Housecarers Review: Can You Really Travel And Stay For Free?
We all know that travelling does cost a fair bit, and the 2 main culprits are usually airfares and accommodation.
It’s not uncommon to see 3 star hotels or apartments charging around $100 and up for a night, sometimes leaving you to scratch your head and wonder what value it gives you.
Free bottled water? Free breakfast that comes with bread, butter, cereal and milk? And maybe amazing views into the building in the next block?
As you consider your options, you soon develop a nightmare as the cost piles up.
Let’s do the math for a minute.
$100 per night, 10 nights vacation, and that’s a thousand bucks taken off from your travel kitty.
Imagine what you could do if you saved that money:
- 2 Helicopter rides over Grand Canyon
- 2 DJI Mavic Mini drones
- 3 rounds of golf at St Andrews Old Course
- 8 bungee jumps
- 333 meals at the cheapest Michelin Star restaurant in the world
- 333 pints of beer in Prague
When you break it down like this, the amount is quite staggering isn’t it? Well, it does not have to be that way all the time, as this Housecarers review will show you how to solve this problem.
After reading this article, you will be the guru of travelling and staying for free!
Let’s Zip Up and House Sit!
*all prices in USD unless otherwise stated
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What is house sitting and who needs it?
Before we look at what Housecarers does, let’s talk about housesitting for a moment.
Have you had that neighbour or relative that asked you to look after their homes when they went on vacation? Or maybe you have ever searched for someone to house sit your home while you were away? Or it could be a case where you needed someone to look after your pets while you travel?
Whichever scenario applies to you, the fact is that it could be somewhat tricky to get help in such cases, especially if you were travelling for an extended period of time. I mean, Aunt Polly would be willing to come in for an hour a day for 3 days, but for 2 weeks?
Good luck with that!
And many pet owners are quite unwilling to place their pets in a pet hotel, where they might not be as comfortable as they would if they were in their own homes. Not only that, some pet owners might not trust pet hotels to care 100% for the welfare of their furry friends, hence a pet hotel would be a no-no.
What is Housecarers?
Housecarers steps in to solve this problem for home owners.
In a nutshell, Housecarers is a platform that matches home owners and housesitters/petsitters. They are also one of the largest, most reputable, as well as being the oldest platform of its kind.
Home owners are searching for reliable people to look after their homes and care for their pets while they are away on vacation. They post their requirements on the platform, and potential housesitters like yourself can apply to the “job”. In return, you will receive free accommodation for the duration of the housesit.
Besides getting free accommodation while you travel, this is an amazing opportunity to stay in a real local’s residence, and gives you an authentic glimpse into the way of lives for them.
On top of that, many of the listings are searching for people who loves pets too, as they need to be taken care of while their owners are away. If you are a pet lover, housesitting with Housecarers is really perfect for you!
Why do people let out their homes for free?
There are many reasons why homeowners choose to use Housecarers to find housesitters. Let’s dive deeper into these reasons.
1. Potentially high costs involved. A drop in visit with very basic chores will cost homeowners $25 and up, while overnight stays will cost even more. Imagine this cost added up over a 2 week break.
2. A home owner might be able to find a family member or a friend to help out, but it can be difficult to coordinate the schedules of these people, particularly if they were on vacation. After all, who doesn’t want to have a stress free holiday?
3. Many pet owners do not want to use a pet hotel. The reality is that it is difficult to bring a pet along for a vacation, but at the same time, pet owners do not want to keep their pets in a kennel or pet hotel, where they have to be exposed to a new strange environment. This puts unnecessary stress on the animals, not to mention a whole lot of extra cost for the owner.
4. Safety. If you have ever been on a long vacation, you would know that it can get quite stressful thinking about the safety of your home. First, it will be empty, which attracts the attentions of burglars. Second, your mail starts to pile up, setting off another signal for intruders to commit crime. Third, there isn’t someone to perform some basic chores such as dusting, clearing the leaves, or even the simple act of ventilating the home.
For these reasons, Housecarers makes perfect sense for home owners to let out their place to you, the potential housesitter, for free in exchange for some really basic duties. It is a win-win situation for both of you!
Which countries can you find free accommodation?
Housecarers has been operating since 2000, and is present in several countries. However, the concept of housesitting is somewhat more popular in Western countries, so you will likely find more listings in places across Australia, Europe and the USA.
There are opportunities in other countries too, so do make use of the search filter to check out what’s available.
Read more: List of 21 Free Things to do in any City!
Who can apply to join Housecarers?
Are you interested to become a housesitter now? How do you apply?
As long as you are not in the business of housesitting and do not asks for renumeration for housesitting, you can join the platform!
From what we can see, there are lots of happy housesitters on the platform and many have in fact become long term housesitters as they travel the world. These groups are usually retirees.
We need to stress here again: You will not be paid as a housesitter! The only “payment” you will receive is free accommodation.
So are you qualified? If you are, head over to Housecarers.com to register a profile!
How to qualify and what is expected of you
Once you have signed up, you can apply to housesit to any of the listings.
Homeowners will set their expectations in their ads, so be sure to read carefully about the requirements.
Common requirements we see are:
- feeding their pet dog/cat/gecko/fish once or twice a day
- walking their pet
- lawn maintenance, cleaning the pool
- basic cleaning of the house, just like you would in your own home
You can actually view listings that have been fulfilled to have a better idea of what to expect. Just scroll to the bottom of the page and click on Historical Housesits filled.
