When we decided to sell our RV, we seriously considered getting an apartment in the Denver area again and basing our travels from there. The only thing that was honestly stopping us was that we were about to take a big ol’ loss on the sale of our RV. So, we wanted to have a cheap or free place to stay in order to recoup some of that. We happened to see a blog about a couple that was using travel pet sitting to visit new places and live as digital nomads.
Learning about traveling full-time through house and pet sitting at such a pivotal time felt like a sign from God. This was the answer we had been looking for. And the TrustedHousesitters website seemed to make pet sitting while traveling super easy!
Spoiler alert – travel pet sitting turned out to be a great fit for us. From Hawaii to New Zealand and even a winter visit to Iceland! It has been an amazing adventure.
See more resources and read our stories.
Even so, it seemed like it may be a little out of our comfort zones. So, we planned to try to find a cheap living situation and test out house sitting on weekends and for trips. We thought we had found a good gig running an AirBnB for someone. But when that fell through, we started applying to house sits like crazy. And we are so happy we had that cosmic push to just go for it.
Why Did We Decide to Pursue Travel Pet Sitting?
Our conversations around selling the RV were very much, “well, we’re starting over AGAIN; what do we want our life to look like?” There were a few things that we both felt strongly about that we knew – when included in our day-to-day life – vastly improved our happiness.
What we wanted to prioritize with traveling full-time as pet sitters:
- Travel and exploration. We want to visit new (and well-loved) destinations – and often.
- Time with animals. Although getting another pet isn’t right for us now, we still want to be around animals a lot because they just fill our souls with so much joy. We’ve always been animal lovers, and a home without one just feels empty.
- Some consistency. We want to live in a way that facilitates good habits. Moving around every day or two in the RV always made it hard to be productive with work or get on a good fitness routine.
- Provide value to others. It is important to us to do something that helps others. While we plan to volunteer and make donations to charities often, we wanted a more regular way to do good.
House and pet sitting is allowing us to live in a new (or favorite) destination for a few weeks at a time (or longer!). Plus, we have a sweet animal to care for and love on, all while giving the home/pet owners peace of mind while they travel.
It covers everything we wanted for our full-time travel lifestyle. And we had made those goals long before we even knew about this travel pet sitting option.
Booking our First Time House Sitting through TrustedHousesitters
Once we realized what a good fit house/pet sitting seemed for us, we made a profile on TrustedHousesitters. We loved that both the sitter and homeowner have to pay to use it and that we could submit to criminal background checks and identity checks. It felt professional and safe. Totally worth the extra cost for the anual fee!
The application process was also very easy. And seeing all of the hundreds of sits around the globe was very encouraging. But, would we actually get picked for any sits?
Yes, and it was easier than we thought. The first sit we booked was in Silverthorne, CO, for mid-May. We knew we wanted to go back to Colorado for the summer. So, we applied to anything we saw there. And when we received a quick positive response from this great couple with sweet pups and an amazing mountain home, we were shocked.
Although we were optimistic, only having one review from a friend (not someone on the site), we thought we would be at the bottom of someone’s list. But they loved our bio and thought we would be a great fit. Hmmm… maybe this would be easier than we thought.
Loving driving the Subie through Utah and Colorado for our sits!
Getting on a Travel Pet Sitting Roll
In a week, we had booked out about a month of our summer with furry friends all along Colorado’s front range. And by the beginning of May, we knew where we would be until August!
Maybe people could just tell we were doing this for the right reasons and actually looked forward to spending time with their pet – not just using them for free accommodation and an excuse to travel. But everyone we talked to was ecstatic to have us as their sitters.
We even had one guy see that we would be in Colorado and message us to ask us to sit for his sweet dog, Coral. And I’m sitting on his couch now in his beautiful home outside of Denver as I type this. With a precious ball-obsessed Golden sleeping close by in the sunlight.
Pet owners love that they can keep their pets in the comfort of their own home instead of having to board them or just have dog walkers swing by for short drop-in visits. It really is a good idea for the best care of pets! Plus, they get home care also.
What We Think So Far About TrustedHousesitters
After only two house sits under our belt through TrustedHousesitters (Use Promo Code TRAILING15 for 15% off your membership), we are far from pros at this. However, we have nothing but rave reviews so far. It is amazing for all the reasons we hoped for and so much more.
Our very first sit was in Salt Lake City, Utah, for a couple that was going to Europe for two weeks and needed a loving cat sitter to care for their silly cat, Hooch. Day one confirmed this was the right choice for us.
When that sweet boy snuggled up to us on the couch, every ounce of my being knew we had done the right thing. And when I sent his mom a message with the photo, and she replied with so much excitement and relief, it really solidified it.
Not only were we receiving so much love from this adorable pet, but we were also giving his parents the gift of peace of mind.
Travelers are our people, and being able to help them out feels so very good. (We’ll likely keep in touch with most people we sit for because we get along so well and may even become good friends!) Plus, sitting saves us a ton of money by not paying for lodging, and we are getting to explore a beautiful area. Win-win-win (for us, the owner, and pet!)
It’s very exciting that we never know where our next trip for pet sitting will lead. Being international house sitters is a dream – and now a very achievable one. (Fast forward to read about our time pet sitting abroad).
