Helpful Tips For Travel, House Siting & Animal Care

The Cheapest Place to Fly into Europe 2019

Top 3 Cheapest Places to Fly Into Europe

Position

Country

Airport

Get Flights

Spain

Barajas Airport (MAD)

Poland

Warsaw Chopin Airport (WAW)

Italy

Linate Airport (LIN)  & Malpensa Airport (MXP)

For most travellers Europe is a must go destination. If not the first destination on their travel bucket list.

Its an area that can basically fit inside the continent of Australia. Within in this area you have around 50 countries.

These 50 odd countries are very well connected, and cheap to get between. This accessibility and ease makes Europe a dream destination for travellers of all walks of life.

One of the biggest costs is getting to Europe itself, so what is the cheapest place to fly into Europe?

The Cheapest Place to Fly Into Europe 2019

Madrid, Spain

Airport: Barajas Airport, Madrid, Spain (MAD)
Airline: Be sure to use a flight fare compare website as quite a few European airlines fly here. Prices do fluctuate, however you can get some really cheap one way tickets if you keep your eyes peeled. 
Why so cheap? Barajas Airport is the 4th largest airport in Europe and definitely the busiest in Spain. With a high turnover they are able to keep prices low and pass that onto the consumer.

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The Cheapest Places to Fly Into Europe 2019

cheapest place to fly into europe

Its no secret that Europe can be very expensive. Especially for those coming from countries that do not have the US Dollar or Pound.

When travelling with a currency that is not so strong against the Euro every money saving tip counts. We love a good sneaky travel tip and each one can make a huge difference over a few months.

We managed to save a lot of money by learning how to be house sitters. Imagine never having to pay for accommodation ever again!

We have came up with a list of our top cheapest places to fly into Europe, we hope this helps you save some money for more travels

The Other Cheapest Places to Fly Into Europe 2019

Warsaw, Poland

Airport: Warsaw Chopin Airport, Warsaw, Poland (WAW)
Airline: 
Be sure to use a flight fare compare website as quite a few European airlines fly here. Prices do fluctuate, however you can get some really cheap one way tickets if you keep your eyes peeled. 
Why so cheap?
Poland has lower taxes as well as operating costs, so naturally the savings are passed on to the consumer! A perfect contender for one of the cheapest places to fly into Europe.

Milan, Italy

Airport: Linate Airport (LIN) and Malpensa Airport (MXP)
Airline: Emirates.
Why so cheap? Rome is generally one of the most expensive cities in Italy to fly into because of its popularity, Milan is a great cheaper option and will be a less touristy welcome into Italy.. And you can never go wrong with a flight with Emirates and their amazing service. While in Italy why not check out the Amalfi Coast.

Budapest, Hungary

Airport: Ferenc Liszt International Airport, Budapest (BUD)
Airline: Finnair and Aeroflot often have cheap flights into Budapest, however as Budapest is quickly becoming a hotspot lots of airlines are starting to do cheap flights from all European destinations. Before booking make sure you check compare websites as there is always last minute cheap seats going.
Why so cheap? Budapest in general is a really cheap city. This is partly from Hungary having their own currency (The Hungarian forint) Perfect for those backpackers & travellers trying to get the most out of their money. Defiantly one of the Cheapest places to fly into Europe.

Istanbul, Turkey

Airport: Atatürk Airport Istanbul  (IST)
Airline: Turkish Airlines.
Why so cheap? Turkish Airlines are known for having super competitive fares throughout the world. As they use Istanbul as their main hub you can get some awesomely cheap flights in! 
Side note: Do keep in mind you will need to apply for a tourist visa online before you arrive in Turkey.
This is around £25 (However this can change depending on your passport/country of origin).

Dublin, Ireland

Airport: Dublin International Airport (DUB)
Airline: 
Aer Lingus and Ryanair.
Why so cheap? 
Aer Lingus and Ryanair are two of the cheapest operators serving Europe. Just like Poland, Dublin has lower taxes as well as operating costs, so naturally the savings are passed on to the consumer! 
Side note: 
Dublin is one of the cheapest places to fly into Europe, however Dublin itself is a very expensive city. When in Dublin why not check out these amazing pet friendly pubs & cafes?

Moscow, Russia

Airports: Sheremetyevo International Airport (SVO)
Airline: 
Aeroflot Airlines.
Why so cheap? 
Russia’s own Aeroflot Airlines another of the cheapest airlines running in Europe
Side note: 
To enter Russia you must have a tourist visa, keep in mind that Russia is one of the most difficult countries to obtain a visa for so research is essential before booking a flight! Tourist visas are around £70.

Don't Forget Your Cheap Accommodation!

The Cheapest Airports To Fly Into In The United States 2019

Top 3 Cheapest Airports to Fly into United States 

Position

City

Airport

Get Flights

Portland

Portland International Airport (PDX)

Denver

Denver International Airport (DEN)

Tampa

Tampa International Airport (TPA)

To me travelling is one of the best things in the world. Nothing beats exploring new streets, watching the sunset from a new looking, meandering a local market and who could forget stuffing your face with new & exciting food finds.

The one part of travelling I don't like, is the price of plane tickets. Sure there are great sites like Skyscanner & Secret Flying that help you find the cheapest flight to some of your favourite destinations. But they do not always find a great deal for every place you want to go.

The United States has just over 370 commercial airports, this is a huge number of destinations. Some of these airports like Honolulu International are (not surprisingly) very expensive to fly into.

However, the good old United States of America has some tricks up it sleeve and is home to some of the cheaper airports to fly into anywhere in the world!

The Cheapest Airport to Fly into United States 

Portland International Airport (PDX)

Airport Location: Portland, Oregon
Average Domestic Fare: $324

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cheap airports to fly into

The Cheapest Airports to Fly into the United States 

1. Portland International Airport (PDX)

Airport Location: Portland, Oregon
Average Domestic Fare: $324

Portland International is not only a fantastic destination for those trying to save a little bit of cash, its also holds the title of 'America's Best Airport' by Travel + Leisure magazine. Not just in 2017 but dating all the way back to 2013. That's impressive.

The airport has great links to downtown Portland with a light rail which connects passengers to 97 stations in the city. They also have a movie theater, live performers, art exhibitions and lots of other great activities if you have some time to kill before a flight. They also have free WIFI throughout their terminals.

2. Denver International Airport (DEN)

Airport Location: Denver, Colorado
Average domestic fare: $312

Denver International Airport is the largest airport in the United States by total land area, it also claims the title of the longest public use runway in the United States. There is just over 370 daily departures to around 140 destinations worldwide, that results in a massive 58 million passengers per year.

Denver International Airport has lots of artwork that has been the centre of lots of conspiracy theories. Definitely an interesting way to spend a few hours on a layover.