It is also important to point out that generally, you should not expect to get other items such as food or salary. As it is stated pretty clearly, you should expect only free lodging.
How much does it cost?
Joining Housecarers as both a housesitter or home owners free of charge.
As a homeowner, you get to put up listings and communicate with members for free.
As a housesitter, you can select either a free membership, or upgrade for $50 per annum to a Full membership.
Read on to find out the differences.
What do you get in the free membership?
As a free member, you can get get updates of new housesitting opportunities right in your email.
You will also be able to browse and search for housesitting opportunities at your own time.
After creating your profile, it will be displayed to the community, and this way, homeowners can find you and offer your housesitting opportunities too.
Take note that you will only be able to view a summary of the message only. To view the full message, you will need a Full membership.
What do you get in the Full membership?
With a Full membership, you now have the freedom to communicate with homeowners through the Housecarers messaging system. This is the recommended way to talk to homeowners as it provides a secure and private manner to exchange messages.
Alternatively, you can also display your direct contact number for the homeowner to contact you.
You will have a private reference library, in which homeowners can read more about your background and housesitting experiences.
Add up to 14 photos to your profile, which gives you a significant advantage as profiles with photos get clicked on more often. It also builds a level of trust with the homeowners, allowing them to know who they are dealing with.
You will get a housesitting calendar that displays your availability, and also your past housesits.
Potentially be a featured housesitter. This is random and rotates based on location.
Show off badges you have earned, such as verified mobile number, passport ID. This feature is kind of similar to that of Airbnb, and in our opinion really important as it gives the homeowner a peace of mind in offering you the housesitting opportunity.
Examples of some Housesits
Some of the listings we found on the housecarers site were pretty amazing. The homes of these members were really beautiful, with some having ocean views, or close to nature, and best of all, most had cute pets to keep us company while on vacation!
We even came across one that offered us the use of their car! Just think about how much convenience that brings and the amount of savings you will have.
Look at the first listing here in Buderim Australia. It is a suburb that is located very close to Sunshine Coast, a popular holiday destination. Imagine you snag a housesitting gig here, do you have any idea how much you can possibly save?
A night in Sunshine Coast is roughly $120 per night, depending on the season. If you are staying near the beach, expect this rate to increase to $200. So conservatively speaking, you can save $840 in accommodation expenses if you are housesitting for this family.
Buderim is barely a 10 minutes drive to Sunshine Coast, so that’s a huge plus too!
Tips for new housesitters
Look, there won’t be a perfect match every single time you wish to travel, but there are some ways that can help you secure your first housesitting gig.
First off, sign up for an account at Housecarers, and be sure to fill up your profile in full. Ensure that you provide detailed information about yourself so that home owners will not have too many questions before contacting you.
Think about this. If you were a house owner and searching for a potential housesitter, would you click on a profile that has only a few information or click on someone who takes the time to include all the finer points?
Secondly, you can start browsing the listings available on Housecarers and take note of the places you might be travelling to. Start communication early with the homeowners (you will need the Full membership) to learn more about the requirement and get to know each other. This is important as you want to build trust with them. They are leaving their home to you, so they would want to know it’s in good hands.
Thirdly, as you receive regular notifications about new listings, you can plan your vacation around them. This is a good way to start planning your trip and secure free accommodation during your stay there. Be sure to add your availability into the calendar function so that homeowners know they can contact you. It will also be very useful if you can include references to your account. A trusted house sitter review goes a long way.
Fourth, if you secure a gig, get on a video call with the owners. This gives you a chance to have a “face-to-face” with them before getting there as well as have a quick look at the place you will be staying at. It is also much more personal with a video call and can potentially lead to a better review later on.
Fifth. Be as open as possible and ask the homeowners questions. You would want to cover all your bases, especially with their pets. Do they require any medication? Any special needs? Any activity to avoid? What if something bad happens, what do you do? These are just a few examples, so be sure to make a list to go through with your host.
Pros and Cons of Housecarers
- Reasonable membership fee of $50 per annum
- Secure site to connect with homeowners
- Oldest housesitting platform, with years of experience since 2000
- Quite a wide variety of housesitting opportunities at any one time
- Stay at a local home in a local neighbourhood
- Gorgeous homes to stay for free during your vacation
- Have lots of fun with pets, even some unique ones like llamas!
- Most of the listings are situated in Australia, Europe and USA, and could be in suburbs
- Site design is quite simple and looks outdated, but it works well
- Competition against other housesitters could be high, so you will definitely want to work on a nice profile
Alternatives to Housecarers: What is the best housesitting website?
Housesitting has become more and more popular over the years, thanks to its obvious benefits for both home owners and house sitters/petsitters. That means there are new entrants to the scene, and here is a quick look at the industry leaders besides Housecarers:
1. Trusted House Sitters; $119 per year; strong in Australia, Europe, USA
2. Nomador; €65 per year; mostly France
3. HouseSitMatch; £69; mostly UK and Australia
Housecarers review: Are you in?
As you can see, international house sitting is a great new way to travel, and if it’s something you have not tried before, why not start now?
Housecarers is a great place to start, and at $50, it is a great investment for any traveller.
So what do you think about housesitting abroad? Will you be trying it out? Share your thoughts with us down below!
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