How to Get Rent-Free Accommodation by House Sitting

Learn how to get rent-free accommodation by house sitting around the world.

by Layla
Published: Last Updated on

I often write about house-sitting when I travel, and that’s because house sitting is a great way to get rent-free accommodation around the world.  It’s so easy to get started as a house sitter and anyone can do it.

House sitting opens up a world of opportunities to stay in amazing places you didn’t know about, or stay in accommodation you wouldn’t normally have the budget to stay in when you’re travelling.

You could end up staying in a Caribbean beachfront apartment, a secluded log cabin in the Colorado mountains, an Italian villa on the Amalfi Coast or a lakefront lodge in New Zealand. 

And you could stay in all of these places, rent-free.

Getting rent-free accommodation by house sitting in New Zealand

 

What is House Sitting?

House sitting is an exchange of services by mutual agreement, whereby a house sitter gets to stay in a property for free whilst the owner is away and the homeowner has their property, possessions and pets cared for by you in return.
Often the house sitter can use all the property facilities and sometimes has the use of a car too.

Homeowners don’t want to leave their dogs in expensive dog kennels or pay a dog walker to come to walk their pets every day, so getting a house sitter is a great solution for them.

It’s a trust-based, fair exchange arrangement where the house sitter gets to live in rent-free accommodation in exchange for carrying out the tasks involved in caring for a house and pets. 

House sitting usually involves tasks such as:

  • Feeding the pets
  • Walking the pets and providing play/enrichment
  • General maintenance and cleaning of the house
  • Garden care
  • Collecting mail, taking deliveries
  • Overseeing the security of the property and keeping things running as the owner would

Dog Walks on Mount Maunganui Beach

 

Who Can Do House Sitting?

Anyone can do house-sitting!

That’s the beauty of it, the only skills required to be a house sitter are the life skills most people have already picked up in their day-to-day lives.

House sitting is perfect for single travellers, digital nomads, freelancers, couples, retirees, and even entire families.

You could be:

  • A freelancer looking for somewhere secluded and inspiring to focus on work
  • A digital nomad or traveller using house sitting as a cheap way to travel a country
  • Part of a couple saving for your first home
  • An animal-loving retiree who loves to travel
  • A family who is looking to try out a different lifestyle in a new place

If you can look after a house and care for pets, then you can house-sit.  Say hello to your rent-free accommodation.

 

Can I Actually Get Rent-free Accommodation By House-sitting? 

YES, you can. There’s no catch here.

House sitting opens up some amazing opportunities to get rent-free accommodation around the world or even in your local area. You don’t always have to travel to house-sit, there are often house-sitting jobs very near to you, in your local town or city.

You could be pet sitting in a modern, stylish apartment in downtown Manhattan, New York City,  you could stay in a traditional French farmhouse in the South of France, be pet sitting in a poolside condo on the Gold Coast of Australia or be a dog walker in a beautiful Georgian townhouse in Central London.

During our many years of house sitting, we have been fortunate enough to stay in some beautiful houses, in some stunning locations.

Here are just a few of the house-sitting jobs and locations we’ve done around the world:

House sitting on the Gold Coast, Australia

The Gold Coast in Queensland is a haven for holidaymakers and most Australians flock here in peak holiday times, for the endless stretches of golden beaches and the cruisey beach lifestyle.

We have had many house-sitting jobs here, some a few minutes from the beach and others in houses that back onto the canals or lakes. 

Our favourite was for an anxious, rescue Greyhound in an apartment with a view of the ocean, in the popular Burleigh Heads area.

That view and the sweetest Greyhound, made this some of the greatest rent-free accommodation we’ve ever had.

 

House sitting in Sydney, Australia

We lived in Sydney for almost two years and spent nearly all of that time house-sitting all around the city.

Our house sitting jobs were in a range of different suburbs including, Greater Western Sydney, Lower North Shore, the eclectic Inner West, the Northern Beaches suburbs and inner city Sydney.