Dog lovers will have a great time at Denver International Airport, they have a pet resort that includes a world class boarding facility, pet massage facilities and even an outdoor area where your little fury friend can have a run or do their business before the flight.

3. Tampa International Airport (TPA)

Airport Location: Tampa, Florida.
Average Domestic Fare: $312

Tampa international Airport is not the biggest airport in the world, however, it does rank the highest in the J.D Power Airport Satisfaction Rankings for large airports in 2017. Impressive.

Not only is Tampa International one of the cheapest in the USA, its home to a sleeping/ quiet area, a well stocked library, all the travel services you could ever need and big well kept amenities to keep you looking and feeling your best.

4. Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)

Airport Location: Phoenix, Arizona.
Average domestic fare: $327

Phoenix Sky Harbour International Airport or 'The Farm' is one of the Untied States largest airports, serving a massive 43 million passengers per year. The airport also claims one of the top 4 spots in the North American Airport Satisfaction Study 2017.

The really cool thing about this airport is the amount of artwork that is housed in its terminals. The terminals house 900 works of art ranging from metal and ceramic sculptures to oil and acrylic paintings. These works are a portion of the Phoenix Museum and house works by some of Arizona's most renowned artists.

5. McCarran International Airport (LAS)

Airport Location: Las Vegas, Nevada.
Average Domestic Fare: $227

Believe it or not Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport sees the footsteps of around 47 million passengers per year. Those people are brought to the terminal via 31 major airlines from within the US and abroad.

For those who can't quite wait to get to the casino floors (or that still have money left over when they leave) McCarran International has just over 1300 slot machines, what better way to see the time go by than possibly getting money back for a free flight??

McCarran International's also got a good secret up their sleeve, its not counting cards, but it is quite a tricky move. When you check your baggage in, instead of using bar codes they use small copper radio frequency microchips. Since they have implemented this technology luggage accuracy has risen from 80 percent to over 99 percent. What is even cooler is that only a handful of airports throughout the world have this technology. Hopefully that technology gets adopted by lots more airports throughout the world.

Thinking of Heading to Europe?

Just like the US, Europe has some really budget friendly options. We have found this is more prevalent in Europe as they are a lot more smaller airlines. These airlines all have a base and need to fly regularly! So before you plan your trip make sure you find out cheapest city to fly into Europe!

6. Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)

Airport Location: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Average Domestic Fare: $241

For those of you who like to get to the airport early and check out the planes taking off, Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport is the one for you. With three great viewing platforms situated throughout the airport. My favourite is the Hibiscus Garage Viewing Area. This is a fantastic platform where you get a birds eye view over the whole airport and don't just witness the planes taking off.

FLL is also one of the only airports anywhere (that I am aware of) that offers a luggage storage service. Perfect for going to watch the planes take off, or checking out the rest of the airports activities.

They also offer a baggage wrapping service which is second to none. For the small price of $15 they will wrap your bag. This is not like a normal wrapping service. This wrap comes with a guarantee that your luggage will not get damaged or lost. That's a pretty sweet deal if you ask me.

Want More Travel Tips?

Everything You Need To Know Before Applying For An International House Sitting Assignment [February 2019]

International House Sitting All Around The World

I'm sure we are not the only ones out there who wanted to start house sitting to see the world.

well, not just to see the world, but to see the world as it is meant to be seen - like a local.

International house sitting gives you a unique opportunity to spend time in different locations.

Even better, you often get to spend weeks in different locations and get to experience all the best places to eat, drink & explore. This is thanks to the local knowledge of the homeowner. Who more often than not is very excited to show off their local area. 

We started our house sitting journey while living abroad in the UK. At the time we really wish there was a guide that we could have followed to help us out. It was difficult starting off in a foreign place with no references, guides or anything like that.

However, we figured it out. International house sitting is not the hardest thing in the world - If you are well prepared.

So that is why I have put together this guide. I want to help others start off their house sitting journey. In this guide, I will cover: 

At the time of writing this article, I am sitting in Wattay International Airport, Laos. I have just completed a house sitting assignment in Chiang Mai, Thailand (one of my favourite places of all time). 

I am waiting to board a flight to my next house sitting assignment in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I had locked in both of these house sitting assignments a few months ago and have been keeping track of the whole process to piece this guide for you.

I hope this guide helps out anyone looking to get into international house sitting, or even anyone planning on house sitting locally in your own town or country.

Let's get into it!

International House Sitting - An Overview

When we use the term international house sitting we mean a house sitting assignment that is not in your home country.

Depending on the location these assignments can be dreamy, intimidating or even a little scary. Partially if you have never been to that country before.

Applying for a house sitting assignment overseas does require a lot of research and a fair bit of planning.

However, in the end, all the hard work is well worth it.

Applying For An International House Sitting Assignment

Cats paw typing on an Apple computer

The first step to locking in any house sitting assignment is applying for the house sit.

When applying for an international house sit you need to keep a couple of things in mind.

  1. Have you ever been to this country before? Do you want to?
  2. Do you know how to speak the local language? Will it be a problem?
  3. Is this country safe?
  4. What is the cost of living there?
  5. Is the assignment friendly for your situation? (family, couples, single)
  6. Can you look after all the animals correctly?

Once you have gone through these questions in your head and you can confidently say you are happy with all of these questions apply for the sit.

Now days there can be a lot of competition for some house sitting assignments, this does depend lots on the location and the particular sit, however, in most cases you will not be the only one applying.

Therefore you need to make your application really stand out to the homeowner. Don’t just send a generic message to the homeowner. Write a thoughtful, personalized and truthful application letter. Tell the homeowner exactly why you want to look after their home and pets.

When you apply from the heart you will be surprised at the responses you get. When you do get a reply do make sure you reply straight back, you don’t want to leave a reply for a day or two and miss your chance! It is more than likely the homeowner is talking to more than one applicant!  

Committing to an International House sitting Assignment

Finding Out The Homeowners Expectations

Before committing to any house sit, particularly international house sits it is very important to talk to the homeowner about their expectations on the house sit. In my past experience i have learnt it is best to try to get on a Skype conversation with the homeowner.

Personally, I find it much easier to talk to a homeowner ‘face to face’ over video chat.

I also find that you can get a lot more information from the homeowner when talking conversationally compared to over email. Things that you should keep in mind to ask the homeowner:

  1. How often they would like to be contacted while you are on the sit
  2. How they would like to be contacted
  3. All the necessary information regarding their home and exactly what needs to be done while they are away. (gardening, pool cleaning, plant watering, mail collection, general home upkeep)
  4. What their expectations are in regards to food, internet, tv, utility bills etc

Once you have all these questions answered its time to move onto the pets.

Finding Out All The Information About The Pets

Dogs walking on the lead while international house sitting

For most homeowners, the most important part of the house sitting assignment is their animals.

Most homeowners treat their little fur babies like their own children (sometimes even better than their children). They want to ensure that they are cared for right while they are gone.

