2 Dogs, 1 Cat, and 3 Chickens
One strategy we decided to use to try and save money on our RTW life reset was to do some house and petsitting. After a bit of research, Rachel discovered TrustedHousesitters (http://www.trustedhousesitters.org/). We have done a good amount of house and pet sitting for people we know, but had never done so through a service like this.
The way TrustedHousesitters works is that individuals looking for a sitter create a profile with information about their location, pets, dates they need a sitter, etc., along with photos. Individuals looking to sit also set up a profile, describing who you are, your experience with animals, pet/housesitting experience, photos and/or video, etc. In some ways it feels like setting up an AirBnB account, all the way down to reviews that you give and receive once the sit is complete.
The cost is $119 USD for the year – well worth it!
Identifying Our First Sit
Once our profile was established, we searched potential sitting opportunities and found one in Melbourne that looked intriguing. A nice family was looking for someone to watch their home, along with their two dogs, one cat, and three chickens (or “chooks”, as they’re known in Australia), for 12 days while they were on holiday. The timing was just right…they needed someone at the exact time we were planning to finish our time in Australia.
Skyping Around the World
Through the TrustedHousesitters web site, we expressed our interest in doing the sit for them and suggested that we have a Skype call to see if we would be a good fit. They responded quickly and within no time we were Skyping with people on the other side of the world.
As is likely apparent by the fact that I’m writing this post, they liked us and we like them, and we agreed that we would watch their pets and home for them during the time that they were away.
The Skype call was a suggestion made to us by a couple who had used TrustedHousesitters before, and it was great advice. It let both sides ask questions, establish expectations, alleviate any concerns, and get to know one another (albeit on a very limited basis).
We were invited to arrive the day before our sit so that we could meet the pets, get to know the routines, and get to know the owners a bit more. It was a great idea. We went out to dinner and had a great time talking about travel, pets, things to do in the area, and much more. The next morning, they departed and it was us with our new animal friends for the next 11 nights.
So how did it go?
In some ways, it felt like staying at an AirBnB, particularly those where you are staying in someone’s home or apartment without them there. Considering that we had been doing this quite a lot for the previous two months, we felt comfortable being in the space in no time.
Spending the evening with the owners and pets was a brilliant idea and made the transition easy (for us and the pets). We were happily surprised with how easily and quickly the pets adapted to having us as their temporary family.
You Get Attached
We are huge animal lovers, having had pets for 17 years of our marriage. Our last pet passed away just a few years ago. What we did not expect was how quickly we became quite attached to our new animal friends. The dogs were our shadows and snuggled with us at every opportunity. The cat, who spent most of his time outdoors, came around every morning and evening for loving. Even the chickens greeted us in the backyard every time we went outside and wanted to be petted.
It also was nice being in a home-base for a period of time. Before the sit, we had been in five different beds the previous five nights. Settling in to a place where we could walk to the baker, butcher, and coffee shop was terrific. It also allowed us to rest, recover, and reflect on the previous six weeks of traveling around Australia…and knock out a bunch of blog posts!
Will we house/pet sit again?
As mentioned above, it was very nice having a home-base for a while. We also loved having the opportunity to get our “pet fix”. These pets were super sweet, adorable, and very easy to care for.
Financially, it was also a huge benefit for us. Australia is an expensive country as compared to most of the other countries we plan to visit. This sit was at the very end of our eight weeks in Australia; we leave from the housesit to the airport to fly to Vanuatu. We track our daily budget using an app called Trail Wallet (click here for our blog post on the app). It was amazing seeing how quickly our daily expenditure average dropped when we did not have to spend money on accommodation, could walk to everything or take public transportation, and had a full kitchen to prepare meals.
Just in housing alone, this sit saved us over $720 USD. Well worth the $119 USD TrustedHousesitters annual fee!
Again, these pets were very well-behaved and we stayed in touch with their owners throughout the time with updates and if we had any questions (gotta love WhatsApp!).
If you love animals and are looking for a budget-friendly way to stay in one location for a period of time, we would strongly recommend you take a look at TrustedHousesitters.
Do you have any thoughts to share about hitting the life reset button? Please post below or contact us directly!