Some of our favourites were Mosman, Lane Cove, Leichhardt, Coogee and Darlinghurst.

From our experience, we found people in Sydney go on holiday a lot, so we were in house sits pretty much full-time. 

Rent-free accommodation for a month in Edgecliff, Sydney

 

House sitting in New Zealand 

We’ve done a lot of long-term house sitting in New Zealand, which translates to having had a LOT of rent-free accommodation whilst we’ve been in New Zealand. 

Like this one below, where we were staying in a beachy apartment in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand looking after an amazing English Bull Terrier-Greyhound cross dog.

This house-sit was just one road down from the beach and had a great backyard complete with palm trees and a hammock, a perfect location for beach hangs and a base for exploring the beach town of Mount Maunganui.

This is one of our regular house-sitting jobs that we do when we’re in New Zealand and also one of our favourites.

We also did lots more house-sitting around Auckland, Wellington and Tauranga.

Pet sitting this gorgeous girl in New Zealand

 


House sitting in Bangkok, Thailand 

A Thai condo in the popular Sukhumvit area of Bangkok, Thailand, looking after two fun-loving fox terrier dogs.

House sitting in Bangkok, Thailand

 


House sitting on Koh Lanta Island in Thailand 

House sitting in Thailand at a Yoga Bungalow retreat on the island of Koh Lanta on the Andaman coast of Thailand, taking care of a laid-back Labrador.

House sitting a yoga bungalow retreat on Koh Lanta island, Thailand

Dog beach walks on Koh Lanta island, in Thailand

 


House sitting in Perth, Western Australia 

House sitting in Australia at a Victorian, suburban townhouse in Perth, Western Australia, looking after an awesome and cuddly Groodle.

House sitting in Perth, Australia

 


House sitting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia 

House sitting in Malaysia at a stylish apartment with a great view of the KL skyline in Kuala Lumpur, taking care of a talkative, fluffy cat.

Our rent-free accommodation by house sitting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

house sitting trusted house sitters

House sitting in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

These are just a few of the many house sits we’ve completed, just imagine where you could go.

You could be spending your next Christmas on the beach and your New Year’s Eve in a vibrant city.  Or imagine spending Easter in the mountains or your summer holidays at a lakeside retreat.

 

The Benefits of House Sitting for Rent-Free Accommodation

I love being a pet sitter or house sitter abroad, it’s the ultimate travel indulgence for me. I get to travel to amazing countries, get rent-free accommodation around the world and stay in interesting houses.

And I also get to live a completely different lifestyle.

I can live in properties I normally wouldn’t be able to rent and I can try out beach life, mountain living or an inner-city lifestyle. It means I can go somewhere new and live like a local, explore local areas and experience the community and culture.

As a travelling freelancer, I do move quite often and being on the road all the time can take its toll. Sometimes it’s so good to stop moving for a while and have all the comforts of a house, plus pets to cuddle and hang out with.

And I always need somewhere quiet and well-equipped to work from home when I’ve got freelance articles to write or when I’m working on my websites. 

House sitting means I can have a quiet place to work in, free Wifi and usually free use of a coffee machine too!

Working from home in this gorgeous Gold Coast home.

 

How do I Start Getting Rent-free Accommodation by House Sitting?

You can get started right away, simply by joining a house-sitting website.

“Do I have to pay?”, I hear you ask.

Yes, most of the time, you will have to pay to join a house-sitting website and access their job listings. However, they only cost around $80 – $100 to join and that gets you an entire year’s membership. 

Sure, it’d be great if all online memberships were free. But sometimes to get something great, you have to invest a little.

Living rent-free by house-sitting has saved us THOUSANDS over the 7 years we’ve been doing it.

We had 4 months of house sitting jobs lined up when we were in New Zealand so that sign-up fee was a tiny amount in comparison to what we would’ve paid if we had to pay for 4 months of hotel or Airbnb accommodation in New Zealand.