Before you even consider being a house sitter you need to ask yourself do you really love animals? Before you commit to a house sitting assignment you need to think if you can care for the animals.

Ask yourself if you have had experience with that animal or particular breed before. If you haven’t had much experience with some animals or breeds this can potentially cause big issues on the sit. 

When talking to the homeowner about their animals some questions to ask can include:

  1. The age of the animal/s
  2. If the animal/s have any medical conditions and if they take any medication
  3. If they do take medication, does the animal make it difficult or are they ok taking tablets / taking injections.
  4. A breakdown of what the animal's usual day-to-day schedule is. Ask for walking schedule, feeding schedule, what the animal usually does through the day.
  5. Where the animal sleeps (will you be ok if the animal sleeps on your bed at night?)
  6. Any off-limits areas for the animals

Once you have all these questions answered you can then think to yourself if this house sitting assignment is for you and if you can exceed the homeowner's expectations while looking after their home and animals.

What Are The Visa Requirements?

Before committing to, or for that matter even applying for an international house sit, make sure you know what the visa situation is for that country for the entire duration of your sit.

What type of visa you will need will differ from country to country, the length of your stay, and what the passport is that you are travelling on is. Be sure to do the proper research into this.

Make sure you get your information from a government website. Your countries embassy will have all the information you need regarding what country you are planning on house sitting in.

Keep in mind the duration of your potential house sit, will it go for longer than you can stay in the country for on your visa?

Passport with visa

Working Holiday or Student Visa

Are you going to need to work while on the house sit? Will you be a student studying while sitting? Either of these things will change what kind of visa you will need. It will also change the visa application process.

Generally, a working holiday visa or a student visa will take a lot more time to get than a tourist visa or a visa on arrival.

When finding out information regarding visas always make sure you are using government websites, the last thing you want to do is take advice from someone online who doesn't really know what they are talking about.

Tourist Visa

Will you be completing the sit as a tourist? You will need to find out how the tourist visa process works for the country you will be sitting in.

Some countries offer a visa on arrival which means you don’t have to apply for anything before arriving at immigration, however, for other countries, you will need to apply for a tourist visa in advance.

Again I can not stress enough to make sure you are getting your information regarding visas from a trustworthy (government) source.

Unfortunately advising immigration that you were told by someone on Facebook you don’t need to complete your visa in advance does not cut it!

Do You Need To Plan Your Visa Before You Leave Home?

I will reiterate this one more time (it really is that important).

Find out if you need to apply for your visa in advance before landing in the country. You don’t want to be that house sitter who doesn’t show up for their assignment because you were turned around at the border.

Make sure you know what visa you need, and also what other documents you need to go along with your application. This all can be anything from proof of funds to ongoing travel documents.

Also keep in mind that some countries require you to have 6 months (sometimes 1 year) left on  your passport before it expires to be let into the country, again make sure you do your research into this before it's too late.

If you have to get an emergency passport a week before you sit, it is going to cost you a lot!

The Costs Involved With International House Sitting

Question mark written on book

There are a lot of costs involved with international house sitting. Once you leave your home country things do start to add up.

A lot of the time there is no way around these costs and it is just something that goes with this lifestyle. Some of the more important costs to think about before international house sitting include.

Does The Homeowner Pay For My Travel?

Without a doubt this is the number 1 question I get asked.

Unfortunately the answer is no 99% of the time. I'm sure there are cases where the homeowner has covered the cost of travel, but unfortunately, that is not common practice.

All travel costs will come down to you. Costs to keep in mind:

  1. Your visa (taxes, application fees, entry fees)
  2. Passport (new passport, passport renewal)
  3. Airline costs (taxes, ticket, luggage and food)
  4. Transportation to and from airports (from your home to the airport, transfers at airports, transportation from the airport to the house sitting assignment
  5. Return or ongoing flights
  6. Travel insurance 

The reality is travel can be expensive, think about how much you will be spending before you commit to the house sit. Can you afford flights to the house sit? 

How Do We Find The Cheapest Flights to House Sitting Jobs?

''To find the cheapest flights we often use Jet Radar, they are a platform that searches multiple airline and travel sites to find you the best flight deals.''

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is generally something that is overlooked when thinking about house sitting internationally.

Depending on the country, the duration and exactly what policy you will be requiring travel insurance can get quite expensive. However, travel insurance is something that is very necessary when travelling abroad particularly when you will be looking after someone else's home and animals. 

It is always cheaper to look into and purchase travel insurance before you leave on your trip. Do make sure your policy covers you for everything you will be doing while you will be on your house sitting assignment.

Will you be riding scooters, driving, surfing, bike riding, snowboarding, horse riding or skydiving while you are away? Make sure your policy covers these things if you are. They will generally make your policy more expensive. However, still much, much cheaper than a trip to the hospital in a foreign country.

What Do We use To Get The best Travel Insurance Cover?

''We use World Nomads for all of our travel insurance. This is for both long term yearly cover and short trips to house sitting assignments in different countries"

Money For The Duration of Your House Sit

This one is a little bit of a no brainer, but make sure you have enough money for the duration of your house sitting assignment.

Find out how much you will need for the entire duration of your stay. There are some really good tools out there these days to find out the general cost of living for most cities in the world.

Calculate how much you will need and even make a budget for while you will be there, you will be surprised how much you can save when you have a budget. 

"We like to use Nomadlist to calculate an estimate for how much it is going to cost us to live in a particular city. The platform is updated often and has lots of good information other than just the cost of living."

Emergency Funds

It's never fun thinking about what if something goes wrong, but it's essential that you think about what if all goes pear-shaped and I have to go home ASAP.

Anytime that you are travelling abroad it is smart to have an emergency fund, make sure you have enough to be able to get yourself home that day.

The last thing you want to be doing is putting an emergency flight home on your credit card. 

Planning Your Transportation

A blue and yellow Tuk Tuk in Thailand

How Will You Get To The House Sitting Assignment

When arriving in a new country, partially foreign countries it can be difficult to get your bearings and find your way anywhere.

The key here is to do your proper research before you leave. The homeowner should be able to help you out with your best options for transportation or even in best case be able to pick you up from somewhere. However, it is best to not rely on that.

When it comes to planning your route to the house sit Google Maps, or an offline maps application like Maps.me can be your best friend for finding your way to a new house sitting assignment.

You will need to figure out if you will catch a taxi, Uber, Grab, public transport, or shuttle from the airport. In some places, it is a cheaper (and faster) option to Uber, especially if you have more than one person with you.

The best thing to do is do your own research on your specific location.

Do You Need an International Drivers Licence?

Depending on what drivers licence you hold and what country you are going to there will be different rules regarding you driving. If you are planning on hiring a car or a scooter for the duration of your house sit this is something you will need to look into.

