Owning a pet makes things more complicated when you want to travel.
When you want to plan a trip, there are many different things to think about… Where do you want to go? When you want to go? Are you going to stay at a hotel or airbnb? What activities and tours should you book in advance? The list goes on and on.
Housesitting can be a great option for ensuring that not only your pets but also your home is looked after while you’re away.
Consider your options…
- Pets can stay with friends or family
- Recruit a friend to come by the house to check in on things
- Take your pets with you
- Check your pets into a kennel for the duration of your trip
- Get a free housesitter to care for everything
Having friends and family around to help out is great. But not everyone has this luxury. This is especially true if you’re an expat living in a foreign country.
While your friends and family may live in the area but they are often busy with their own work and families and may not be in a position to offer assistance.
Sometimes it’s possible to bring your pets with you on your trip but hotels and airbnb rentals can be very strict. Not to mention the hefty damage deposits you’ll potentially have to front in order to bring your furry companion along.
Kennelling your pets is an option but the daily rates can add up quickly – making your vacation investment that much more.
Which is why it’s a no brainer to arrange a housesitter!
If you’re still on the fence about the idea, consider these 7 reasons why you need a housesitter.
1. Less Stressful for Pets
On a few of my housesits over the last 18 months, I’ve cared for pets that get overly anxious when their owner leaves. You’ve probably seen it before, it starts to affect them as soon as they see your open luggage sprawled out on the bed.
If it’s stressful enough when you leave, imagine how it feels for them when they are dropped off at a kennel. If only you could tell them that you’ll be back to pick them up in a few weeks.
Unfortunately, they have no idea you’re coming back. All they know is, you’re gone and they’re stuck in strange place with a bunch of other animals.
Pets would much rather stay at home where they are comfortable. That’s where they have their favourite bed, blankets and toys. Most importantly they can keep their routines.
The beauty of housesitting is that the sitter will stay with your pets in your home, making sure they are comfortable and stress-free while you’re away on vacation.
2. Reduce Expenses
Assuming you find a great kennel where the pets are treated very well with lots of exercise and attention, you also have to think about the costs.
You’ve invested a lot of money on your trip.
How much have you already spent on flights, hotels, tours and activities. Plus while you’re on your trip you’ll be spending money on taxi’s, fancy dinners and souvenirs.
The last thing you want is to spend your hard earned money on kennelling.
Depending on where you live, a good kennel may cost you more than $500 for a two week vacation.
That’s a lot of extra expenses.
Luckily, a housesitter is free!
The large majority of housesitters do not charge for staying to take care of your home and pet. Instead, they only ask to stay in your home rent free. A win-win for everyone.
3. Home security
Leaving your home empty for extended periods of time can leave your home open to theft.
Thieves are always on the lookout for empty homes. If you leave your home unattended you’re more susceptible to break-ins.
Some obvious signs that nobody is home is mail and newspapers piling up at your front door, the lights are always off and the grass is uncut.
Having a housesitter staying at the house eliminates these signs. They will show movement in the house, take in the mail and keep the grass and yard maintained.
They will make it obvious to would be thieves that this home is occupied.
4. General Property Upkeep
While caring for a home in Yalapa, Mexico I was taking care of a outdoor cat named Misha.
She was a super easygoing cat and didn’t require too much work since she spent most of her time sleeping or wandering through the mountain side property. I only needed to feed and give her attention when she decided to come around.
While the pet care for this housesit was relatively easy, there was a lot of upkeep needed for the property.
Before the rain came, I needed spend about an hour a day watering the extensive plants and gardens. It was a battle against the heat of the Mexican sun and it was my job to make sure the plants didn’t die since this property was used for guests at other times of the year.
A few weeks into the housesit, it changed to the rainy season which required a totally different type of care. Torrential rain caused havoc to the sloping garden beds. The new thatched palm roof had a few leaks.
Had this property gone unattended for those months while I was there, there would have been a lot of damage for the homeowner to come back to.
You may not have a property to this extent, but even the smallest homes and garden need love and care.
5. Avoiding Major Damage
In the housesitting community Facebook groups, many house sitters share their stories of freak accidents that happen while their on an assignment.
During one winter housesit, a frozen water pipe burst. What could have been a fully flooded basement was instead quickly fixed by the housesitter turning off the water and calling a plumber.
In the rainy season, a large tree branch fell onto a house and broke a window. Without the houseitter there to get the damaged fixed, the house would have spent weeks with heavy rain pouring into the house ruining furniture, walls, floors and causing a major mold situation.
Some housesitters even provide their services during the transition into the hurricane season. They board the windows, drain the pool, and a host of other tasks needed to prep for the worst.
While these aren’t the norm, it’s always great to have a house sitter there to take care of any situation that arises.
A housesitter could be one thing that saves your property from the worst happening.
6. Rural Homes & Outdoor Animals
When we think about pets and housesitting we instinctively think about cats and dogs.
In the beginning of my housesitting journey, I was surprised to learn about all of the rural homes, farms and families that need support.
They needed help with livestock, animals, horses, goats, llamas and more.
I’ve also met a large number of people who run local animal rescues. For example, my new friend, Dana, at the Yelapa Animal Project [https://www.facebook.com/YelapaAngelNetwork] not only cares for cats and dogs but also helps with horses, iguanas and even a squirrel now and then.
Housesitters are able to come in and help with the animals to give her a bit of a rest.
Just because you have a herd of alpacas doesn’t mean you can’t sneak away for an extended vacation.
7. Insurance Coverage
Some insurance companies require someone to be living in the home for the insurance claim to be valid. I’ve even heard of some companies voiding claims when the home has been unoccupied for more than a few days.
A housesitter will help maintain your occupancy status as a qualifying insurance claim.
My suggestion in regards to insurance is to simply check with your current provider and check if your policy dictates a maximum amount of time your property can be left unoccupied.
Bonus #8 – More Travel Freedom
Many of the homeowners I’ve chatted with say House Sitters have really changed their lives.
They feel like they have so much more freedom to travel and take trips whenever they feel the urge.
They love their pets and wouldn’t want to live without them. But having this extra flexibility changes everything.
With your new found freedom in the community of housesitting, you will be able to travel and explore more.
Get out there and take that vacation you’ve been dreaming about!
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