My Experience with TrustedHousesitters


TLDR: TrustedHousesitters* costs £99-199 per year and is worth it for people who work from home or those (especially those who live in the UK) who can be flexible with their travel dates.

If you know me, you know I love to visit new places and you know I much prefer a long slow visit to a quick trip away. That’s not to say I don’t like those too, but for me there is something so enjoyable about settling into a place, getting to know the local shopkeepers, learning the bus schedule and getting into a daily routine in a fresh location. Of course, not everybody has the luxury to be able to do this. The first obstacle is work. One either needs to be able to work from home or string a whole bunch of vacation days together. Once that obstacle has been tackled, then there’s the issue of figuring out how to spend an extended period away without spending a fortune in hotel fees. Especially since the days of great deals on longterm Airbnb stays seem to be long over and this is

A long long time ago, back when I was working for a health insurance company (so almost a decade ago), I heard about this website called TrustedHousesitters* and it seemed too good to be true. I’ll start by saying that the name is a bit misleading, it’s definitely more petsitting than pure housesitting. The concept is that one person trades petsitting services for a place to stay. Despite hearing about it so long ago, I didn’t actually take the leap and try it until 2019. I finally decided to sign up and it is a paid service which at the time of this writing costs £99 per year for the lowest tier (pro-tip: you can change the currency settings and get a bit of extra savings that way depending on the exchange rate). However, you can sign up for a free account and browse listings to see if it is something that could work for you.

The majority of the listings seem to be in the UK, the US and Australia and listings in Europe only seem to crop up very rarely. You can search by date and duration of stay and if you see one you like, you can apply for the sit. This is the part that can be frustrating and in my experience, I’ve had about a 30 percent response rate a good proportion of those will be to tell you that they’ve already found somebody. The listing will tell you an approximation of how many people have already applied and I learned to not waste my time with anything that shows over 7 applicants because it is very unlikely that you’ll hear back. The same goes for listings that are quite old. However, with some perseverence, I was able to find my first petsit within about a week. Since I was looking to spend an extended period of time in the UK, I searched for and found one house sit that was two weeks long in Leeds and another for six weeks in Bath. For me, this was excellent because for the low price of £99, I had two months worth of lodging which probably would have cost at least £500 per month. Now that I live in the UK, I use the site as an opportunity to visit new places around England for bargain prices. Not to mention that I absolutely love dogs and especially cats but I’m not really ready to have one of my own. This gives me a chance to spend time with animals without quite so much commitment.

Generally speaking, the pet owners will have you come and stay the night before they leave so you can get to know the animals and learn about the house which is very helpful and I think probably slightly less stressful for the pets. When I first started doing these, I arranged everything over the site’s messenger but nowadays it’s common practice for the petowners to want to do a video interview. This is a good opportunity to ask questions about the needs of the pets, especially if you’ll be watching dogs. I watched one pair of dogs who had such an intense daily routine that it was like a second job. They needed two daily walks which is fairly standard but they also needed daily brusing, tooth brushing, evening ball play, puzzle feeder, outside fetch playing time. It was too much and I might have realized it beforehand if I had asked more questions.

Ultimately, I think as a petsitter who travels, you will get your money’s worth from the subscription fee especially if you are flexible with both work and your travel plans. Earlier this summer, I watched a lovely spaniel mix in the north of England where I have family. This two week stay alone was worth the £99. I got to visit my family members but I didn’t have to impose on any of them for a place to stay plus I was able to explore a new neighborhood and the house happened to have an amazing garden which was an incredible luxury for me since I live in an apartment.

*For full transparency, this link contains a referral with a 25% discount for whoever uses it and I also get two months free.