Getting Started in House Sitting

This page outlines the basics of house sitting and some of the benefits. If you already know what house sitting is and are ready to get started, feel free to jump to our comparison of the different house sitting sites.

What is House Sitting?

Very simply house sitting involves looking after someone else’s house (and 95% of the time their pets as well) in exchange for staying there for free while they’re away.

The main ‘pro’ to house sitting is that you save money on accommodation costs. Regardless of whether you like to stay in expensive hotels or budget hostels, being able to save on the nightly costs of travel accommodation will do wonders for any travel budget.

While the main reason people house sit is to save on accommodation costs, it isn’t the only benefit. A few others include:

  • Looking after other people’s pets is actually a lot of fun: Although this is the ‘work’ involved in house sitting, most people who try house sitting end up really enjoying looking after other people’s pets and find it really adds to their travel experience.
  • More space: If you’re used to renting accommodation while travelling you’ll probably be used to living in smallish one or two bedroom apartments. If you stay in hotels or hostels, you’ll be used to an even smaller amount of space. When you’re house sitting you’re looking after someone’s home and so usually you’ll be looking after a house or large apartment.

What’s the Process for Getting a House Sit?

The process for getting a house sit looks something like this:

  • Find a house sit you want to do.
  • Contact the homeowner to let them know you’re available.
  • Chat with the homeowner, over email and maybe Skype, answering each other’s questions.
  • The homeowner picks a sitter (hopefully you).

Where Do I Find House Sits?

The vast majority of house sits we apply for we find through house sitting sites such as and These are websites where homeowners needing a sitter can post an advert and members who want to house sit (you pay a monthly/annual fee) can then apply.

Choosing a house sitting site is another article itself, which you can find here.

How Likely Am I to Get a House Sit?

This is obviously a difficult question to answer as it depends on a number of things, but mostly 1) have you filled out your profile thoroughly and 2) how persistent are you?

Every house sitting site has a profile you can fill out where you introduce yourself and talk about why you would make a great house sitter. There’s also an option for adding photos or a video. Some sites also allow you to add references (either house sitting references or, if you don’t have any yet, character, employment or landlord references).

If you don’t have a filled out profile (answered questions about yourself, added photos and at least added some character references from people that know you) you’re going to find it very difficult to get accepted for a house sit.

If you do have those things filled out, the next step is persistence. In the beginning, getting those first house sits can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have any references or experience. The key here is to be persistent.

Eventually someone will bite and once you have that first house sit, you’ll find it’s probably going to be easier to get the next one.

Useful info

About Me: I grew up in Northern Portugal, and have since spent time living in Lisbon and the Algarve. I created Portugalist because I felt there was a lack of good-quality information about Portugal out there. Since launching, the articles on here have been viewed more than 1 million times and Portugalist has been featured in news publications from all over the world. (Read more about me)

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