How to Use Trusted Housesitters to Kickstart Your Moving, Traveling, or Pet-Sitting Journey

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I had to get creative. During the pandemic, I found myself in a situation where I wanted to try out a different city. I had to come back to my home country during the pandemic, and I found myself in unknown territory.  

As I have traveled and lived abroad for many years, I thought this would be a good time to experience a different place from where I usually stay and see what it is like. I knew I would only be there a short time before I headed abroad again. But I didn’t want to have the huge economic burden of an Airbnb or hotel, and during this time, I could work more remotely, and most of my expenses would come from paying for accommodation.

Have you heard of Trusted Housesitters?  It is a platform that matches pet owners to pet sitters.  Different level memberships are available and you pay an annual fee for as many pet sits as you want. 

I jumped on the opportunity and signed up.  The sign-up process is easy, and I wrote about it in my posts Review of Trusted Housesitters from Sitter's Point of View for pet sitters and Trusted Housesitters: A Pet Owner's Perspective for pet owners.

I signed up as a pet sitter as I had done some pet sitting here and there.  I love animals and have worked many years with them also.

I paid for the basic membership to start, as this was before the vet service and insurance were available on Trusted Housesitters.  I had gotten my pet-sitting insurance elsewhere.

I put up some fun photos of me with my family’s pets, both dogs and cats.  I wrote on my profile about my experience with animals.

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The Start

I had a video interview with a really nice woman, and we got along great.  I confirmed that I would be traveling to their city and gave my dates.  Luckily, I had family to stay with for a night as I got in a day before the pet owners left for vacation.  I met with the pet parents and their two dogs.  I was given all the information I needed, especially emergency numbers, food and medication indications, nuances of each of the dogs, and how to go about walking them, etc.  

I came with all my questions ready and this was a relief to the pet owners also, as they had never left their pets alone for the two weeks that they were to be gone.

During the pandemic another phenomenon that was going on was separation anxiety for pets.  Pets were accustomed to their owners being around them all the time, so shifting away from this was challenging.  I was able to work remotely, so having a human in the house helped with this adjustment.

My pet sit went great. There was one bump in the road, which was that one of the elderly dogs had a previous cut that opened while I was there. The poor thing was bleeding and uncomfortable, so I contacted the pet parents and was able to get ahold of them.

I also had the veterinarian’s contact number, so with the pet owners' support and approval, I took their dog to the vet. He had more stitches put in and more medication to take. I kept the pet parents informed each step of the way.

Although I did have pet insurance, I did not need it as the pet owners took care of everything.  Communication was very transparent, and in the end, they came home to very healthy and well-taken-care of pets.

Starting a Pet-Sitting Business 

Pet sitting is great since you have a place to stay.  With Trusted Housesitters you are not paid, as it is a yearly membership.  

I was looking for after my present sit on how to pet sit where I could stay and possibly be paid.  

While I was on this pet sit, I also joined a few neighborhood groups in my new, short-term city.  There are lots of these groups on Facebook.  

I also made a website for my pet-sitting business.  This was crucial as people want to know that you are serious.  I had photos and my experience, and knew I would start to put up reviews there, too.  

As every week during the pandemic, there were some changes, for better or for worse. People were starting to leave their houses again. I started pet-sitting at the right time, as many pet owners were looking for sitters.

When I finished my sit with this family, I spent one night at a hotel, and the next day I had secured a new pet sit.  This time it was paid.  

I went to my next pet-sitting home and spent another week there.  I had my first review on my website from the first family I stayed with.  I started looking for more opportunities.  As I was in a larger city, there were many options for dog walking and cat check-ins.  

For dog walking, I looked for jobs where I walked one dog at a time.  Sometimes pet parents needed this done twice a day.

With cat check-ins, you usually go to the pet owner's house and spend an hour playing with the cat, putting out food and fresh water, and changing the litter box. Sometimes, cat check-ins are also twice a day.