Which by the way, would’ve cost around NZD 18,000. Yep – I KNOW.

We house-sat almost solidly for two years in Sydney — I’m not even going to attempt to add that amount of savings up!

In most popular cities around the world, you’ll pay around $100-$150 per night for a hotel. In beach resort locations, you’ll pay even more.

So after only two nights of house-sitting in a city or town, your membership will have already paid for itself! 

House sitting can end up saving you hundreds, even thousands of dollars in accommodation costs, depending on how long your trip is.

So we think house sitting is the smart thing to do if you want to see amazing places and get rent-free accommodation.

It’s a no-brainer really.

Summer House sitting in New Zealand

 

So, What are the Best House Sitting Websites to Join?

People often ask us what the best house sitting websites are for finding house-sitting jobs, as a simple Google search will show you there are loads of them out there.

We use a few but mostly we use the highly trusted and global website TrustedHousesitters. They are the #1 most trusted and popular site for House sitters and for Homeowners and we love using them.

Their website is user-friendly, and informative and has everything you need to find your next perfect house sit.  I sometimes browse this website for hours, looking at all the incredible places I could stay in!

When you join TrustedHousesitters as a House sitter, memberships include:

  • Unlimited access to all the available house sitting jobs around the world
  • Messaging services with Homeowners 
  • Access to the Trusted House Sitters app so you can browse on the go
  • House-sitting resources to build your profile
  • 24/7 online chat access to a vet assistance helpline

All you have to do is sign up to TrustedHousesitters, pay one payment and that gets you a whole year of house sitting membership. 

Basic Sitter membership is just $109 a year.

Then simply create your house sitter profile and you’re good to go.

TrustedHousesitters membership fees start at only $109 for a whole year.

 

The bottom line is, if you love to travel, you know house sitting will save you thousands and any membership fee is totally worth it.

Keep in mind, as a TrustedHousesitters member on the Standard Sitter plan, you can:

  • Browse hundreds of house sits all over the world anytime, on the website or the app 
  • Get a daily email alert of all the brand-new house-sitting jobs, a day before anyone else
  • Always have a chance to be the first to apply for the best jobs
  • Be covered by accident and liability protection

 

Use our link to join TrustedHousesitters now and get 12% off your membership! 

 

Then you can get started planning your next dream house sit location.

Next, go check out our step-by-step guide on How to Become a House Sitter, so you can learn how to write an awesome profile and get those house-sitting jobs that you really want.

 

Although we prefer and recommend TrustedHousesitters for their huge range of house sits, if you want to consider other websites, there are lots more you can join.  Read this post reviewing all the best house sitting websites we use, for finding house sitting jobs.

House sitting is one of the greatest travel hacks I’ve discovered — it’s rent-free accommodation all around the world!

It’s always a ‘win-win’ situation and most of the fantastic places we’ve stayed in and the beautiful friendships we’ve made, we owe to our happy, house sitting experiences.

 

Happy House-Sit Hunting! 

Alial
🙂

 

Affiliate Disclaimer: Some links in this article are affiliate links, which means that if you purchase through them, we receive a small commission. This will never cost you any extra and often, you receive a special discount. This support helps me keep my website going and I appreciate your support 🙂

 

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44 comments

Simone 13 September 2018 - 9:02 PM

We have done house sitting in France, and I always wandered which would be the best site when traveling abroad…. and here’s the answer! Thank you so much !

Reply
Layla 13 September 2018 - 9:15 PM

You’re welcome 🙂

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Ee Sing 14 September 2018 - 1:45 AM

This is such an amazing idea. I have never thought of it! Thanks for sharing this out! You also don’t have to worry about your accommodation environment because you know that it’s livable.

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Layla 14 September 2018 - 10:09 AM

You’re welcome 🙂

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Celine 14 September 2018 - 3:42 AM

I’ve never done housesitting before but I like the concept. How long in advance do you usually need to start looking for a place?

