When we joined TrustedHousesitters in early 2018, we had no idea how far the house/pet sitting journey would take us. Thirty countries and dozens of furry friends later, I decided to share our favorite pet sitting stories that are inspiring, entertaining, and highly relatable to other sitters and travelers. Home Flexible: Stories from Life as a Nomadic Traveling House Sitter offers an authentic look into an unconventional lifestyle of adventure travel, pet shenanigans, and constantly expanded comfort zones.
While the book is not a guide to how to become a house sitter (we go into that more here), I do share many helpful insights of lessons learned along the way. If you would like a sneak peek into some of what I share in more detail in the book, here are some of our top tips for being a traveling pet sitter (all collected from our personal experiences, of course!):
1. Ask About the Pet’s Schedule & Other Commitments
You may not want to be woken up at 5 a.m. every morning by a pet who expects breakfast or spend hours tending to a farm every day. Even if you think you are completely flexible and up for anything, it’s still important to check with the homeowners on what tasks will need to be done while they are away to make sure you are physically able to take those on as well as willing.
2. Check the Cost & Logistics of Travel BEFORE Committing
Don’t ever assume it will be cheap to get to a destination just because it is close by or there are plenty of options available for transportation. Be sure to check how much it would cost you to get to a pet sit before committing, especially if you are on a tight budget. Don’t forget to consider any transportation to and from airports or train stations as well. The total cost to get there may be pricier than you think!
3. Beware of Local Wildlife & Other Dangers
When you come from an area that doesn’t have carnivores roaming the forests and venomous snakes hiding under rocks, it is easy to be a little naïve about your surroundings. It’s important to know if there is anything dangerous to be aware of where you will be staying and walking the dogs. This is something to ask the homeowners about as well just to be sure you have the information you need to keep you and the pets safe.
4. Check for Extreme Natural Events
Did you know earthquakes are a common occurrence in Greece? We didn’t … until the house was shaking. Before taking a sit, do a quick Google search to find out if you are going to be there during hurricane or tornado or fire season or if you will be at risk of any other natural disasters. It may not be a dealbreaker for you, but it is always smart to be mentally prepared for what you are getting into. Depending on the situation, you may even need some “just-in-case” emergency food, water, and equipment ready.
5. Don’t Forget to Live Like a Local!
One of the best perks of being a traveling pet sitter through TrustedHousesitters is getting to connect with the people you will be house sitting for and get their insights on the local area. Don’t miss the chance to go out and explore a new-to-you place; even a trip to the grocery store can create wonderful memories. Most homeowners will happily tell you their go-to places and insights – which you will likely not be able to find online! Many people we’ve pet sat for have even taken us out to their favorite restaurant or on a tour of the town. Becoming friends along the way is just a bonus!
Being open to having new experiences and making new friends creates so many wonderful opportunities for cherished travel memories! For our hilarious and heartfelt stories behind these tips, read Home Flexible: Stories from Life as a Nomadic Traveling House Sitter (available in ebook and print). Learn more here.