I finished my second pet-sitting job and had already secured my next.  This time it was for a cat where the pet owners did not want to leave their cat alone all night.  During the day there were no restrictions or expectations to be there much.

During this time I was able to start a few dog walks and also a few cat check-ins.

I kept this cycle going, securing new jobs when the present one ended.   I also kept adding more and more reviews from my pet sits on my website.

For marketing my services, I was present in the Facebook groups.  Anytime someone posted that they needed a pet sitter, I answered with my interest and put in my website’s link.  

I continually had pet-sitting jobs and did not need any other form of accommodation for a few months.  Also, I was getting paid.

If there were lapses where I did not have a paid pet sitting job lined up, or the jobs were cat check-ins or dog walks, which did not include accommodation, I would get a sit on Trusted Housesitters as if was a way to have accommodation.  

Most importantly, I was very dedicated to doing a good job.  I wanted the pet parents to have peace of mind so I dedicated a lot of time to their pets and sent many updates and photos.  I looked forward to when the pet owners arrived back home to see their pets so happy.

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Decide Where You Want To Move To 

When I set off on this adventure to this city, I wanted to live like a local and get a feeling of what the city has to offer.  I was able to do just that because of pet sitting.

  • Saving on accommodation is a relief!
  • You can experience an area before deciding if you want to be there long-term.
  • Through pet sitting, you can build a local network.  You meet many great people, such as the pet owners and their neighbors.  
  • You learn how to market your services and how it all works in this different location.

In the end, I stayed for a few months.  When I left I had so many clients, and some I even sat for regularly, that I gave my business to a family member who continued with my clients.  

As I stayed in many different neighborhoods, I got to know the city and its many distinct areas. I felt like a local and lived like a local!  If I had decided that I was ready to settle, yes, I could see myself living there.  

Before you make your big move, test out a few cities and see which is the right fit for you. If you have a specific career you want to pursue, job search along the way, which later will give you more options to choose from location-wise. Explore the job market while you are there.

Do You Want to Start Traveling?

As I mentioned in (this post), there are many kinds of travel and many kinds of tourism.  People are looking for ways to travel and objectives while doing so.  If you like art, you can plan a trip around museums.  Maybe you like music so your trip is about going to music festivals or concerts.  Whatever your passion, your trip can be created around that.

But what about you want to travel but are not sure how to go about it?  This is where Trusted Housesitters can help you start your journey.  

When you are a sitter, you apply to different sits, and this can be just about anywhere, nationally and internationally.   Your flexibility and interest come into play here.

Think about it:

You will have a place to stay.

You will have a purpose for going and know what you are going to be doing.

You will be living like a local.

You are saving money but being able to have free accommodation and access to a kitchen for your meals.

You may not even think of going to some of the most unique places, but the opportunity is there because of the pet sit.

Nowadays, slow tourism is attractive to many.  You stay for a while in one place and get to know the culture or the area.  This is what Trusted Housesitters allows you to experience.

I have talked with many people who would love to explore more, visit new places, and experience something different.  Whether you want to start a pet-sitting business, you want to move, or you want to travel, using a platform that allows you to do so can be that stepping stone you were searching for.

But let’s not forget about the main reason for pet sitting, the PETS!  The companionship and unconditional love of your new furry friends is what it is all about.

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Frequently Asked Questions

I want to start traveling. What can I do?

Trusted Housesitters can be a great way to explore unique areas you may not have considered before. By taking care of some great pets, you can get to know the culture while having a place to stay.  

I would love to move, but I don’t know where or how.  How do I start?

Get a feel for a place before you take the plunge.  By pet sitting, you can explore different locations, get a feel for the job market, and see where is a good fit for you.  Whether that be a weekend or a few months, why not see what is out there?

How do I start a pet-sitting business?

Start on Trusted Housesitters.  First, do you want to pet sit?  Do you have a love for animals?  Next, get some sits and build up your profile and reviews.  Start a website and market your pet-sitting services.  By doing a fantastic job, you will gain loyal pet parents and amazing pets to take care of.