Trusted Housesitters Review
A chateau in the South of France, you say? And one gets to spend time with animal companions?? For how long??! Wait…it’s completely free??!!
Yup, you’ve just discovered vegan traveltopia!
If you like travelling and love animals even more, but hate the rising cost of accommodation, then you’re going to want to read this TrustedHousesitters review.
Join me on my journey as a nomadic vegan sitter, where I’ll share tips on how to use this service safely and successfully, explore its pros and cons, offer advice on creating a winning profile to secure your first and future sits, and show you how to travel the world for free while experiencing some paw-some adventures!
This review is aimed towards fellow sitters but much of it is also relevant for homeowners and pet parents. If there’s anything I’ve not covered, please feel free to ask me any questions in the comment section below.
Don’t forget to check out my full vegan travel section for more helpful reviews and resources!
Trusted Housesitters provides the opportunity to visit amazing destinations, make memories and spend time with furry friends. I just wish there were more house sits outside of the EU, US, UK and Australia.
What is Trusted Housesitters?
TrustedHousesitters is an online platform that connects homeowners and pet parents with sitters who can take care of their home and animal companions whilst they are away. This service is provided by the sitters for free, in exchange for free accommodation.
TrustedHousesitters was founded in 2010 and has since grown to become the largest house-sitting platform in the world, with members in over 130 countries.
Sitters benefit because they get the opportunity to travel the world and stay in beautiful homes for free, all while taking care of some adorable animals.
Homeowners and pet parents get the reassurance that their animal companions will be looked after in the comfort of their own homes by a reliable sitter. No more nasty kennels!
Just look at some of the gorgeous furry companions I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with 😻
How does Trusted Housesitters work?
So, let’s say you’re planning a trip but you’d like to see some slightly alternative places to stay. What do you do? You search on TrustedHousesitters, of course! Here’s how it works:
Step 1. Sign up and create a profile
Sign up and create a profile that shows off your personality and love for animals. Let homeowners know when/where you’re travelling (your availability), what kind of experience you have sitting and/or looking after animals and what kinds of animals you are comfortable caring for.
You can browse sits with a free membership but you’ll have to pay the membership fee before you can start applying.
Step 2. Browse dream destinations
Browse through a variety of house-sitting opportunities that fit your criteria, whether it’s a cosy apartment in Paris or a beach house in Hawaii. You can view their profiles and read reviews from other sitters to get a feel for their expectations and decide which opportunity is the best fit for you.
Step 3. Apply apply apply!
Once you’ve found the perfect house sit, it’s time to send a tailored application. Make sure you demonstrate that you’ve read their profile and share what makes you stand out as a top-notch house sitter.
Step 4. Confirm the details
This part is very important! Clarify dates, iron out the details and ensure that you have a clear understanding of the pet care instructions, household rules/responsibilities and any other important information.
Step 5. Pack your bags
Pack your bags and start your adventure! Follow the homeowner’s instructions, take care of their home and animal companions and enjoy your free accommodation in exchange for your amazing house-sitting skills.
How much does Trusted Housesitters cost?
There are three membership plans for sitters: basic, standard and premium.
I use the basic plan and find this is more than enough. You get unlimited house sits worldwide for £99 a year. It may seem like a lot but, since the majority of hotels costs roughly this much per night now, I think it’s pretty good value for money.
I’ve already done six long house sits this year (it’s only the beginning of April) so I think I’ve more than made up for it.
The standard (£129) and premium (£199) memberships offer more features including 24/7 vet support, instant alerts for unlimited saved searches (handy but not necessary), insurance and liability cover and various other perks.
Some of the beautiful homes I’ve stayed in ☝️
Is Trusted Housesitters worth it?
Well, it ultimately depends on your individual preferences and circumstances. However, many sitters have found great success and enjoyment in using TrustedHousesitters.
Whilst I don’t use it permanently, I use it very often. I like to travel using a mixture of house-sitting, Couchsurfing, staying in Airbnbs/hostels/campsites and even vegan hotels.
For me, TrustedHousesitters is a really unique way to travel and explore new places while taking care of some amazing animals and living like a local. It has also provided me with the opportunity to stay in houses that would normally be waaaaay out of my budget!
Nevertheless, it has its drawbacks and isn’t always the most convenient way to travel.
To help you decide whether or not it’s right for you, I’ve explored some of the biggest pros and cons below:
One of the biggest perks of house-sitting through TrustedHousesitters is the free accommodation; you can stay in some of the most beautiful homes around the world without having to spend a penny! I’m talking chateaus, Edwardian manors, treehouses, converted warehouses, rainforest retreats, the lot!
Another major benefit is the animal companionship. As a sitter, you’ll have the opportunity to take care of some pretty awesome animals, from dogs and cats to more unusual creatures such as rescued deer and farm animals at a vegan sanctuary!
It’s the perfect opportunity to create incredible memories with some furry friends while exploring new places. I’ve found that walking with my new canine companions has enabled me to have a completely different perspective on a destination, since I often explore places that I might not have even thought about if I wasn’t accompanied by a dog.
