Free holiday accommodation: how pet sitting can save you a fortune

Updated on 04 April 2019

Enjoy free accommodation on your next holiday in the UK or abroad by taking up pet sitting.

What is pet sitting?

It's possible to enjoy completely free accommodation on your next holiday by taking up pet sitting.

The idea is simple. Homeowners in need of someone to look after their home and pets are matched with trustworthy travellers who get to stay at their home for free in return for looking after the place.

Along with saving on accommodation costs, there are also other benefits such as saving on the cost of eating out, local knowledge, and perhaps even the use of sporting or other equipment while you're there.

How do I advertise for a pet sitter to stay at my house?

If you are a homeowner you pay an annual fee to list your property on the website. This varies from site to site: on Trusted Housesitters it's £89.

You create a listing detailing your home and the pets you need someone to care for.

Would-be sitters then get in touch with you and you read their profiles and reviews from other homeowners in order to choose someone before talking or Skyping with them to see if they are the right fit.

Once you’re happy you arrange to meet them to discuss it all in person.

You need to check with your own home insurance to see if you are covered to have a sitter.

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How do I find a property to look after?

If you want to be a sitter, you will need to pay a monthly fee to sign up to a site.

You then create a profile and get your ID checked.

This works differently from site to site. On Trusted Housesitter, there are three levels of ID checks, ranging from simply providing your email address and one reference to a full criminal background check.

You decide what level of check to have, obviously the more in-depth check you have the more accommodation you are likely to be offered, but there are additional charges for the background checks.

Once your profile is up and running and you’ve been ID checked you can start applying for pet sitting jobs.

Before you know it you could be sunning yourself somewhere with a dog for company.

What are the risks?

There are lots of websites in this field, so make sure you use a recognised one. 

Going through an agency also gives you the security of having someone to speak to if things do go wrong, as if you arrange the whole thing on your own through a free website it’ll be much harder to sort out.

Insurance considerations

Practice varies from one agency to the next. Some sites will make sure each party is insured, which is covered by the membership costs both the homeowner and sitter pay.

Similarly, some home insurers will automatically cover both the house and sitter, especially if the sitter is unpaid, so this needs to be checked before the assignment takes place and if not the homeowner may need to take out landlord’s insurance.

If you’re not covered, although there isn't as much protection in place, there will still be an agreement form on most websites, which is signed by both parties.

Although this isn't legally binding, it will outline an understanding between both parties of what is expected from the assignment.

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