For example, my last house sit in Thailand required me to take the cat to the vet every day and asked if I would like to take her scooter. However, in Thailand, you require an international drivers licence (mine had expired around 2 months ago) so I had to decline her offer and opted to walk instead.

Is it safe to drive in the country of the house sit?

Take Thailand again for example. There are lots and lots of other cars/ scooters on the road and it's not the safest driving environment for a foreigner - the police are also fairly corrupt and will target foreigners and fine them for next to nothing.

Sometimes it's best to avoid driving all together to avoid finding yourself in a bad situation.

Will You Be Using The Homeowners Vehicle?

Car sitting in driveway

Has the homeowner offered you their car to make life easier for you (and the pets) while on a sit?

It is an overwhelmingly nice gesture and is something that doesn’t happen too often, however, when it does make sure you are on the ball with what you need to know.

The Local Road Rules

Different countries have different road rules, some are not so different from your home country - take Australia and New Zealand for example.

In both countries, you drive on the left-hand side of the road and nearly every road rule is the same. However some countries road rules are very, very different.

To be safe it always pays to get a copy of the local road rules (many of which can be found online) and read up on them.

Do You Have The Right Licence?

I will use New Zealand and Australia as an example again.

As a New Zealander holding a full New Zealand drivers licence I can drive in Australia for up to 3 months without needing to get an international or Australian drivers licence.

If i opt for swapping my licence over it is as simple as going into the local Department of Transportation Office, doing an eye test and paying the transferal fee. Easy. I have an Australian licence. The hardest part is waiting for 2 - 3 hours while your number is called.

However, somewhere like Thailand, I require an international drivers licence. In New Zealand to get an international drivers licence you need to apply along with your required documents and send it away, this process can take a few weeks to get everything sorted out. 

So do your own research and be aware of your licence and the conditions of driving in another country long before going.

Insurance

Does your travel insurance cover driving a motor vehicle? It's better to find this out before you even think about driving someone else vehicle.

Does the homeowner's insurance cover you driving their motor vehicle?

In a lot of countries, it is illegal for you to drive someone else's car without insurance. Often this will mean the homeowner will need to call their insurance company and register you as a driver of their car and add you to their policy.

If that is the case you will need to speak with the homeowner and come up with an agreement for who will be paying for that insurance cost.

Fuel

If you are driving the homeowner's car - who will be paying for petrol? This is again something that you and the homeowner will need to discuss.

Often times when you are driving the car for errands of the homeowner you will not need to, but if you are out on a leisure trip you will need to pay for petrol.

On Road Costs

Will you be going through toll roads? What if the car breaks down or you need to service the car?

Again these are all things that will differ from sit to sit and you will need to discuss and come to an agreement with the homeowner over.

Car or Scooter Hire

Will you be renting a car or scooter for the duration of your trip? If you are this is something that you will have to pay for and is not something that the homeowner has to concern themselves with.

As an applicant of an international house sit you need to be aware that in some circumstances you will need to get yourself transportation if the house sit is not in a larger city.

This is another cost that you may need to plan for.

Payment

Does The Homeowner Pay You For House Sitting?

This is the second most asked question we get.

Unfortunately unless you are sitting in the USA, you are not paid for your house sitting assignment. I have never sat in the US before so I don’t really know how it works overthere. (I will update this after my first house sit in the USA)  

But to be honest I would feel very weird charging someone to look after their home and pets. House sitting is a neutral agreement between the homeowner and the house sitter and both parties get a good benefit from the agreement.

The homeowner has someone who can look after their home and pets in a way that a kennel/cattery and someone coming to check on their home just can’t provide.

Homeowners also save a lot of money on expensive kennel/cattery fees. 

For the house sitter, you get free accommodation, and in my eyes, there is no need for money to ever change hands.

Like a lot of full time house sitters, I have a day job which I work remotely from. So when I am house sitting I am earning a living wage.

I am more than happy to house sit for free accommodation and for the joy of hanging out animals all day. I have worked hard upskilling myself to be able to work from anywhere, at anytime, on my own terms.

If you are looking to internationally house sit long term upskilling yourself to work this way is potentially something that you should look into.

For me house sitting is not about making money it is about travelling and having the opportunity to enjoy the company of pets as I see the world.

Do I Pay For Bills When House Sitting?

This is something that will differ from house sit to house sit. You will need to speak with each homeowner about this.

Sometimes homeowners will be happy to cover all bills while you are looking after their home but will ask you to 'go easy' on the air conditioning or the water.

This is understandable and something that I am very cautious over regardless.

For longer sits, more often than not the homeowner might ask you to chip in for the bills, mainly things like Wifi, heating, air conditioning or water, which is understandable too.

The best thing to do to avoid any awkward situations when the bills come is to talk to the homeowner about this stuff before committing to the sit.

Safety When House Sitting

Dog In A Safe Neighourhood

Pet Safety

Do you know what to do if your animals get in trouble?

It is highly recommended that you complete an animal first aid course before you head out on your first house it. You never know when it might just save an animals life. 

Do I need To Get Vaccinations?

Depending on what country the house sit is in you might need to get vaccinated. This is something that you will need to do in advance and something that you will need to think about budget wise.  

For most first world countries you should be fine, however, it does pay to look into this wherever you are going.

Think about if there have been any recent outbreaks of disease or if there are any serious health risks about where you are planning to go. 

The Language Barrier

Will you be able to communicate with the locals or get by in day-to-day life where the house sit is going to be?

When travelling it always pays to at least try and learn the very basics of the local language.

This has many benefits and is something that you should seriously consider before applying for an international house sit.

General Safety of The Area

Is the area safe that you are going to?

Safety is a big concern for any travellers and this can be broken down into the following:

  • Personal safety - Are you going alone? Is the location safe for someone who is going to be travelling alone? 
  • Location safety - Is the location safe? Think weather-wise, political climate wise and general area safety of the home.
  • Animal safety - Is the area you are going to be house sitting animal safe? Take Australia for example. When house sitting in summer and you are walking dogs you have to be very aware that Australia has poisonous snakes (among other poisonous animals). You need to be very careful if you are walking the dog off lead and stay vigilant at all times. 

What Happens in An Emergency Situation on an International House Sitting Assignment

Help written in matches

Sometimes bad things happen and there is nothing you can do about it. There are two different scenarios where this can happen.

An On-sit Emergency

What happens if something happens to the home while the homeowner is away?

This is something that you need to discuss with the homeowner. You need to make sure the home and contents are covered while you are going to be looking after the home.

Make sure you have all the local emergency numbers. This includes fire, police, ambulance.

What happens if something happens to the pet while the homeowner is away? Make sure that you discuss this with homeowners.

Every homeowner will tackle this issue differently. At the very least you need to make sure you are at the very least prepared with the local vet's details.

A Natural Disaster

Somethings are even more out of our hands, what if there is a flood, earthquake, hurricane, tsunami or eruption? Make sure you are aware of any potential natural disaster threats and are aware of the steps you need to take if something does happen.

