House Sitting: The Fast-Growing, Low-Cost Way to Travel

If you could travel without the cost of lodging, would you do it? Imagine being able to explore a new state, visit your grandchildren, or travel to another country. Stay for weeks or months because your lodging is free! Find a house sitting assignment near your grandchildren so you can “live” near them. House sitting may make all this possible for you.

My husband Conrad and I discovered the amazing world of house sitting four years ago and now it is our lifestyle. We hop from one assignment to the next while exploring the world.

What is house sitting?

House sitting is an exchange. Vacationing homeowners have peace of mind knowing their homes – and sometimes pets – are looked after, and house sitters have a place to stay. For most assignments, no money changes hands.

Find travel services for seniors and Take Comfort in some advice for Canadians going abroad, in our seniors' travel directory.

Reasons homeowners go away

Reasons for house sitting

Meet retired folks who are house sitting

Susan and David are house sitting in spots around the U.S. to find just the right town to retire. They spent last winter in Mesa, Arizona and are currently in Asheville, North Carolina.

Another couple Kevin and Alicia live in Massachusetts and only house sit within the United States. Kevin told me, “We like to get out of our typical environment and try out others: country, urban, etc. . . .We have a history of being nomads developed as a result of adventure travel and living in tents. We knew we were nomads a long time ago, so house sitting is just an extension, albeit, one that gets us out of tents and into some nice homes.”  Kevin and Alicia have several repeat customers and go back each year to the same homes.

Kaethlyn from Oregon house sits only in her home state. It’s her hobby. She likes quiet places. She says, “I have physical limitations that demand pacing my energy and reducing stress, house sitting works perfectly for me, especially ones in God's amazing beauty in the country.  Quiet retreats away from home, and the clock, rejuvenate my health and creativity while, simultaneously, I'm helping others.”

The Procedure

So how do you start house sitting? Websites connect homeowners and house sitters together. The matching-up process is fun and safe, as correspondence is internal, so you keep your privacy. As a potential house sitter, you receive daily emails detailing new assignments. You initiate a back-and-forth communication until a good fit with a homeowner is found. House sitting assignments are available in virtually every state, every country, and every corner of the planet, with very little exception.

Conrad and I keep pinching ourselves, saying, “How did we get so lucky?” Discovering new countries – deeply – because we stay in neighborhoods amongst locals for weeks and months at a time is the payoff for us. Without the free lodging house sitting allows, we would not have been able to truly discover Norway, Denmark, France, Spain, (our favorite!), Italy and parts of our home turf, the United States.

Where will your house sitting dreams take you?

 Bio: Josie Schneider is not wealthy, but she is a world traveler thanks to her discovery of house sitting. She and husband Conrad are adventurers who love exploring the unexpected off-the-beaten-track neighborhoods and amazing people around the world. Josie is curious about all things -- to the point of obsession. Conrad's the photographer, brainiac, and the couple’s rudder while Josie writes -- freelancing and blogging. Their goal is to get you excited about house sitting as a means to travel, because your lodging is free. Visit their blog at

Have you tried house sitting to save money when you travel? Share your advice and adventures in the comments below!


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