

Bonus House Sitting Tip #1

Try to be flexible when reviewing the available listings and don't narrow your dates and desired location too much as this will give you more housesitting opportunities.

Housesits can vary greatly from a few days over the weekend to a few months. I initially just had the idea to go to Australia and suddenly had a house sit in Darwin lined up whereas I originally rather imagined Sydney or Perth as a destination.

Subsequently, I found multiple housesits in Brisbane, then in Paris, Amsterdam and the Gold Coast.

Make Your Profile Look Great

If you have found a suitable housesitting gig, make sure your profile is spotless and you have written about yourself and your previous housesitting experience as the house owners are interested in knowing if you have taken care of pets before and are trustworthy and reliable.

Also upload a few nice photos of you as this makes a much better impression and will boost your chances.

Make A Great First Impression

Attractive house sits go very fast and big cities are more competitive than small towns so it's important to make a good first impression in your message by being positive, enthusiastic and most of all write something individual which matches the listing.

Be speedy with replies and setting up a Skype call so you don't miss out.

Have All Questions Answered

Make sure you know what your responsibilities are and that all your questions are answered before you go on your housesitting assignment. This is especially important in the case of an emergency so you know who to call and have the vet's number handy.

Also work out how you will get there and make the necessary travel arrangements. You might be lucky and the owners offer to pick you up from the airport or train station. I arrived ahead of the day the owners left so there was some time to familiarise with the house and pets' routines which was perfect.

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Housesitting Experience In Darwin, Australia

I had been a few times to Darwin before, but always as a tourist and so this was a really great opportunity to see some different sides of this town. The house sitting was set up for about four weeks in a lovely green and modern suburb north of the city center and close to some of the most beautiful white-sandy beaches.

Unfortunately, it's not safe to swim at Darwin's beaches. Especially in the wet season between October and May box jellyfish lure in the water and saltwater crocs live in this tropical part of Australia too. The beaches around Darwin are patrolled and the crocs are frequently removed but I guess some sort of risk always remains. But there are some great public pools around Darwin including the Lagoon at the Waterfront which you can access for free.

The house owners were super nice and the two dogs and two cats were so lovely and affectionate with some real character so it was really easy to get along. Living rent free and having a vehicle to drive around is one thing, but experiencing life as a local and adopting 4 furry sweethearts is a total different story and I really loved every minute of it!

Pet sitting has some additional responsibility attached as you will have to go for walks, feed, play and cuddle the pets but I guess if you love pets it's pure pleasure rather than a chore. Naturally, the same goes for the house itself, as you will always treat it with utmost respect and take care of it as it would be your own.

As a digital nomad, the one thing I always crucially need is a good Internet connection and some sort of desk space. Since the house was quite big, had a lovely veranda and big garden as well, there was loads of space to set up a small “home office” to get some stuff done.

The internet speed was great and it was always stable, even when it rained heavily and a thunderstorm was rolling over the house. This was great as Darwin doesn't have many cafés and free wifi hotspots are not that common either.

Bonus House Sitting Tip #2

Always give updates to the pet owners so they don't have to worry that their babies are okay. Send them photos, videos, emails and let them know everything is okay. And also be honest and upfront if something is not okay. Like that day, when the car got a stone chip on the windscreen while driving around Darwin. I guess there are worse things but don't let it be a surprise until they return.

Then there was also plenty of time to explore the area. From local Sunday markets to cafés as well as the infamous Mindil beach sunset markets to walking the dogs all around the neighbourhood. I never knew Darwin was so spread out and actually had quite some cool cafés too.

One of my highlights was a drive to Litchfield National Park about 130 km outside of Darwin. It's great for a day trip or camping overnight and you can spot the large magnetic termite mounds as well as do some bushwalking to then cool off in one of the many waterfalls and rock holes.

Visit Florence Waterfalls and Buley Rockhole, both are amazing and probably my two favourite spots in the park, make sure to stop off.

Finishing Up Your Housesitting Experience

I guess it goes without saying that you return the house cleaned and spotless. It's also nice to leave some essentials in the fridge like bread, milk and eggs or even cook a meal when you know that the home owners have travelled a long way. I'd always make it up to your gut feeling on what's appropriate.

Bonus House Sitting Tip #3

Leave some fresh flowers or another small thing to say thank you for their trust and letting you stay. I left a bottle of wine and a self-made card with their dogs on it as they got married and it will for sure be a great life-long memory for them.

If you had a fantastic experience and the house owners were happy too, they will for sure write you a reference. If they don't do immediately, just get in touch and ask kindly as they might have forgotten with much happening after returning from a big trip. On Trusted Housesitters there is also a button to send them a review request directly.

Stay in touch with the home owners. There is nothing more fantastic to have new friends all over the world! And you never know, maybe they will need a house sitter again in the future and if they have been happy with you, they might invite you to do another sit.

In the end, house sitting is definitely not just about the money-saving aspect but it's a rare opportunity to live like a local in many new corners of the world. I absolutely can't wait for my next house sitting job and who knows where that will be!

Want to join Trusted Housesitters & live rent free around the world?

Have you ever thought about becoming a housesitter?

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