- I spent 5 weeks staying for free in homes all over the East Coast, taking care of strangers’ pets.
- I got my gigs with Trusted Housesitters, an international housesitting platform for $129 a year.
- It was fun taking care of people’s animals, and I got free lodging while traveling.
Two years ago, I Became an empty nester And wanted to start the journey. My travel list was long, but my budget was tight with a kid in college.
So, I started looking for ways to explore the world without paying thousands of dollars for accommodation.
The answer came to me when several avid travelers in my online groups suggested I give it a try Trusted house sittersan international house sitting and pet sitting platform.
Joining was a great feeling Travel hacks to stay almost anywhere for free.
First, I purchased a one-year membership to Trusted Housesitters.
At first, I was skeptical about Trusted Housesitters, but once I looked into it, it seemed pretty easy.
Pets and pet owners pay for membership. Sitters apply for seating and owners approve or reject them.
I found all levels of house sets — from penthouses to houseboats to log cabins tiny houses – with a duration ranging from one night to several weeks.
Most of the listings I’ve seen involve taking care of dogs or cats and sometimes farm animals, which is great if you’re an animal lover like me.
After researching, I agreed to a background check and joined at the lowest tier sitter price of $129 a year, which allowed me to book unlimited house seats worldwide.
I started building my profile by petting local small dogs.
Once I was vetted and added some character references, I created a profile page and applied to local pet sets.
I read in the Trusted Housesitters community forum that it’s best to start locally and get some good reviews under your belt before trying to travel far.
I was selective and only applied to homes that looked clean and had five star reviews. I also looked for smaller dogs that I could easily control on a leash.
If a pet owner is interested, they will set up a FaceTime or phone call with me. Now that I have done over 20 successful seatings, owners often skip this step and book me based on my request alone.
After all, I pet sit from Texas to Maine while living in beautiful places for free
After creating my profile, I set a goal. Running the East Coast Sitting back to back.
I was in Houston, but Maine was my final destination, so I applied to sit for a week at a newly built modern house in Freeport to watch two cats.
Once it was booked, I started applying for seats with contiguous dates between my starting point and the upper east coast.
Finally, my seats were booked and my five week journey began.
Getting to Maine was half the fun of my trip, which I planned around the pets’ schedule.
My first stop was taking care of two adorable dogs. AshevilleA beautiful mountain town in North Carolina.
I was there for a week, exploring the city with the dogs. I even visited. Great Smoky Mountain National Park nearby
As I see with any pet, dogs have their own eating and walking routines. I sent owners daily updates, just a quick text with a picture of their pet.
After that, I stayed on a 25-acre farm in Virginia that bordered the Appalachian Trail and cared for a senior dog.
Then, I headed to an apartment in New Jersey to see a Jack Russell terrier. While there, I took Train to New York City To catch up with some old college friends.
Eventually, I started caring for animals other than dogs and cats.
In Vermont, I happily learned how to keep an eye on chickens—I let them in and out of their coops and collected fresh eggs every morning.
I have had a great experience with pet sitting, and plan to continue to do so.
I’ve met incredible people and stayed in extraordinary accommodations, from log cabins Waterfront home In a mansion with 10 bathrooms.
I also have to take care of pigs, donkeys and goats, which I have never done before.
Pet-sitting has saved me thousands of dollars in travel expenses, and I think it’s a win-win for everyone. Pets do not need to be boarded, and owners can rest easy knowing that someone is watching over their home and animals.
I’m so glad I discovered Trusted Housesitters, and I plan to use it well into my retirement years.