We also love that there is no money exchanged. So, both sides are just very appreciative. Both couples we’ve sat for have gone above and beyond to make us comfortable. And we reciprocate that thoughtfulness upon their return because we’re thankful they chose us.
Tips for New House and Pet Sitters
Here are our best tips for getting started with pet sitting through TrustedHousesitters or other online platform:
- When applying to pet sits, consider the type of pet and the commitment they will need from you. Are you okay waking up every morning to tend to the animal residents of a farm?
- Can you handle an emergency with a large dog? If you aren’t very strong, small animals may be the best fit. If you aren’t comfortable administering medication, maybe a pet with special needs isn’t the best pet sit option for you!
- If we want to get out and explore an area a lot, it makes the most sense to find a cat sit since cats don’t need as much attention and are okay alone for more time. (But, that’s not true for ALL cats, so always read the sit requirements before applying.)
- Take the responsibility very seriously and make sure to have a Zoom/Skype interview or phone call with the pet owners before locking in the sit to go over everything. You want to make sure you are the right fit to care for their beloved pets.
- Offer up as much personal information as you are comfortable with to put the home owner at ease. We share our social media, travel blog, and are always happy to answer questions.
- Make sure you are covered. TrustedHousesitters includes insurance that should cover property damage and other issues. But read up on what is included so you know what to expect if an issue arises! And never start a sit without having vet information, emergency contacts, and other critical information on hand.
- Remember offering in-home pet care is different than just stopping by to take a dog for a walk. Travel pet sitting is a unique opportunity, but don’t take it on if you aren’t also comfortable with being tasked with care of the house and being the go-to person for any emergencies that arise.
Overall, if you are a trustworthy pet lover who is responsible and comfortable taking care of people’s homes and pets, this is likely a great fit for you! If you want to test it out, start with short pet sits or pet sit for your friends’ pets. You definitely don’t have to be a professional pet sitter to take this on! Going the extra mile to create a positive experience really makes a huge difference also.
Final Thoughts on House & Pet Sitting through TrustedHousesitters
When our cat Sugar passed away, I didn’t just mourn the loss of her life. I mourned the loss of a part of my relationship with my husband that I truly cherished – our sense of family. Getting to see him kiss her on the head, or tell her how much he loves her, or all snuggle up together for “family snuggle time.” It broke my heart to think I’d never experience that again.
Then we met Hooch, and it didn’t take long for him to steal our hearts, get kisses on the head, get told how much we love him, and have some wonderful family snuggle time. And now there’s Coral, who hops in bed with us in the morning – even though we barely all fit. She licks us in the face, and we laugh like kids. Then we all go outside to walk or throw ball, with the biggest smiles.
These home owners think they are getting the best end of the deal with free pet care, but we know we are the ones truly benefiting. How much more wonderful life is with the love of an animal.
Although we aren’t in a place to make that life-long commitment to a pet again, we have limitless love to give and are so thankful to be able to have these sweet pets to open our hearts to.
But don’t get us wrong, the traveling part is pretty awesome as well. Did we mention we booked two months’ worth of pet sits in Hawaii for later this summer?
Want to learn more about house sitting? Read this follow-up article we put together with our top questions, and check out this complete guide to house sitting with TrustedHousesitters.
I found my way here after reading your article about life in an RV for a year.
You’ve sold me on TrustedHousesitters! I went over to take a look and we signed up as both an owner and sitter. Red Bird and I travel quite a bit and pay a bunch every time we have someone take care of our pet. This option will save us big time when we are away. We love other pets too, so if we are looking to travel somewhere it would be great to be a sitter as well. For free! Win-Win 🙂
Wonderful! I hope you love it as much as we do. It has been a game-changing find for us so far!
I am bookmarking your blog for the future if you are interested! We live in Monument Colorado with hiking out our back door and would like to contact you when we need a house sitter and care for our sweet Golden Retriever. Happy Travels! JoAnn
Hey JoAnn, Yes – please feel free to reach out when you need a sitter. 🙂
I have a question! I love the idea of house and pet sitting full time! I feel like stumbling on YOUR blog is a sign! 🙂
What are your plans for any “in between” time between sitting? Where will you or do you stay if you don’t have a permanent home? AirBNB? Friends?
Also, if you don’t get paid, are your travel expenses to the places deductible in any way? Or do you just chalk it up to the price of being cool? 🙂
Thanks for the info on this! I’m loving it!!
And I just realized I skipped over your “top questions we get asked about this” link. You can delete my comment if you like vs approving it for posting! I got my answers! 🙂
Thanks, Lainey! So glad these blog posts were helpful! Feel free to reach out if you have any other questions. 🙂 – Brooke
Hi. We ran into your site, as we live in Huatulco, Mexico and finding a pet sitter here has definitely been a challenge. This hasn’t been something that anyone has decided to monopolize on down here. Also we love our pets as most Americans do but unfortunately many Mexicans don’t see dogs in the same light that we do.
We have two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. Because of the above reason and their heart health, we’ve had reservations to get back into traveling.
Maybe we (and maybe our Canadien neighbors) could use your service one day.
Hope you have a great weekend!
I am 3 yrs away from retirement. I’m getting an RV. Are there sitting jobs available for RVing people. Cat person here and I have chickens. How can I get started.
Sometimes a homeowner will have room to park an RV, you would just have to check beforehand. Best of luck!