Unique experiences, walking the road less travelled and getting to know the special and yet lesser known attractions of the places you visit, are just some of the things that attract intrepid solo travellers.
For many who have chosen to travel on their own, the general plan is to travel light, adapt to new environments and be open to new experiences. This travel mindset makes solo travellers ideally suited for house and pet sitting and can deliver some amazing experiential and financial benefits.
In Australia, house and pet sitting is more attractive than ever, with close to 40%(2) of sitters choosing to explore the country while staying free in other people’s homes and caring for pets.
House and pet sitters get to stay for free in comfortable homes across Australia with all the mod-cons and conveniences you could want. Added to that is the chance to meet new people and furry pals, which could turn into lifelong friendships.
The trend towards an ‘experience economy’(1), which entices travellers to immerse themselves in the destinations and cultures they visit, has shifted the modern traveller’s mindset to explore alternatives to the traditional hotel or motel getaway.
Rather than being confined to the four walls of a hotel or motel room, house and pet sits could present travellers with opportunities to experience the lifestyle of those living in a country cottage, a city apartment, a bungalow along the beachside, or on the waters edge in a harbour-side mansion – and all for free.
Stepping into someone else’s shoes and living like a local is what makes house and pet sitting a truly bespoke holiday encounter and a highly sought after ‘must do’ travel experience for solo travellers.
Planning, flexibility and travelling light are key to being a successful house and pet sitter, and the rewards are many. So how do you know if house and pet sitting is going to be your kind of holiday style?
Australia’s leading house and pet sitting website, Mindahome.com.au, has given us the low-down about some of the qualities you will need to make the most of a house and pet sitting adventure.
- Must Love Animals: It’s a bit of a no-brainer, but with around 99% of Mindahome’s listed house and pet sitting positions requiring the care of a pet, you must be an animal lover. If you sway more towards dogs rather than cats, or birds rather than snakes, you can choose positions that suit your pet preferences. Many choose to house and pet sit to enjoy the company of animals because they can’t own any of their own. Animal companionship has been shown to reduce stress, increase social interactions and is simply just good fun. Considering that holidays are meant to be opportunities to relax and unwind, walking a dog along the beachside during a house and pet sit could be one of the best things you could do. House and pet sitters report that saying goodbye to the animals is one of the hardest parts of being a house and pet sitter, so have a good exit strategy if you’re prone to tearing up during sad goodbyes.
- Be Flexible: If you’re not wedded to a particular time of year or specific dates to travel, then you could really benefit from house and pet sitting travel. Some home and pet owners like sitters to arrive a few days earlier to learn the routines of the household and the little characteristics of the pet before they leave. It also gives sitters a good opportunity to ask any questions about what is required of them during the sit. Being flexible means you have a lot more choice in the type of home you stay in as well as your destination.
- Get Organised: Hundreds of positions are listed every day, but some of the best locations are often snapped up quickly by seasoned sitters. If you’re considering travel at a particular time of year, plan ahead and apply for positions months in advance to secure your dream holiday destination. Having an impressive and professional online profile is also a great way to attract home owners to engage you as a sitter, so treat every position application like an interview.
- Get Checked: As you can imagine, there’s a great deal of trust that goes into a partnership between home owner and house and pet sitter. A majority of sitters secure positions by providing current police checks and references from past house and pet sits. New to house and pet sitting? Provide personal or work testimonials from family, friends and colleagues to give home and pet owners the peace of mind that their treasured possessions will be in safe hands while they’re away.
- Choose the Right Service: Make sure you do your research and choose the right house and pet sitting service for you. Compare any annual fees of services and take note of any hidden fees that could be charged for securing positions in particular regions. Also look for a service that is going to give you exposure as a sitter. Securing positions can be a competitive business, so ensuring the service has a solid base of home and pet owners listing positions is also a good gauge of the opportunities a service can provide you as a sitter.
- Enjoy the Lifestyle: Many house and pet sitters choose to house and pet sit for short breaks away, annual holidays or even permanently! We all know that accommodation providers spike their prices around busy public holiday and school holiday periods, so house and pet sitting presents a viable option for many Australian travellers looking to avoid the peak season rates and make their holiday budget go further.
To find out more about house and pet sitting, visit www.mindahome.com.au