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Layla 14 September 2018 - 10:07 AM

Whenever you need one. Most Homeowners like to chat with the Housesitter about a month or two in advance, maybe longer if it’s a very long house-sit. Although some Homeowners want last minute Housesitters too.

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Navita Deshpande 14 September 2018 - 4:26 AM

As budget travelers , we are always looking for options to facilitate our slow travels! Trusted Housesitters sounds like a great option for traveling the world and manage the funds too.. amazing to get free accommodation anywhere! Will explore more on this one!

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Layla 14 September 2018 - 10:10 AM

It is a great way to save on accommodation prices when you want to stay somewhere for a long time. Thanks for reading 🙂

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Claire 14 September 2018 - 5:00 AM

Free accommodation AND cuddles with little fur babies?! Yes please, it’s a great idea, sign me up!

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Layla 14 September 2018 - 10:11 AM

Fur Babies for days! Hope you end up trying it out 🙂

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Jess D 14 September 2018 - 6:36 AM

I had never heard about house sitting before this article so thanks for sharing! It has opened up my eyes on new ways that we can travel. Thank you!

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Layla 14 September 2018 - 10:11 AM

You’re welcome, thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Danny Hill 14 September 2018 - 10:16 AM

How long can you end up house sitting for? Sounds like a perfect idea for people exploring the world! Defiantly going to consider it in the future!

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 12:04 PM

You can get house sits for any duration, a few days to 4-6 months sometimes. I’m doing one right now in Mt Maunganui, New Zealand for 4 months, it would cost thousands of dollars to stay here for that long in hotels or even hostels 🙂

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Alice 14 September 2018 - 10:42 AM

For sure this is a great idea. I’m always looking for new ways to travel cheap and save money where I can. Everyone should keep this option in mind. I never had a chance to try this personally but I’m definitely up for it!

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 1:04 PM

Great! Hope you try it out and thanks for stopping by 🙂

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alison 14 September 2018 - 11:33 AM

So smart! I would love to have that opportunity to do some free stays, but I don’t know how happy people would be to have an entire family show up to watch the pooch. This is a great way to see the world.

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 12:09 PM

Hi Alison. Some Homeowners are perfectly happy to have families do their house sit. Read the house sitting job ads on Trusted Housesitters to find the ones who are up for it. But it’s always worth asking anyway. For e.g. A lot of housesits in New Zealand have large houses on a lifestyle block with lots of land so they often don’t mind, especially if you approach the from the angle of being a travelling family. Then they know you’re used to the lifestyle 🙂

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Eric Gamble 14 September 2018 - 12:32 PM

Genius idea to house sit or pet sit with Trusted House Sitters. We haven’t tried it yet but I have an account. It always seems to hard to get accepted or at least it did when I tried once a year or so ago. But I definitely want to keep at it because like you said free is always better than the high costs of rooms in popular destinations.

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 12:12 PM

Hi Eric. Yes it can be competitive to secure a housesit when you’re first starting out. Especially in popular cities. We have done sits in cities like Bangkok, Perth, Auckland and Kuala Lumpur. It’s all about creating the perfect profile and curating your first contact message.

I’m actually currently writing an e-Book on how to secure housesits and other inside info. Keep a lookout for it 🙂

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Shelley Lee 14 September 2018 - 1:05 PM

Great information! I’ve always wondered if these housesitting websites were worth paying for because it seems almost too good to be true. Now I’ll definitely look into it! 🙂

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 12:15 PM

Thanks! Always worth it if you ever pay for accommodation in cities or just want a stopover somewhere. It’s amazing how many weekend long house-sits there are, in popular cities – perfect for for a low cost city break. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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Katie 14 September 2018 - 1:42 PM

Great post! I have been house sitting for nearly 2 years now while travelling around Canada. Even though I go home to the UK in a month, your post is inspiring me to carry on!

