between house sitting gigs

Homeless? What To Do Between House Sitting Gigs

We’ve been participating in some podcast interviews lately and one of the consistent questions among all of them is for us to explain house sitting; moreover, what we do between house sitting gigs.

I tend not to pull a Red Hot Chili Peppers and…give it away, give it away, give it away now…as I mention what we do in my eBook, Sell All Your Stuff and Become a House Sitter, which details how one can get started; moreover, where you can find a secret stash of house sits that nobody talks about.

That being said, we’ve just passed our one year of full-time been house sitting for almost two years now, less one month. As mentioned, a common question is “what do you do between house sitting gigs?” Well, we usually try to land house sitting gigs as close together as possible, but in the event we can’t find one, we tap into our network of family and friends to see if we can squat with them. And when that fails we just go on a road trip.

House sitting for a living can be challenging at times, especially the ‘not knowing where you’ll be living’ aspect, between house sits. But there are several options, and here’s one for couples who are house sitting.

Split up!

Okay, I don’t mean a legal separation or filing the divorce papers, that’s a bit harsh, even if someone continuously leaves the seat up! What I mean is, if you’re stationary in a certain town – be it to bridge two house sits or otherwise – then find another sit that overlaps by a day or two.

This option can be tricky, but it’s worked for us numerous times. The key is to not overlap too much. Two days should really be the maximum – especially if you’re selling yourselves as a “house sitting couple”.

When you explain this to home owners, they are pretty cool with it – at least they have been for us. They understand our lifestyle and that an overlap is a necessity for us sometimes. And we explain this to them as well. So splitting up for a night or two can help bridge two house sits.

But, this is typically most effective when you are staying in the same town, or close proximity. We’ve had house sits where I’ve been a half hour away on another sit while Shelly remained at the previous sit. Again, home owners understand and are happy they have someone looking after their pets and home.

We did have a month earlier this year where we wanted to be stationary back in Panama. We had been bouncing around the country (and other nearby ones) for 10 months and just wanted a home base for a while without having to find places to stay. A friend put us up up with us for a month for a great monthly rate, and ironically, it turned into a pet-sit in the latter portion of our stay.

And that’s another thing we’ve never mentioned – the costs we’ve had to incur between house sitting gigs. UPDATED as of AUGUST 27, 2016! Sometimes, like the example above, we get lucky (no, not that kind of lucky), and have a friend to stay with. Other times we get to stay with family (oh joy), like our recent trip to Florida and Ontario. We’ve also partnered with hotels for hosting. And then there are times where you just have to suck it up and pay for a stay.

In total from March 1, 2015 to Feb 29, 2016 Aug 27, 2016, we’ve had 41 days without a house sit. Actually, two of those nights were spent sight-seeing, so we could have stayed with family. Again, we opted to pay a friend to be their roommate in Panama in January 2016. We might have been able to find a house sit, but the travel costs would have outweighed the benefits of being stationary. Plus, we had to get State-side for a February/March sit anyway.

Here’s a quick breakdown of our accommodation costs:

May – Aug – House sits booked from Saskatoon to Vancouver – no hotels, only one night at friends in Alberta.
Apr 2016 – Cross-Canada road trip – 3 nights (to get from Toronto to Saskatoon for house sit) = $173.78
Feb 2016 – Two night road trip to Savannah/St. Augustine = $142.26
Jan 2016 – Month’s Rent in Panama (30 days) = $500
Aug 2015 – One night stay/road trip before Panama City House sit = $40
Jun 2015 – Road trip – (4 nights) between Panama house sits = $177.18
Nov 2015 – One night stay in Managua, Nicaragua before early morning flight to Panama = $36.25

In total for 41 nights we paid $1069.47, averaging $26.08 per night. That’s not too shabby, especially if you saw the comfy confines of our 30 days in Panama City! *Note, we also did some social media work for the person we stayed with in Panama City, so kind of bartered there too.

While house sitting has been an amazing way for us to both travel and see new places at a relatively low cost, you do need to have some money available for such instances like the above, or for an emergency, for that matter.

What do you mean “emergency”?

Well, there could be an instance where your house sit falls through at the last minute, or the dates could change during your house sit (owners return early). It could be a myriad of reasons (death, cancellation, horribly uncontrollable bout of irritable bowel syndrome…) so you may have to rely on both your network and your wallet!

But house sitting has been ideal for us and it can be for you too, whether you’re a home owner or a wannabe house sitter. So pick up a copy of Sell All Your Stuff and Become a House Sitter, complete with a NEWLY ADDED BONUS of yet ANOTHER secret stash of PAID house sits that NOBODY talks about!!!) Muuah-ah-ah-ah. Sorry, just wanted to do that creepy, evil-dude laugh thing.

Now go sell all your stuff and house sit!


8 thoughts on “Homeless? What To Do Between House Sitting Gigs”

  1. I had my first house-sitting assignment a few days ago. I was really lucky as it was in the beautiful village of Saint Paul de Vence, in a luxurious provencal “mas”, with a little Cairn Terrier female who fell in love with my westie Jahan. I could return to Nice, Cannes, Monaco, Menton, Saint Raphael, and also stopped close to Montpellier in Saint Guilhem le désert. A very nice place also.

  2. Wow! It’s great that’s you’ve had such small periods of “homelessness” on your house sitting journey! Are you primarily doing short-term house sits?

    1. Hi Heather, We primarily take on longer term house sits from 1 – 3 months. We do take shorter sits for a week or two if they can help us fill gaps.

      1. Hey Shelly – thanks for answering! We’ve definitely found longer term sits to be a better fit for us, too. It can be a great way to really get to know a place – and actually get work done 😉

  3. Hi Shelly,
    It’s great that you add your actual spending numbers. Doing so gives perspective for anyone who is considering extended travel.
    Traditionally travel was only for the wealthy, and that picture has drastically changed! It can be less expensive to travel than to stay home.
    Thanks for showing us how!

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