How about winning a flight ticket worth up to US$500?
Become a member by January 31st and get a chance to win!

Long term house sitting: how to find opportunities around the world

Explore the world through long-term house sitting. The best platforms to look for them, tips for a successful experience, challenges and more.


Long term house sitting

Ever thought about swapping your monthly rent for a chance to live in some amazing places around the world, free of charge? That's what long-term house sitting can offer you.

House sitting is becoming increasingly popular among travelers and digital nomads seeking an affordable and unique way to explore new destinations. By taking on the responsibility of caring for someone's home, you can enjoy free accommodation while having a local experience in different parts of the world.

But being a house sitter is not just about living for free in beautiful homes around the world. It also comes with its responsibilities and challenges, which we will be discussing in this guide. What we can say is that long term house sitting is for you if you want to save money while traveling, immerse yourself in local life, and enjoy slow traveling.

House sitter watering a garden

How does long-term house sitting work?

Basically, long term house sitting involves taking care of the host's house while they are away, in exchange for living in it without paying.

You first need to join a reputable house sitting platform, where homeowners list their properties and specify their needs - be it watering plants, caring for pets or just making sure everything stays safe and sound (we will talk about platforms later on).

Once you've created your house sitter profile and found a place that suits your preferences and schedule, you get in touch with the homeowner, discuss details and if both parties agree – voila. You have yourself an exciting long-term stay.

The duration can vary greatly: some may only need help for several weeks while others might offer months-long stays. The longer the term though, more responsibilities usually come into play such as paying utilities or maintaining outdoor spaces.

What makes this arrangement particularly appealing is its mutual benefits. Homeowners rest easy knowing their homes are cared-for during extended absences; volunteers enjoy comfortable living conditions without worrying about rent costs.

Girl mopping the floor during her long term house sittong experience

Reasons to do long-term house sitting

House sitting has many benefits, both for the caregiver (house-sitter) and for the host family. Here's why it might be an ideal option for you—and it's not just about free lodging.

Cut down on living costs

If you're looking to save money or live more economically, long-term house sitting can be an excellent option.

Instead of paying hefty rent or hotel bills during your travels or stay abroad, living in someone else’s home lets you dodge these costs entirely. The savings add up fast.

An immersive local experience

Want to get off the beaten path? Live like a local? House sitting allows for this immersive experience that traditional tourism often misses out on.

House-sitting offers a chance to explore the local scene, from buying groceries at neighborhood stores to meeting your neighbors and feeling part of the area.

A "try before you buy" approach

Dreaming about moving somewhere new but unsure if it’s right for you? Long-term house sitting is almost like taking a car for a test drive—it allows you time and space needed to explore local neighborhoods, experience lifestyle first-hand, and make informed decisions about whether the location truly fits your needs before making any permanent commitments.

A cost-effective way to study abroad

Studying abroad doesn't need to break the bank anymore. If you have that in mind, you could opt for long-term house-sitting to eliminate housing from your budget equation. This leaves more room in your pockets for travel adventures and academic resources.

Support during your adaptation to a new country

Moving to a new country, especially one with customs very different from your own, can be challenging at first: new schedules, customs, foods, language, and even social rules may seem unfamiliar. However, being one phone call or message away from a local family willing to help you will make this transition much easier.

Long term house sitting: Couple cleaning a kitchen

Challenges of long-term house sitting

Embarking on a long-term house sitting journey can be an exciting adventure. However, such an adventure is not without its difficulties that must be faced.

The reality is that unexpected home issues may crop up during your stay. From leaky faucets to power outages, being prepared is key. Equip yourself with basic knowledge in dealing with minor household repairs or at least know who to call when such situations arise.

If the homeowners have pets you need to care for, remember that this isn't just feeding and walking them daily. Pets get sick too and might need veterinary attention during your tenure as a sitter - another thing you should be ready for.

Making connections with your neighbors can be beneficial in tackling unforeseen home problems, as they could provide suggestions for reliable local service providers or even lend a hand.

In case you're solo traveling while house sitting long term, bouts of loneliness could hit hard after several weeks alone in unfamiliar territory. To combat this challenge, join local groups or activities through platforms like MeetUp, allowing you to connect with others having similar interests.

Girl caressing a happy dog

Finding long-term house sitting opportunities

There are several online platforms where homeowners post their requests for house sitters who are willing to spend some time taking care of their homes.

Some of these platforms include:

  • TrustedHousesitters
  • Nomador
  • MindMyHouse
  • House Carers

On all platforms, you will have to pay a monthly or annual subscription, but that will be more than covered by saving on accommodation expenses when you start using them. To decide which one is right for you, visit each of them and look for available opportunities in the destinations that interest you.

  • Worldpackers

In addition to the platforms we discussed, there are also many opportunities to be a long term house sitter through the Worldpackers' platform. Many of them involve taking care of houses when their owners are away, while there are also host families that welcome volunteers to help them with daily tasks. This is a great opportunity if you are interested in having an even deeper cultural immersion.

