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House Sitting: Travel Cheap, Stay For Free

House Sitting, what a great way to travel and see Canada on a budget. This is an excellent alternative to backpacker places and hotels. Basically, you take care of someone’s property in exchange for free accommodation.

The only cost to you is the joining fee to one of the many house sitting sites online. The fee ranges anywhere from $25 to $150 per year.

Rather than following the tourist track, you will get to know locals and their lifestyle and live in places you may have never been able to afford otherwise. The house sitting duties often include looking after pets, maintaining a garden, doing some yard work and keeping the place tidy. If you opt for ranch sitting, then the duties extend to looking after horses and livestock.

I have never done house sitting but had ranch sitters looking after my ranch many times when I was away. So I definitely know what it is all about.

House sitting can become your way of travel. The money you save on accommodation is significant. On top of that, you get to enjoy many amazing travel experiences which would have never been possible otherwise.

Is House Sitting For You?

House sitting might not be a good fit if you feel rushed and only have a limited time available and you want to see as much of the country as possible. On the other hand, if you are not in a rush and prefer to travel cheap and longer, house sitting could be an excellent choice for you. Instead of just travelling miles, you stay put for a while and make yourself useful.

Jobs range from just a weekend to a few months. This means that even if you are a short time traveller, you still can fit the experience into your travel itinerary. Lots of different house sitting jobs are available.

This is also a good option for families, needing a bigger place to stay. It gives you the opportunity to travel on a low budget and the whole family can get involved with the house sitting tasks and get to know a new community. It is a give and take deal. You get a free place to stay and the homeowner gets a valuable service in return.

Who Qualifies For House Sitting

Being independent with some experience under the belt is a good start.  Try house sitting for friends or family before you leave home to see whether this type of travel suits you. Having at least one good reference will give you a better chance of being accepted when you apply. References make it easier to convince a stranger in another country that you can be trusted and can do the job.

A house sitting job has to be taken seriously. In exchange for free accommodation, you are expected to take care of someone’s place and possessions, and maybe their furry animals.

House Sitting Websites

There are several good house sitting websites out there to match homeowners with house sitters. All of them require a membership fee. Now you will probably ask which site is the best. If the best is chosen by the success rate, then the best house sitting site has to be TrustedHousesitters. Check out the others as well and see what you think.

Thankfully there are so many websites to choose from.  One will become your favourite as soon as you secure your first assignment.


TrustedHousesitters.com is the world’s largest and fastest growing house and pet sitting website. The website has won many awards and offers the most choices for house sitters. When listening to the amazing stories told by travellers about their incredible TrustedHousesitters experiences, it doesn’t come as a surprise that the website is on top of the list. TrustedHousesitters is also my choice to sign up as a homeowner looking for ranch sitters.

TrustedHousesitters offers thousands of house sitting opportunities worldwide.

Membership fee: $96 Annual


This is a well-made website and offers a good number of house-sits.

The biggest draw for MindMyHouse is the cheap yearly membership. It’s one of the cheapest amongst the international sites.

Membership fee: $20 Annual


HouseCarers is another thriving site with a g cheap fee and high quantity of assignments. Still, with around 300 active assignments per month, they are quite a bit behind TrustedHousesitters who has a monthly total of 1000+ available sits.

Membership fee: $50 Annual


Nomador is the newest addition to the house sitting landscape and I love their website structure. It is easy to navigate and has an easy to use a search engine.

Membership fee: $89 Annual

Tips On How To Get Started

  • Write a great profile – First impressions count and a well-written profile can quickly move you to the top of the homeowner’s list of sitters applications to reply to.
  • Get these references – When sending reference requests, also include references from past employers and friends. Having more references will give you a better chance to get the house sitting job you applied for.
  • House sit and pet sit before you leave home – This is very important to get experience. House sit for friends or family, or find a house sitting job via house sitting sites and spend some spare weekends doing it.
  • Get a criminal record check – taking a stranger into your house is not easy for most homeowners. This is especially the case if the homeowner will be away for weeks, while a stranger lives in his house. If a house sitter has a criminal record check, the homeowner has at least one less worry on his mind.
  • Follow the unwritten house sitter etiquette – this includes common things like taking off your shoes in the hallway or cleaning the shower after each use. Follow the home owner’s guidelines.
  • Ask lots of questions – Ask the homeowner whether you are allowed to have guests and whether you can leave the property overnight. Is there a vehicle for you to use, do they have Internet? Ask for a contact number in case of an emergency. If you are looking after pets, ask for the veterinarian’s number.
  • Most important of all – Be the best House sitter you can be.

I hope this article gives you some insight into a new cheap way to travel and how to save on accommodation costs.

For other ways to travel cheap, check out the following articles:

Enjoyed this article? If you want to share some tips, please leave a comment below.

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Yrene Dee

Yrene lives in the Okanagan, British Columbia, Canada, and is the founder of BackcountryCanadaTravel.com. She was born in Switzerland, lived and worked on different continents and has travelled the world. Yes, that's me, an Entrepreneur, wilderness nut and animal lover who prefers off-the-beaten-track places. I write about things I love. Mostely.

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