Think about pet safety, home safety and personal safety.

At the very least you want to know what the local natural disaster process is, every town should have action plans in place for each different type of natural disaster that could potentially occur in the area.

An Emergency Back Home

What if there is an emergency back home that you need to go back home for? This is something to think about particularly for single house sitters especially.

When house sitting as a couple it is not such a big deal because there is always someone who could stay at the sit until the end.

As awkward as it may be, bring this up with the homeowner if you are travelling alone - is there someone who could step in for you if you MUST go home? Or are their alternative arrangements you could make?

Is International House Sitting For You?

Human high 5 with a cat

I think (hope) I have covered everything that I can think of regarding what you need to know when thinking about international house sitting.

Depending on the location you are going it can take a lot of planning. There is a lot of information and things to think about in this post - this post was not designed to scare away anyone from house sitting internationally but to make you aware of the planning that is involved.

House sitting is a great lifestyle and one that is very rewarding and exciting.

You get to see the world in a different way to traditional travel. With the right planning, anyone can start house sitting in any country. If that is for a full time lifestyle, for a holiday getaway or as a cheap retirement option. 

How To Find Your First International House Sitting Assignment

There are several different places that we would recommend for finding an international house sit.

The platforms below are where we find most of our house sitting assignments.

If you would like a more in-depth breakdown of each site you can check out our guide to the best house sitting sites to see which one might be right for you.

  1. Trusted House Sitters
  2. Aussie House Sitters
  3. Mind A Home
  4. House Carers

Although you can not apply for sits when you are not a member of a platform you can have brows around first - this is a great way of seeing what is available on each platform before purchasing a membership.

One great site that we use is called House Sit Search, you put in your dates and location and it searches most of the house sitting platforms out there and brings back all of the results.

This saves you a lot of time looking through various different platforms for a house sit.

What To Do After  Your House Sitting Assignment

This is also something we get asked alot.

Once the house sitting assignment is over what do you do? Obviously we can't line up house sits perfectly one after another everytime.

Generally we will have a few days or weeks between assignments. We use this time to explore a country further, or catch up on work. 

Unfortunately that means we do have to pay for accommodation sometimes.

Generally we will use Airbnb for accommodation when we are not house sitting.

It is often the cheapest option out there and it allows us to get a comfortable home that we can get work done (unfortunately working out of a hostel usually just isn't comfortable or productive).

If you have never used Airbnb before click on the below link and get a big discount of $45 AUD off your first stay.

New To House Sitting? We Would Love To Help You!

As you can probably tell from this post we absolutely love house sitting. It has allowed us to travel and live in different destinations all around the world.

We intend to keep on house sitting for the foreseeable future and love spreading the word and helping others start their own amazing journey. 

We hope this post inspires, helps and encourages people to get out there and start house sitting. Whether that be locally or internationally.

Do you have any questions about house sitting? Or is there anything that we can help you with on your house sitting journey? Leave a comment, send us an email or get involved in our Facebook community!

Jay - (The guy at the Christmas table trying to convince everyone to start house sitting!)

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Our Favourite House Sitting Websites: Reviewed [February 2019]

Over the past few months, we have had an increasing number of people ask us how we get our house sits or how to find a house sitter . So we have put together a list of house sitting websites we use & recommend.

There are several ways that we get in touch with homeowners or vice versa.

Firstly,  we are often contacted is through our website contact form or social media accounts. We are very active on Instagram and are gaining a strong following on our newly formed Facebook community group. 

Secondly, 95% of our house sits are through house sitting websites that we have signed up to, see our favourites below!

Over the past couple of years, we have trialled many and have slowly started to figure out what one work best for us in different countries. So let's get started on your house sitting journey!

Brittnay & Jay 🙂

How to become a house sitter

The best house sitting websites (We have Discovered)!

Countries: International.
Membership Fee: $129.00 USD for both homeowners and house sitters. 
Website: www.trustedhousesitters.com

Trusted Housesitters is one of the most well known platforms out there. They have got a huge range of sits all over the world. We have used Trusted Housesitters for sits in Australia, Ireland, The United Kingdom and New Zealand.

This platform is increasingly getting more and more popular which is great because there are lots more homes on offer, however for every new home on the platform, there seem to be 5 more house sitters applying. 

Trusted House Sitters also provide extensive resources on how to become a pet sitter! They have everything from how to land your first sits to information regarding house sitting agreements. 

Trusted House Sitters Pros

  • Well established and well-known platform
  • Very easy to use platform and functions
  • Big team and profession feel
  • check
    24/7 customer services and vet advice line
  • check
    Wide variety of homes worldwide

Trusted House Sitters Cons

  • $129 USD membership fee
  • High competition on house sitting assignments

Overall Paw Rating 5/5

2. Kiwi House Sitters

Countries: New Zealand only.
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $84 NZD for house sitters.
Website: www.kiwihousesitters.co.nz

Kiwi House Sitters is a sister website of Aussie House Sitters. This is the website that we mainly use when in New Zealand. In New Zealand people seems to stay away from the bigger websites and stay local. 

The platform and functionality is basically the same as Aussie House Sitters. They have great options for filtering house sits and you can really customise what you are looking for. 

Kiwi House Sitters Pros

  • Lots of house sits - We often get contacted by homeowners
  • Reasonable membership fee
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    Easy to use and good looking platform

Kiwi House Sitters Pros

  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 

Overall Paw Rating 4/5 

Found The Perfect House Sit? But its In Another Country?

Jetradar is a site that we book 99% of out flights with, they are the best platform for finding the best flight deals on the internet!

Jetradar Logo


We have also made a list of the cheapest airports to fly out of around the world to help you pick the best destinations!

3. Mindahome

Countries: Australian
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $59 AUD for house sitters.
Website: https://mindahome.com.au

We find that Mindahome always has a lot of options within Australia! It a similar sign up fee to other in the Aussie market. 

The platform has a really nice clean design which isn't a pain in the backside to use like some others. We also have found that the team is super responsive which we really like!

Mindahome Pros

  • A very cheap membership fee for house sitters
  • Huge array of sits to apply for 
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    Easy to use and good looking platform
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    Really helpful staff

Mindahome Cons

  • Like some other sites, the homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 

Overall Paw Rating 4/5

4. House Carers 

Countries: International.
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners. $55USD for house sitters. 
Website: https://www.housecarers.com/

House Carers is a website that we have also used to lock in house sits in Australia, Ireland, The United Kingdom and New Zealand. They where the first platform set up to bring homeowners and house sitters together back in 2000. So they know a thing or two about what both house sitters and homeowners want in terms of website features.

However, the platform does have an old school - outdated feel to it compared to some other platforms out there.One feature that we really love is the house sit notifcations. You can set up custom notifications for certin areas so you never miss applying for a sit. 

