Our recent Facebook Live chat with Angela Laws of TrustedHousesitters thoroughly opened our eyes to the benefits of house and pet sitting as a way to travel.
If you missed the chat, catch up here.
Angela left retirement at the age of 63 and joined TrustedHousesitters, which helps match pet and home owners with reliable sitters. Now, she travels the world as a full-time house and pet sitter. She’s so dedicated to it, she even sold her own home.
Angela is one of TrustedHousesitter's founding members, their social media manager and their most prolific house and pet sitter. What she doesn't know about sitting isn't worth knowing!
We picked her brains on how to make house and pet sitting work as an affordable way to travel. During the conversation, Angela revealed some of the benefits of house and pet sitting, from forming life-long friendships – with people and with animals! – to feeling more in control of your environment.
That’s not to say that house and pet sitting doesn’t have its drawbacks. If you like to spend all day exploring then sitting a dog that needs to be walked regularly could feel restrictive. But if you enjoy slow travel, house and pet sitting can help you foster a deeper connection to a place, especially if you’re drawn to longer-term sits.
5 ways house and pet sitting can help you travel the world.
1. Save costs on accommodation
One of the biggest dents to your travel budget comes from accommodation costs. When you house and pet sit, you don’t pay for where you stay. You can also spend less by cooking your own meals and spending evenings catching up on boxsets and that book you’ve been meaning to read. So the money you save can go on transport, eating out, tours with local guides or towards that big trip you’re planning.
2. Connect with the local community
Often, real homes tend to be in neighbourhoods or countryside away from the hustle and bustle of city centres and tourist hotspots. House and pet sitting is a great way to get off the beaten path. While you’re there, you can use Thelma & Louise’s meet-up tool to connect with local women who love to travel. Arrange a coffee, cocktails, dinner or even ask them to show you their favourite local places.
3. Make life-long friends
Angela has developed plenty of deep friendships thanks to her house and pet sitting.Just like finding a travel buddy, staying in someone’s home or opening your own home and pets to a sitter involves trust and communication. You might find you have a lot in common, such as a love of travel and animals. These are all the right ingredients for a long-lasting friendship.
4. Feel safer in your own environment
Angela says she feels at home as soon as she walks into a new house or pet sit. This is partly because sitters and hosts spend time getting to know each other by email, video and phone calls before the time of the sit. And in a world with COVID-19, staying in a home by yourself or with your travel buddy feels safer than staying in hotels, hostels and other accommodations with a high footfall.
5. Bond with a pet
If you ever feel lonely as a solo traveller, having a dog or a cat – or maybe even a horse, a llama or a pig, according to Angela! – to walk, care for and come home to can make all the difference. Dog walking is an excellent way to explore the local area and meet other dog owners, while cats curled up on the sofa can make an empty house feel warm and welcoming. This only works if you’re an animal lover, of course! If you don’t ‘get’ pets, house sitting might be better for you. And you can house and pet sit as couple, too.
If you found that useful, watch the recording of our Facebook Live about travelling through house and pet sitting.