The fact that you’re staying in someone’s home often means that you get introduced to the neighbours and local community, which leads to some pretty exciting experiences; I’ve been taken go-karting, given a tour of the best vegan spots in Geneva, wined and dined, and even ended up playing competitive tennis.
Lastly, one of my favourite things about TrustedHousesitters is the flexibility! You can browse through a variety of house-sitting opportunities that fit your criteria, whether it’s a few days or a few months. You can choose where you want to go and when you want to go, making it the perfect opportunity for travellers who want to work around their own schedules. As a permanent digital nomad, this has worked out great for me!
If you’ve had experience looking after animals, then you’ll know what a huge responsibility it is. This can weigh particularly heavy if you’re looking after someone else’s companion; I’ve heard about other sitters who have sadly been there as an elderly pet has passed away and had to relay the information to the homeowner whilst they were on holiday.
It’s also important to remember that we are there to look after the animals (although there are animal-free housesits that appear on the platform occasionally), so we can’t go out partying all night. The animals need us to be responsible.
I’m not saying that I don’t enjoy myself whilst I travel, of course I do, but I only do so when there is no one else dependent on me. For example, if I’m sitting in Amsterdam and want to explore the drum and bass scene, I’d book an additional couple of nights in an Airbnb or hostel after my sit so I can enjoy myself to the fullest!
Another disadvantage of TrustedHousesitters is that, if you are travelling for an extended period of time, it can be difficult to align multiple sits, which means you are often left with a few days in between. Some homeowners may allow you to arrive early or leave late but I usually just wild camp (the free option) or stay in Airbnbs until my next sit begins.
Finally, whilst there are more sits than you can count across the UK and the US, some countries are lacking house-sitting opportunities. For example, I struggled to find anywhere in the Balkan countries (including Serbia, Croatia, Greece and Montenegro) and Asia is pretty sparse. I hope this will change as TrustedHousesitters continues to grow.
Snapshots of some of the walks I took during my sits. Not only did I get to view some incredible scenery, but it’s also kept me pretty fit 😅
How to create a winning profile
Here are some tips to make your profile stand out from the crowd and attract potential homeowners:
1. Choose an engaging profile picture
Your profile picture is the first thing that homeowners and pet parents will see, so make sure it’s a good one! Choose a picture that shows off your personality and love for animals, whether it’s a photo of you snuggling with your own companions or playing with someone else’s.
2. Highlight your experience
Homeowners want to know that their pets and homes are in good hands, so make sure to highlight any relevant experience you have. This could include pet-sitting, house-sitting or even volunteering at an animal shelter.
3. Be descriptive
When filling out your profile, be as descriptive as possible about your skills and abilities. For example, instead of simply saying you love animals, talk about your experience caring for different types of pets and any special needs you’re comfortable handling.
Also, I recommend including any dietary requirements and beliefs that you have, since homeowners will often leave gifts or cook dinner for when sitters first arrive. I’ve personally put that I’m a vegan in my headline and even this hasn’t been enough to prevent a gifted cheese hamper (which, fortunately, didn’t expire until after the family were due to return, so at least it didn’t go to waste).
If you’re vegan, you may also wish to include which services you’re happy to provide. For example, whilst I am vegan, I am okay with handling animal-derived cat food (I’ve stated this on my profile).
4. Showcase your personality
Homeowners are not just looking for someone who can take care of their pets, they’re also looking for someone trustworthy and easy to get along with. Make sure to showcase your personality in your profile!
5. Get references
Having references from previous homeowners or pet owners can go a long way in building your credibility as a sitter. Make sure to ask for references and include them in your profile.
Obviously, you’ll not have any references through the TrustedHousesitters platform when you’re just starting out. Not to worry though, because the platform allows you to gather external references. When selecting individuals to provide these references, it’s best to choose people who know you well and will speak highly of you. If possible, try to seek references that are relevant to pet and/or house-sitting.
6. Link to Airbnb and LinkedIn
TrustedHousesitters allows you to add links to your Airbnb and your LinkedIn profiles, which can help potential homeowners and pet parents to trust you by checking your authenticity.
Whilst the platform vets everyone, this is an extra layer of comfort for some people, particularly if you don’t have any official TrustedHousesitters reviews yet.
7. Keep your availability up-to-date
Whilst you can search for opportunities yourself, homeowners sometimes seek you out and invite you to sits, so make sure to keep your availability up-to-date on your profile. This will help you get matched with more opportunities that fit your schedule.
How to get good reviews
Getting good reviews on TrustedHousesitters is important because they can increase your chances of getting chosen for future house-sitting assignments. Here are some tips to help you get those great reviews:
1. Be responsible and reliable
Homeowners want to know that their pets and homes are in good hands, so make sure to be responsible and reliable during your stay.
Follow any specific instructions you may have and always do what’s required of you! This includes keeping the home clean and tidy and following any special instructions or routines for the pets.
2. Be communicative
Communication is key to a successful house sit, so make sure to keep in touch with the homeowner throughout your stay. I generally provide updates every other day or so but sometimes the homeowner will want to hear from you less or more.
