- If you’re a pet person, you can stay for free the next time you travel.
- A service called TrustedHousesitters matches people who need someone to house- and pet-sit with travelers who need a place to stay.
- Other than an annual membership fee, the service is free for both parties.
Traveling is one of life’s great joys, and so is having a pet. I recently learned about an awesome service that combines some of the best parts of both.
TrustedHousesitters matches travelers looking for a place to stay — somewhere with more local character than a regular hotel — with pet owners who need someone to take care of their home and four-legged friend while they’re away.
Not only is the service a lot of fun, it’s a fantastic travel deal.
If you have a pet, and need someone to take care of him or her while you’re traveling, you can list an ad for a free house sitter who will take care of your pet while you’re away. If you’re a traveler looking for somewhere to stay, you can get free lodging in exchange for taking care of someone’s pet during your stay.
Each house-sit is free for both parties — there’s just an annual membership fee of £89.
The process is pretty straightforward. An owner posts a request for a house and pet-sit. The post includes information about their home, the area, and the pet, plus details like how often the pet needs to be walked, or other responsibilities, like watering houseplants.
Sitters set up a detailed profile when they sign up for an account. When they’re looking for somewhere to stay, they can search by location, and can apply to any relevant post.
Pet owners can view all of the applications, and can communicate with potential sitters before finalising anything — TrustedHousesitters says that lots of matches choose to video chat at least once or twice before committing. Owners and sitters can also meet in person when it’s time for the stay, just to make sure that everything is clear and a good match.
While a full background check isn’t required for either party, TrustedHousesitters recommends submitting for an optional check — if you do that, you’ll get a verified badge on your profile. It’s up to sitters and homeowners to decide whether or not to accept sitter applicants who are unverified — if you’re safety-conscious, it’s easy to only work with verified people.
Obviously, there are some potential risks, just like with any Airbnb or Uber-type sharing service, and there’s an assumption of good faith on both sides — as a sitter, you have to assume that the owner cares about the welfare of their pet and home and won’t leave you with a problematic cat or dog, and owners will need to trust that the sitter is genuine about their trip, experience, and ability to take care of the animal.
That said, TrustedHousesitters claims that it’s seen remarkably successful pairings since the service launched in Europe in 2011. Owners and sitters work well together and. Chief marketing officer Jess Stephens said “TrustedHousesitters works because no money changes hands between home owners and house sitters.
“Like the best relationships, it’s all done through trust and by ensuring sitters have verified profiles and great reviews.
“Because of this, real friendships have formed through the site, and we have also heard of marriages happening after people have met through their shared love of pets.”
The £89 annual membership also includes unlimited 24/7 access to a dedicated vet advice line, which can help if you have any issues.
If you’re looking to explore a new place, enjoy a real local atmosphere, and make a new furry friend, TrustedHousesitters might be perfect for you.
Read an interview with TrustedHousesitters founder Andy Peck