Worldpackers is a volunteering platform with a wide variety of possibilities, where you can do a work-exchange for a few hours a day in different types of projects, not only house sitting. These projects range from hostels, organic farms, and, of course, homestays.

To participate, you can create a free profile on the Worldpackers Community and browse the platform for different volunteer opportunities that you would like to participate. Upon entering each one, you will find a detailed description of the exchange.

When you want to apply, you should verify your profile, which will allow you to get in touch with the host to discuss all the details.

Examples of house sitting positions

Here are some examples of house-sitting positions on Worldpackers:

  • Pet sitting and house sitting in Cusco, Peru

Explore this magical city like a local, which serves as the gateway to the marvelous Machu Picchu.

You will be taking care of four cats and a puppy for at least 5 weeks. Its location is excellent for sightseeing, as it is very close to the central square of Cusco.

Check out all the details about this house sitting opportunity.

And get inspired by the experience of a fellow traveler volunteering in Peru: "How I lived, traveled, and worked in Peru through a Worldpackers exchange".

Cat sleeping between two traditional Peruvian dolls

  • House sitter wanted in Portugal

Would you like to spend time in a house surrounded by nature on the outskirts of Lisbon, Portugal? Then apply for this vacancy where they are looking for someone to take care of the garden, look after pets, and maintain a rural house.

Additionally, this space welcomes campers, so you will be in touch with travelers from different parts of Europe.

  • Opportunity to take care of a house in Montenegro

Perhaps you had never considered traveling to the small Balkan country of Montenegro, but these are the kinds of opportunities that the world of house sitting opens up for you. You might not have known anything about a place until that moment, and shortly thereafter, you could be living there.

The homeowners are looking for a couple or two friends who would like to stay during the winter holidays when they are away.

Couple doing gardening during their long term house sitting commitment 

  • Dog care & house sitting in Dania Beach, Florida

A local family is looking for an animal lover to take care of their 5 dogs and the house while they are traveling.

Your tasks will include feeding, walking and spending time with the dogs on a daily basis and bathing them once a week.

If the idea appeals to you, get in touch with hosts Hugo and Oona.

  • Live in Seattle taking care of a house and its dogs

The United States is one of those countries where accommodation expenses can be prohibitive for backpackers, but don't let that discourage you because there are many volunteering opportunities in the USA.

One of them involves taking care of a house with its three beautiful dogs in Seattle. The picture below is their way of tempting you, aren't they doing it well?

Don't miss out: Traveling in the USA as a work exchanger.

Two adult dog and a puppy

Tips for a good house sitting experience

Finally, let's dive into some essential tips to make your experience more successful and rewarding.

Create an appealing profile

The first thing you need to do is create your traveler profile on Worldpackers.

It is essential that it has a main photo where you are clearly visible, along with additional photos showing you in different situations, such as caring for animals or traveling.

Include a good personal description where you talk about your interests, skills, what you would like to learn, and how you can contribute to potential hosts.

Honestly describe why you are part of the platform. Since you won't have references initially, it's important to include links to your social media.

These articles will help you: How to create a winning Worldpackers profile and The 10 commandments of how to be a good volunteer.

Pick the right home

Your comfort is crucial. Ensure you select a dwelling that is compatible with your habits and desires. 

Always remember to carefully read the descriptions and reviews of the listing before applying. Not all offers will be suitable for you. For example, some may require prior experience with pets, or the house may be far from any urban center and you don't have transportation, or perhaps you're not sure about committing to the time they need someone to take care of their home.

Create trustful connections with homeowners

A strong relationship with homeowners sets the foundation for smooth sailing during your stay. Ask all necessary questions upfront about their expectations, responsibilities, and pet care if applicable. It's always better to be prepared than surprised.

If you don't know how to do something, then ask, but don't refrain from doing it. Remember that besides breaking your word, you'll also be harming your reputation, and negative references may make other homeowners hesitant to trust you.

Pet care planning

Talking about pets, if you are responsible for their animals care, make sure you get detailed instructions and contact information of their vet before they leave. Having an emergency plan will give you peace of mind.

Respect their space

Treat their home as if it were yours—maintain cleanliness, report any damages promptly, don't move things around without asking first—it’s just good manners.

Learn basic maintenance skills

You might need to fix minor issues around the house while the owners are away—a leaky faucet or faulty switch perhaps? Learning basic maintenance skills could come in handy.


Finally, but no less important: enjoy! Each new location offers the opportunity to discover different cultures, meet new people, learn about other customs, and develop skills.

Make the most of all this, as it will serve you in many more aspects of life than you might have thought.

Smiley house sitter hugging two dogs

Want to learn more about planning your trip? By subscribing to the WP pack plan you have unlimited access to +120 courses at Worldpackers Academy, the travel school made by travelers!

Leave your comment here

Write here your questions and greetings to the author

More about this topic