The concept of cheap accommodation rarely conjures up images of marble spas, personal swimming pools or Masterchef-style kitchens. However, it is possible to find free accommodation which offers all these features in many glamorous, scenic parts of Australia. House sitting has become an increasingly popular way for budget-conscious travellers to spend part of their holiday.
What does a house sitter do?
Homeowners hire sitters for peace of mind. They know that someone will be there to prevent break-ins, pay bills, collect mail, take care of pets and do gardening. In return, the sitter will have free accommodation and can go sightseeing during the day. House sitting assignments can vary in length from a weekend to many months.
Who can be a house sitter?
Anyone with a sense of responsibility can be a house sitter. Grey nomads may intersperse house sitting assignments with staying in their campervan. Younger travellers may take a break from staying in backpacker hostels and hotels by house sitting for a time.
You should generally have an outgoing personality as you will immediately become part of the neighbourhood. You should also be prepared to take good care of somebody else's home and pets. Some homeowners will require a security deposit to ensure no damage occurs.
How do you become a house sitter?
In Australia, the majority of sitters connect with homeowners by registering on a house sitting website which charges an annual fee. Here are a few steps you can take to appeal to homeowners.
- Create a cover letter which emphasises your commitment to the homeowner's house and pets.
- Obtain a police certificate as proof that you have no convictions.
- Ask friends for whom you have previously house sat or respectable community members to act as your referees.
- Create a website with photos that show how you care for your own home and interact happily with cats, dogs, birds and other pets belonging to family and friends.
What are the pros and cons?
Apart from the money-saving factor, house sitting allows you to enjoy a local experience, away from tourist traps. You will also have access to all the comforts the house provides.
Realistically, house sitting is an enjoyable part of an escape rather than an entire holiday. If you are travelling to different places, it would be difficult to organise back-to-back house sitting assignments. Should you wish to seek some night-life, this usually won't be possible when house sitting. For money-conscious travellers, this is a chance to enjoy some luxury along with the excellent budget accommodations in Australia.
When planning your travels, look for house sitting opportunities. This will allow you to extend your holiday and provide a little more spending money along the way.