The video feature on House Carers is a fantastic way to show homeowners your real self. Other platforms only offer a write-up and photos, which to be honest don’t always portray you how you would really like to be portrayed. 

House Carers Pros

  • Lots of options to upload a review, photos, videos, references, and safety checks
  • Very reasonible membership price
  • House Carers have a great Facebook community to share ideas with other house sitters
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    A brilliant house sit notification function
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    Very well trusted and one of the first platforms on the internet

House Carers Cons

  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage
  • The platform is quite outdated and can be difficult to navigate for first timers

Overall Paw Rating 4/5

Not Sure Where To Stay Between House Sits? 

We always use Airbnb! 
We give a big discount if you sign up here. That also means  you have more money for the good things in life, like  cheese , wine & travel

Airbnb Logo

5. Aussie House Sitters

Countries: Australia only.
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $84 AUD for house sitters.
Website: https://www.aussiehousesitters.com.au

Aussie House Sitters is our go-to website for house sits in Australia. They have the best range of all platforms for house sits in Australia. They offer an easy to use and simple platform which to be honest we have not really found any real fautlts with.

They also have a great community page on Facebook where they share house sits and information. 

Aussie House Sitters Pros

  • Lots of house sits - We often get contacted by homeowners on this platform
  • Reasonable membership fee

Aussie House Sitters Cons

  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 

Overall Paw Rating 5/5

6. Mind My House

Countries: International House Sitting ​Platform
Membership Fee: Free for homeowners and $20 USD for house sitters.
Website: https://www.mindmyhouse.com/

Mind My House is one of the original house sitting websites. It has been around since the start. Because of their cheap membership fees, they have a lot of house sitters on the platform so competition can be tough. (as of right now there is 230 availible house sits and 4,000 availible house sitters!) 

The platform has a great user experience and from their email updates are currently mid way through upgrading the whole platform - so watch this space on an update. They also have a strong community which is great for sharing experiences, tips and pictures! Mind My House also has an alerts option, so you can never miss a listing in your favourite locations.

They are an international website, however, most listings are in the United States or Europe. 

Mind My House Pros

  • They are a well-established platform who have been around since the very start
  • A very cheap membership fee for house sitters
  • Free for homeowners which means more house sits are listed
  • check
    Easy to use and good looking platform
  • check
    Alert system

Mind My House Cons

  • The number of house sitters outweighs homeowners, so there is a lot of competition
  • Homeowners don’t need to pay for a membership, so for house sitters, there is a bit of a feeling that the homeowner doesn’t take the assignment as seriously and could cancel at any stage 

Overall Paw Rating 4/5

Need Travel Insurance For Your Next Sit?

We always use World Nomads for our travel insurance. They cover most countries and every activity at a very affordable price.

Need More House Sitting Info? Get in Touch! 

Don't Forget To Share With Others!

Check Out Our Other House Sitting Information

Trusted House Sitters Review: The Platform We Have Saved Thousands on Accommodation Worldwide With [February 2019 Review]

Trusted House Sitters Reviews

We have been house sitting for over three years now and we have completed 20 house sits.

These house sitting assignments cover the United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, Thailand and Malaysia.

One of the questions we get asked the most is how do we find our house sitting jobs.

Its a mixture of a few different platforms, however, most of our assignments come from Trusted House Sitters.

As Trusted House Sitters is one of the most popular platforms out there right now, we figured we should do a Trusted House Sitters review to give potential new users our first hand experience using the online house sitting platform.

This review is in no way sponsored or endorsed by Trusted House Sitters.

Therefore it won’t be one of those bias Trusted House Sitters reviews that only touches on all the positives of the platform.

However, throughout this post, we do have affiliate links and discounts. These are for the benefit both you and us.

In this post I will be covering:

Well then, enough mucking around, let's get into our Trusted House Sitters Review!

What is Trusted House Sitters?

At this point, some of you might be wondering ‘What is Trusted House Sitters?’.

Essentially Trusted House Sitters is an online (and now mobile) platform that links homeowners with house sitters.

It was first launched to 2010 and has been one of the most popular house sitting platforms since.

Most often you hear people explaining it as ‘the Airbnb of house sitting’. Which is true in a way but at the same time they are two very, very different platforms. 

How Does Trusted House Sitters Work?

The idea of Trusted House Sitters is fairly basic.

Each potential house sitter sets up their own profile. This is a fully customizable profile which you can add as much or as little information about yourself / yourselves as you want.

This includes pictures, videos and references.

The Travelling House Sitters Trusted House Sitters Profile

The homeowner on the other hand, sets up their own profile and posts up their house sitting assignment. This would include all the necessary information potential sitters need  to decide if they should apply or not. Homeowners will generally include information such as:

  • House sit dates
  • House sit location
  • Details of all the animals. Including any medication and specific walking/ feeding schedules
  • Photos of the home and animals
  • Details of the area
  • Any special requests for the sit

Once the homeowner has posted the house sitting assignment, the potential house sitters apply for the sit.

Applying is as simple as writing a message to the homeowner on their messaging platform.

From there it is generally up to the homeowner and the sitter how things progress.

In our past experience, it is usually several emails followed up by a Skype call or two if it is an out of town or international house sit.

If it is a local house sit assignment we would usually meet up to continue discussing the details of the sit.

Jay & Arlo on a house sit on Melbourne

Jay & his favourite dog, Arlo the Groodle

Our Experience With Trusted House Sitters

Of our 20 odd house sits we have under our belts now, 10 of them have been through Trusted House Sitters.

We actually locked in our first housesitting assignment with Trusted House Sitters. This was when we were living in London.

One of our friends was housesitting for a friend while they went away over Christmas, we thought it was the coolest idea ever so we got Googling and Found Trusted House Sitters.

We set ourselves up a profile and got applying for house sits that were in the next destination we had a working holiday visa for, Ireland.

We applied for over 20 housesits that where within the 8 months we were planning to be in Ireland for.

Unfortunately for us, lots of these house sits had over 20 applications so our hopes were not high considering we had no reviews on Trusted House Sitters yet.

Fortunately for us, we got 3 replies from the 20 odd applications we sent, this was better than the strike rate we had heard from others using this platform.

We exchanged several emails with each homeowner which eventually led onto Skype conversations. We managed to land 2/3 housesitting assignments and were excited for the next few months to pass so we could start our new housesitting adventure.

Overall we had a good first experience with Trusted House Sitters. It was straight forward and the site provided a platform which served its purpose perfectly.

Brittnay and Georgie the Weimaraner on a sit in Melbourne

The Travelling House Sitters Trusted House Sitters Review

The Overall First Impression

Starting from when you first land on the homepage of Trusted House Sitters you will notice is one of the better-looking platforms out there.

Some of the platforms out there look like they were created at the start of the internet or have a weird very cartoonish feel to them.

