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When I started traveling, I learned about house sitting while teaching English online totally on accident. I thought I wanted to teach English in a foreign country, but I started teaching with VIPKID and loved it so much I didn’t want to stop.

I knew that if I wanted to travel for longer, I needed to find budget-friendly accommodation. Then I read a blog about traveling for free as a house sitter. Free accommodation sounded amazing, so I signed up.

Teaching online while house sitting has allowed me to travel longer, save money, and explore areas I never would have known existed. House sitting and teaching English online with VIPKID or doing other kinds of remote work go hand in hand. This post explains why.

(Post originally published in 2019)

house sitting for digital nomads

What is house sitting?

House sitting means that you take care of someone’s home and pets while they’re away traveling. They get free pet care and someone to take care of the house. You get a free place to stay. Money usually is not exchanged for house sitting services.

You can find house sitting jobs on several different websites, most of which have an annual membership fee. I use and love TrustedHousesitters because they have tons of listings and a super easy interface to navigate. You can sign up for Trusted House sitters here!

House Sitting Pros

  • Free Accommodation
  • Access to a full house with your own space and privacy
  • Adorable Pets to keep you company
  • Opportunity to meet new local friends and live in a residential area

House Sitting Cons

  • You’ll have to be very flexible with your travel dates
  • You’ll have to be very flexible with your travel destination

House Sitting Frequently Asked Questions

You can read more about how house sitting works in this post. Here are some commonly asked questions and answers.

Who can be a house sitter?

Anyone can be a house sitter! House sitting is best for people who are flexible with their travel dates and locations.

Where do I find house sitting jobs?

These are some popular house sitting websites. These sites have annual fees ranging from $20-$120/year. Usually, the more listings available, the higher the annual fee.

What do I do to get house sitting gigs?

  1. Fill out a profile on your house sitting website
  2. Apply for sits as soon as you see them.
  3. Write a detailed house sitting application message to your host explaining why you’re the best fit for the job.
  4. Skype with the host to ask questions and get more details.
  5. Confirm the sit with the house sitting website

Do I get paid to be a house sitter?

Usually no. But you get a free place to stay which is awesome.

Where can I find house sits?

You can find house sits all over the world! There are a higher concentration of listings in Australia, Europe, and North America, but it’s possible to find listings anywhere.

How long are house sits?

It depends on the listing. I’ve done some that were only two days and some that were six weeks. If you want to save money, stick to longer house sits to save money on transportation costs.

What kind of pets do you care for?

All kinds! I’ve had house sits with dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits, and chickens. Each listing is different and it will say how many pets you’ll be caring for.

Pets are a great part of house sitting. House sitting for VIPKID teachers

Why is house sitting a great fit for online English teachers and digital nomads?

House sitting goes well with a digital nomad or online teaching lifestyle. After all, teaching English online is an awesome way to work from home and house sitting means you’ll have a real home to work from. Some house sitting hosts prefer sitters who are home for most of the day, which makes remote workers and online teachers a great fit. 

Here’s why they work really well together.

House Sitting is Free

One of the biggest perks of house sitting, in addition to adorable pets, a nice home, and comfortable amenities, is that you don’t have to pay anything for accommodation. You take care of pets and a home in exchange for a free place to stay. You can live in a cool new place totally for free. You just have to pay to get yourself there.

If you’re planning to travel longer in a more expensive region of the world, this can make your budget go much farther. House sitting was a huge part of the reason I was able to travel to Europe for six months without touching my savings.

House sitting for free accommodation anywhere in the world

House sitting homes usually have good internet

Another awesome part of house sitting is that the internet in a private home is generally better than the shared internet in a hotel or hostel. You’ll almost always have access to the router where you can teach with an ethernet cord but even if you don’t, you can still have the WiFi all to yourself. You can also reset the router if needed. 

Since you communicate with the host extensively before committing to a house sit, there’s plenty of time to ask about the quality of WiFi and have the host run a speed test. Unlike in hotel where the results might be very different from room to room, your host will be able to tell you the internet speeds in advance so you aren’t surprised.

(Online English Teachers! Click here to read about how to teach online in a power outage and click here to read about teaching online from a mobile hot spot!)

You have a full home with plenty of privacy and workspaces

It’s amazing to have full privacy on teaching days. You probably don’t want to be in the middle of a class when a noisy hostel roommate comes in. And screaming the ABC song at the top of your lungs probably isn’t the best move in a calm guest house. So privacy is golden.

Also, having a whole home to work with is amazing for setting up your classroom or workspace. I’ve spent my share of uncomfortable hours on tile floors with my laptop stacked on a pile of packing cubes while I tried to look professional. It’s so much easier when you’re house sitting and have options to sit at a table or even a desk.

So often, hotels or homestays only offer a bed. On my first house sit with a really nice desk and office chair, I felt like I could have taught for a month straight because I was so comfortable. It was a game changer.

Longer house sitting gigs mean more savings and more productivity.

Longer house sitting gigs allow you to find a routine because you’re not traveling around all the time. I love finding longer house sitting opportunities because I know I’ll save money and have a more consistent schedule. 

This is fantastic for teaching online and just general productivity. House sitting provides the comfort of a daily routine with the fun and adventure of travel.

House sitting perks include spending time with pets

You can start locally

If you’ve wanted to get into traveling and teaching online but have been scared to start, house sitting gives you the chance to start small. You can book a house sit in your own town or somewhere driving distance and give it a go.

Pack up your traveling classroom, test out your travel background, fill your backpack with all that amazing digital nomad technology, and practice like you would if you were going somewhere far away. But do it locally.

House sits can be found all over and some are just a few days in length. It’s a great way to get some experience house sitting and test out your traveling teacher set up before going somewhere new.

House sitters get a built-in community and pets

Traveling as an online English teacher or digital nomad can be lonely if you’re traveling alone. While it’s totally possible to make tons of awesome friends while traveling, one of the biggest perks of house sitting is that you usually get a few new friends out of the deal. Most of my house sitting hosts have introduced me to friends and neighbors if I needed anything during my stay.

Since house sitters care for pets, you’ll have furry companions to keep you company all day too! There’s nothing better than unwinding after a long day with an adorable kitty friend in your lap. If you love pets, you’ll love house sitting. 

You’ll experience different places than other travelers

House sitting gives you an opportunity to explore places that are a bit off the beaten path. Since you’ll usually be staying in a residential area, you’ll get to experience life as the locals do.

You might also find a house sitting opportunity that fits your needs perfectly that’s in a place you’ve never thought to visit. When that happens, I say go for it! You’ll see more of the world and find places that are off the traditional tourist routes. 

If you want a more local experience, house sitting is a great way to find it.

No matter your travel style or budget, house sitting is an awesome way to live like a local with the comforts of home. It’s a great fit for online teacher and digital nomads since house sitting is the perfect blend of convenience and adventure.

Check out these posts for more information about house sitting

Check out these posts for more information about teaching English online

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House sitting and teaching VIPKID, House sitting and teaching english online

About the Author

Hi! I'm Nic. Let's chat about remote work and ways to incorporate more travel into your life. Whether you're here to find an online job or need some tips for planning your next trip, I've got you covered! More about me

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