A friend last year told me about this house sitting website which sounded too good to be true. For $80 a year you can house sit as many times as you like all over the world! It's called Trusted House Sitters and this is my review.
My friend Mandy travels the world while working in tech and keeps her costs down by house sitting for people so they don't have to put their pets in kennels or catteries. Mandy was the person who told me about Trusted House Sitters.
This is great because it saves the hosts and sitters a lot of money and the pets don't have to leave their nice home. My pets I had as a child always went frantic when they were taken to kennels ☹️. The website also makes a nice income I'm sure so it's a win-win-win situation!
How does Trusted House Sitters work?
Basically the website looks a bit like Airbnb. You can filter results by location and the types of pets you want to look after. There are occasionally house sits with no pets but these are extremely rare.
There are lots of house sits available and they show info about the accommodation, the pets and what they want you to do while they are away e.g walk the dogs twice a day, water the plants etc.
You then send the hosts a message asking to stay, saying how much you like pets etc. Some locations like New York and London are extremely popular so it can be hard to get a reply. I think as well since I first wrote this article in 2019 the site has become more popular so there is more competition for house sits.
If the host likes your messages they will reply and might ask you questions about your experience with pets or why you want to visit etc. Then if they like your answers they will accept you as a guest and close the booking to other people. Then you just have to show up on the day at the time you've agreed with them.
Is Trusted House Sitters legit?
My friends thought the site seemed scammy but I reasoned in my head that I was only travelling from the UK to Germany so if there was a problem I could always get a cheap flight back. My hosts were a really nice couple and I had no problems. I guess it's a little like Airbnb - maybe one in a million hosts are dodgy but mostly you won't have a problem. It's your risk of course.
It is competitive to get a house sit and I applied for 10 places before being accepted for this one. I had a chat with the hosts over Skype so they could check I was who I said I was. If you are someone who works from home usually I'd definitely emphasise that in your email to hosts.
For my part, I checked out their street before hand and made sure it was in a safe area. I also rationalised that as they both work for a car manufacturer they are probably living in a nice apartment and area.
Why I signed up
In October I made almost $1,693 so I chose to invest $80 of that and buy an annual membership with Trusted House Sitters - you get 25% off with this link. My friend Soosh signed up and found someone to house sit and look after his cat within a day of joining. (I get two months of free membership if you use that link.)
Christmas and New Year in Berlin
I fancied going abroad for New Year and I found lots of people advertising sits over Christmas as well. If you don't mind spending one day of the year in a new city then I think it's worth it. Personally, I've spent Christmas abroad on my own before so it wasn't a huge deal when making my decision and I figured the rest of the trip would make it worth it.
The apartment I'm staying at in Berlin is really comfortable! There is a large lounge, a double bedroom and a nice desk to work on in the kitchen. I met the hosts Jono and Dan on Monday night and they were both really lovely! They even made me dinner. ❤️
My tasks as a house sitter
My main task is really just looking after their cat. I'd say house sitting is definitely a good option for developers or entrepreneurs that use a laptop a lot and like animals. I can stay in and play with the cat in the mornings, for instance. The cat is adorable and easy to look after.
Mandy advised me to choose sits with cats over dogs as there is far less maintenance. Also, walking a dog a couple of times a day in winter when it's cold doesn't seem all that fun.
What I did in Berlin
Their apartment is about 30 minutes from the centre of Berlin by subway. Jono very kindly gave me his monthly travel card which expires in a week's time so I will be doing lots of journeys to far flung places like Potsdam while I can use that pass. I've also got his gym pass so I'm going to do my best job of sneaking in and using that as well. I must remember not to wear my personalised running t shirt. 😂
I'm spending the three weeks in Berlin building up sales for my websites, No CS Degree so it's not a holiday. Although, I'm obviously wanting to check out Berlin lots as well. It's sort of half and half! On my way to pitch Soundcloud listings on my job board today, I walked past a section of the Berlin Wall. It's a really moving piece of history and I'm really glad they kept it as a reminder of the dangerous reality of totalitarianism.
I think the house sit is a really good deal considering I've got three weeks accomodation in one of the most desirable cities in Europe for the price of one night's Airbnb here. If you don't mind feeding a cat and cleaning up its poo, I'd recommend giving Trusted House Sitters a try!