Trusted House Sitters has a professional feel to it and is easy to navigate for first-time users. It genuinely feels as though it has been designed around the user having a good experience.

Creating your profile is simple and its good to have the option of putting in as much or as little as you would like.

Creating Your House Sitter Profile

Setting up your profile on Trusted House Sitters is easy.

You get several sections to fill out selling yourself. In these sections, you get as many characters as you want to explain to potential homeowners why they should pick you as their sitters. These sections included:

  • About us
  • Why we want to house sit
  • Our experience

You also have an area to fill out more personal details about yourself such as:

  • Age
  • Occupation
  • If you are solo or travelling as a couple
  • Location preferences
  • If you have had any previous experience
  • Your availability
  • Your animal care experience

The Travelling House Sitters Trusted House Sitters Profile

The platform also has an easy to use photo uploader.

This is based on the ‘drag and drop’ or file upload methods. Both easy and straight forward to use.

A nice feature that is not seen on all house sitting platforms is the option to upload a video.

This is a great way of having the homeowner get a real feel for you before you meet up or chat over Skype.

This is one feature that we have been told by homeowners they use when looking at potential sitters before making inital contact with them.

Finding A House Sitting Assignment

The Trusted House Sitters search feature is laid out well and easy to use. You get lots of different filters and options to play with to find your perfect sit.

Trusted House Sitters House Sit Assignment Search

You get three different layouts you can choose from for your search results. Map, grid and list.

However, the map and list views seem to be the same thing. 

Trusted House Sitters Search - Grid View

Trusted House Sitters Search - Grid Layout

Trusted House Sitters Search - List View

Trusted House Sitters Search - List / Map  Layout

The Internal Messenger / Email System

When it comes to the email/messenger feature of the platform, the only fault that I can find is sometimes when you go to ’show older messages’ in an email thread it doesn’t.

This is usually fixed by exiting and re-entering a couple of times. It can be a little frustrating.

The messenger has good features such as a time stamp when your message was read and the option to label conversations as ‘like’, ‘possible’, and ‘not suitable’ for quick access to your favourite potential sits.  

You get an email notification and a notification on the platform when you get a message to your inbox. 

Trusted House Sitters Inbox

Another good feature in the email/ messenger is that you can send a group message.

This is something that I have not seen on any other platforms.

This is great if you would like to update previous homeowners of your planned travels and locations just in case they are going away around those dates and need a sitter in.

This makes life easier for both the homeowner and sitters by potentially eliminating the interview/ application process altogether!

House Sitter Reviews

Reviews are one of the most important things to a house sitter. They allow the homeowner to make a decision if they want you as their house sitter before they even talk to you.

This is great news for those who have done the hard yards and have a few sitting assignments under their belts, However, this can be quite difficult for house sitters just starting out on the platform.

Your reviews are shown towards the top of your profile (above your about me section) and feature a picture of the reviewer, dates of that particular sit, the homeowner's review and finally a star rating out of 5 for the following:

  • Organised
  • Reliable
  • Self-sufficient
  • Tidy
  • Pet care
Sample Trusted House Sitters Review

This is great if you have a few sits under your belt, your reviews can do some of the hard work for you and can save you talking yourself up to potential homeowners.

However, if you are new to the platform it does look very bare and can be a turn off for some homeowners.

This is not necessarily a flaw of the Trusted House Sitters but of the whole house sitting idea. It is based off reviews and trust - and without reviews, it can be extremely hard to land a house sit when sometimes 20+ people are applying for a sit.

Im not sure if there is anything that Trusted House Sitters could do to help new sitters land their first assignment but it could be something for them to think about going forward. 

The review process is very important to house sitters, unfortunately for homeowners it is not so important to review their sitters when they get back from their holiday.

It can be a little awkward and embarrassing to contact a homeowner to ask them if they can review you, but in some cases, it needs to be done.

On the Trusted House Sitters platform, you can send the homeowner a notification asking them to leave you a review but as I said above it can be awkward. 

Sample Trusted House Sitters Review Request

Since I am not signed up as a homeowner I can’t say exactly how the review process works, however, it would be really good if they would automatically send out an email XX days after each sit reminding them to review their sitters.

It would save on awkward conversations and feeling like you are nagging the homeowner for a review.

" To make asking for a review less awkward spark up a conversation with the homeowner asking if everything is ok with their home and animals then slip in there if they could give you a review on Trusted House Sitters when they next get a chance "

Leaving Home Owner Feedback

As the house sitter, you are also welcome to leave feedback about the homeowner.

Unfortunately, just like the review of you, this is not ‘blind’ feedback and the homeowner can see what you have written.

More often than not we will leave feedback of the homeowner/ home/ animals before they get around to leaving us a review. This is both good and bad.

It is good because if does often remind the homeowners that they need to leave a review about us.. But on the other hand, we like to leave 100% real feedback about the home, area and pets.

We do get a little concerned that if we don’t leave the homeowner 100% positive feedback they might write a review with that in mind and not give a 100% realistic review on us.

Possibly something for Trusted House Sitters to think about going forward?

Trusted House Sitters Home Owner Feedback

Homeowner Welcome Guides

Once you have locked in a house sitting assignment the homeowner can make you a welcome guide.

This guide is not compulsory for the homeowner to do but as the sitter, you can request it. 

The welcome guide is the house sitters bible. It makes the house sit extremely easy and provides you with an in-depth breakdown of the information about the home through a series of questions.

These questions are broken down into 6 different categories:

My Home

  • Contact details
  • Home details
  • Security
  • Wifi, Phone, TV & Audio
  • Plants & Garden
  • Mail
  • Photos

My Pets

  • Photos
  • Feeding instructions
  • Health & condition
  • Personality
  • Likes / Dislikes
  • House Rules
  • Toilet & Grooming
  • Anything else?

Transport

  • Car
  • Public Transport
  • Car Hire

Neighbourhood

  • Shopping for food
  • Favourite restaurants & pubs
  • Favourite cafe
  • Nice walks
  • Local attractions
  • Anything else?

Emergency & Contacts

  • Nominated people
  • A&E hospital
  • Dentist
  • Vet
  • Home repairs
  • Police
Trusted House Sitters Welcome Guide

In my eyes, a welcome guide should be a compulsory part of the homeowner's profile on Trusted House Sitters as it really does help the sitter tremendously.

Often when talking with the homeowner they will forget things that would be outlined in the welcome guide.

Another bonus to the welcome guide is the feature that you can set yourself on sit reminders.

This is great for remembering important things such as animal medication, vet visits, trash days, or any other special requests the house sitting assignment may require.

The Trusted House Sitters App

As far as I am aware at the time of writing this Trusted House Sitters Review, THS are the only house sitting platform to have a smart device App.

The THS App is now available on both IOS and Android. Again like the THS desktop version, it is very professional looking, easy to use and you essentially get the same functionality as the website.