I try to be respectful of their wishes but will always discuss expectations before agreeing to do the sit. This ensures that both parties are comfortable with the communication arrangements.
Communication works both ways as well, so make sure you read previous reviews from sitters before applying to check for any red flags. You’ll want to be able to have questions or concerns addressed quickly and easily, just in case anything arises during your sit.
4. Go above and beyond
Going the extra mile can make all the difference when it comes to getting good reviews. This could mean taking care of small tasks like watering plants or going out of your way to make sure the pets are happy and comfortable (extra play time!)
Some sitters even leave gifts for their homeowners; anything from a baked vegan cheesecake to a sketch of their furry friend can put a smile on their faces.
5. Leave the home in great condition
I always do a major clean of the house before leaving and will do my best to get everything spotless for the homeowner’s return. It leaves a great impression and shows that I respect their space.
If I get time, I’ll even wash my bedding and put fresh sheets on. I know how tired I can be after coming back from a holiday and this little token of appreciation removes one onerous chore from their list of things to do on their return to reality.
The animals I care for often end up supporting my digital nomad lifestyle by lending a paw or two (or four) 🐾
STAYING SAFE ON TRUSTED HOUSESITTERS
Travel will always come with risks, particularly when you are staying in a stranger’s home. But, like Airbnb and Couchsurfing, there are ways to mitigate those risks.
So far, I have only had one unpleasant and risky experience using Trusted Housesitters (I’ll tell you more below). But this was partly my mistake and I have learnt from it (as well as through my experience on Couchsurfing) and I now take all of the following precautions:
1. Read homeowner profiles carefully
Before accepting a house-sitting assignment, make sure to read the homeowner’s profile carefully, including reviews from previous sitters. This will give you a good idea of their expectations and requirements, as well as any potential red flags to look out for.
Whilst it’s true that not everyone will have reviews when starting out, this doesn’t necessarily mean that you should avoid them – we all have to start somewhere! In these situations, it’s important to use your own judgement and common sense. You can ask to video chat or even meet up with the homeowner before committing to a house-sitting arrangement. This can help you get a better sense of their reliability and whether or not they’re a good fit for your needs. Trust your instincts and take the time to get to know potential homeowners before making a final decision.
2. Get to know the pets
It’s important to get to know the animals you’ll be caring for before you arrive. Here’s why:
Once, when I was new to TrustedHousesitters, I agreed to look after a young couple’s dog without knowing much about her. I was living in Newcastle at the time and was keen to get a local sit under my belt before I went travelling again. During the initial video chat with the humans, we agreed that I should come to their house to meet the dog in advance of the sit.
When I arrived at the house, I quickly realised that the dog had behavioural issues and the humans hadn’t informed me. The situation was dangerous and could have ended badly, but fortunately, I was able to get out of there (badly shaken but body still intact) and cancel the sit. The issue was escalated to the TrustedHousesitters platform and their profile was removed. But clearly, it would have been much safer if this situation could have been avoided in the first place.
Looking back, there were definite red flags during our initial video chat. Since then, I’ve learned to ask more questions about the pet’s personality, how they react to new people and environments and if they’ve had any negative experiences with sitters in the past. Even if the humans aren’t entirely honest, you can judge their reactions and gauge whether or not they are emitting any information.
Remember, it’s always better to be over-prepared and err on the side of caution, especially when it comes to your safety.
3. Take precautions and maintain communication
Before you start the sit, make sure to share your location and contact information with a trusted friend or family member. Let them know the address of the home you’ll be sitting at and the dates you’ll be there and then check in regularly, so they know you’re safe!
Also, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Trusted Housesitters support team if you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe during a sit.
Oh, the adventures I’ve been on!
My review of the TrustedHousesitters app
The app provides easy access to a wide range of house-sitting opportunities that you can easily browse and apply for at any time, no matter where you are.
My main reason for using the app is that you can receive real-time notifications for new house-sitting assignments that match your preferences (by setting up saved searches), ensuring you don’t miss out on any opportunities.
The app also features a built-in mapping function that makes it easy to navigate to the house-sitting location and get directions. Plus, communication with homeowners is quick and easy, so you can get any questions or concerns addressed promptly.
However, whilst the TrustedHousesitters app is convenient and user-friendly, I’ve found it to be annoyingly glitchy and slow to load. I often have to use the web browser on my laptop to read messages from homeowners that don’t load on my app.
Nonetheless, the app is a great way to stay connected and informed on-the-go!
Vegan Sisters verdict
TrustedHousesitters has opened my eyes to a new way of travelling and I’ve made some incredible memories during my sits.
I love that you can stay in unique homes (for free) across the world and create amazing bonds with animals along the way. Staying in someone’s home gives you a fresh perspective of a destination and will likely lead to some extraordinary experiences.
It’s not without its flaws, however, and there is always the possibility of encountering difficult animals or homeowners.
Overall, though, if you’re willing to take on those risks and are passionate about animals and travel, TrustedHousesitters is definitely worth considering.