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 12:17 PM

Thank you 🙂 Yea isn’t it amazing where you can go?! I spend SO long sometimes on Trusted Housesitters site browsing the awesome destinations I could house sit in! Never been to Canada but I’m definitely up for it and will be looking for a house sit there when I go 🙂

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Inna 14 September 2018 - 5:40 PM

I have heard about house sitting but never done it myself. I never came across any article about it like yours.
And it is such an amazing idea, now after all the information I saw here, I’m motivated to try house sitting 🙂 Thanks!

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 12:19 PM

Hi Inna, thanks! Yes it’s such a great way to get free accommodation and get to know an area properly. It’s a win-win situation 🙂

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Chandni 14 September 2018 - 11:31 PM

This is amazing! I didn’t know a concept of house sitting exists. Joining the community right away.

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 12:20 PM

Awesome – hope you get some great house sits from it! 🙂

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Daniel 15 September 2018 - 2:27 AM

Thanks for this informative article! I always wondered whether housesitting websites were worth paying for and always thought it seemed almost too good to be true. It’s definitely something I’ll consider in the future.

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Layla 15 September 2018 - 1:03 PM

Definitely worth the once a year membership. It’s only the cost on 1 x night in a Hotel. I must’ve saved thousands doing it 🙂

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Alex Trembath 15 September 2018 - 6:03 PM

We’re very interested in house sitting and have met some people who’ve done it recently. Seems such a good way to see new places without a big budget. But we wouldn’t know where to get started! This is super helpful, thank you!!

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Layla 16 September 2018 - 3:11 PM

You’re welcome. Hope you end up finding something 🙂

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Jayashree Sengupta 16 September 2018 - 5:21 AM

This is an awesome idea, never tried it though. Would like to try sometime.

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Layla 16 September 2018 - 3:11 PM

Thanks for reading 🙂

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Pinar 16 September 2018 - 11:04 AM

I wouldn’t have even considered house-sitting before! This is such a great idea. Plus it seems like you got to stay in some really cool places and hang out with pets (major animal lover over here) so it seems like a win all round to me!

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Layla 16 September 2018 - 3:12 PM

It’s definitely a win-win if you’re an animal lover! Thanks for reading 🙂

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Alexander 16 September 2018 - 11:31 AM

Never tried house sitting, but have a lot of experience with Couchsurfing behind. I still consider it the main option when I travel to somehwere.

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Layla 16 September 2018 - 3:13 PM

Yea Couchsurfing is great. It’s so short-term though. I love Housesitting because you can get weeks or even a month somewhere for free. Plus you get the place to yourself 🙂

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Meg Roberts 17 September 2018 - 9:27 AM

This sounds like a dream come true! I’d love to pet sit in exchange for a free place to stay. What a great idea! Makes me think of the movie “The Holiday” but with cute dogs instead of Jude Law.

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Layla 17 September 2018 - 10:12 AM

Ha, brilliant! Yea totally, dogs are way cuter than dudes! 🙂

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sumit walia 17 September 2018 - 4:42 PM

hi
never knew this , so like when you are planning a holiday abroad then you start checking the region to see what options come up .. is this how you do it or someway else

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Layla 18 September 2018 - 4:23 PM

You go on Trusted Housesitters.com and browse for house-sits in the country or region you’re going to, then if you find some available, you can decide to apply. You do have to be a member of Trusted Housesitters to apply for house-sits and message homeowners though, if you follow the links in my post, you can join for 20% off 🙂

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Ferny 9 October 2018 - 10:15 AM

Pet sitting or house sitting! Wow that sounds fantastic. Specially the pet sitting, it’s a wonderful idea for nomads or solo travelers.
What a great experience, I can stay with lovely fur babies all day!

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Layla 9 October 2018 - 11:08 AM

Hey Ferny 🙂 Yes it’s really great for solo travellers. All that free accommodation in expensive cities is awesome! Thanks for reading 🙂

Reply

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