Having an App is really good for the house sitter. For us, we are quite often on the move and do not always get access to our laptops.

Some platforms are very difficult to use on mobile and end up just frustrating you, which on the way to a sit or for finalising details of a sit is the last thing you need.

Watch this space for a more in depth Review on the Trusted House Sitters App coming soon!

Trusted House Sitters App - My Profile

The Trusted House Sitters App 'My Profile Page'

Trusted House Sitters App - My Profile

The Trusted House Sitters App 'My Dashboard'

Trusted House Sitters App - House Sit Search

The Trusted House Sitters App 'Search'

Vetline and Advice

This is a feature that thankfully we have never actually used first hand, and im going to take that as a good thing.

Essentially this is a 24 hour phone line that you can contact if you find yourself in a bad situation and don’t know what to do with your animals. 

This helpline isn’t free but would be a good backup plan if everything goes pear-shaped and you don’t have access to a local vet or animal professional.

The number is based in the UK so unless you are sitting in the UK it will cost you to call unless you use Skype or another similar service.

I can’t really say too much more than that since I have ever used the service or actually talked to anyone else who has, but this good to have that option there if you need it.

Guidelines and Forms

Trusted House Sitters also have a section called ‘Guidelines and forms’. This is a little 

  • Code of conduct - The code of conduct is essentially a list of rules that you need to adhere to when finding a house sitter, or completing the sit as a sitter.
  • House sitting agreement - This is something that we have used in the past from homeowners. It is essentially a contract between you and the homeowner covering everything regarding the sit. It is not something that is very common, however, can give the homeowner and the sitter that extra peace of mind is something did go horribly wrong throughout the sit.
  • House sitter guidelines - This is a guide for house sitters only. It covers everything from making your Trusted House Sitters profile, applying for house sits, during your sit and when your sit is coming to an end. It is a great guide for first time sitter and something that we used at the beginning of our house sitting adventure.

Additional Features of The THS Site

A cool feature of THS is the ‘My Timeline’ page. This is not really a feature that helps the user with obtaining a house sitting assignment but more of a bragging rights thing.

Nevertheless, it's a cool feature to have and something that as a house sitter you can look back on and reminisce on old sits. 

Trusted House Sitters Timeline

The Popularity of Trusted House SItters

It would be hard to do a Trusted House Sitters Review without touching on the popularity of the platform.

The popularity of Trusted House Sitters can be both a blessing and a curse.

I will start off with the negative. Obviously the more house sitters that are on a platform the harder it is to be a successful applicant.

In the two years, we have been on the platform we have noticed applicants for house sits skyrocket. This does differ from area to area and sit to sit but on a whole, there is a lot more competition out there.

I don’t know if that is because of house sittings popularity is on the rise, travellers being more money savvy or if its simply Trusted House Sitters is getting so popular because of their good name in the industry.

At the end of the day you just have to adapt and make your profile, and applications stand out more to homeowners.

On the flip side, we have also noticed there are far more house sits popping up in more locations around the world.

The growth of Trusted House Sitters is good in terms of more homeowners joining the platform and thus more locations being added onto the list of potential house sitting locations.

Need Flights To Your Next House Sitting Assignment?

''To find the cheapest flights we often use Jet Radar, they are a platform that searches multiple airline and travel sites to find you the best flight deals.''

The Trusted House SItters Membership Fee

Im not going to beat around the bush Trusted House Sitters is the most expensive platform that we use.

It is the most expensive platform that we have come across. The cost is £89.00 per year.

But to be honest, once you lock yourself into a house sit your membership fee has paid for itself, we don’t mind that membership fee because to date that small £89.00 per year has saved us thousands in accommodation costs and all the other bills that come with housing.

However, on the bright side Trusted House Sitters are one of the only platforms that don’t favour the homeowner when it comes to memberships fees.

Lots of sites seem to charge the house sitter for a membership fee and a much lower fee for homeowners (or no fee at all). 

Trusted House Sitters Pros - Overview

All-in-all Trusted House sitters have many pros going for them.

From being one of the most professional looking sites having a smart device app, a 24-hour vet helpline and the most sits worldwide they seem to have nearly all bases covered when it comes to being an all-around good house sitting platform.

Trusted House Sitters Pros

  • The option of the homeowner creating a welcome guide
  • It is the most widely used platform throughout the house sitting community
  • A professional looking and easy to use platform
  • The Trusted House Sitters IOS and Android App
  • 24 Hour Customer Service and Vet Helpline
  • Options for personalizing your profile and not having specific things you NEED to fill out
  • Good messaging platform
  • Many sitting assignments on offer worldwide
  • They do not favour homeowners when it comes to membership fees

Trusted House Sitters Cons - Overview

Like everything that is good the Trusted House Sitters platform also has its cons.

Obviously, the biggest one is the cost, but when you can essentially make that back after your first house sit by saving on accommodation is it really a con worth worrying about?

Trusted House Sitters Cons

  • The most expensive platform
  • Lots of competition for the house sitters
  • Review / feedback system could be better set up for both homeowners and house sitters

Do You Need Travel Insurance For Your Next House Sitting Assignment?

''We use World Nomads for all of our travel insurance. This is for both long term yearly cover and short trips to house sitting assignments in different countries"

Is Trusted House Sitters The Best House Sitting Platform Out There?

I not going to lie, when people ask us about house sitting and how we manage to find house sits, 9 times out of 10 we direct them to Trusted House Sitters.

If that is not enough proof that we believe Trusted House Sitters is the best house sitting platform out there I'm not sure what is.

Trusted House Sitters seems to be becoming more and more popular for both homeowners and house sitters worldwide.

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The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail – A Weekend We Will Never Forget

 

Brittnay on her bike enjoying Tour de Vines with the mountains in the background

Brittnay on her bike enjoying Tour de Vines with the mountains in the background

They say ‘it’s not about the destination, its all about the journey’ – I have never really understood this quote. Isn’t the whole point of going somewhere to enjoy being there?  It took me 28 years but now I finally understand exactly what this quote is all about.

How did I figure this out I hear you ask?

It all happened about 300 km north of Melbourne. It was over a weekend full of wine, food, new friends, and cycling the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. Although this sounds like a combination that might end in disaster, what we experienced with Tour De Vines was nothing short of outstanding.

Day 1:

 

Brittnay enjoying the early morning views over Lake Sambell

Brittnay on an early morning walk around Lake Sambell before breakfast

After a quick 3-hour drive from Melbourne. We meet our lovely guide at the Armour Motor Inn. It was Octoberfest weekend and the town of Beechworth was buzzing. We quickly checked in and headed off to our room where we received our welcoming packages with information about the weekend ahead.

We quickly freshened up and headed into town to meet the rest of our tour group, that was already at the Bridge Road Brewery enjoying the great selection of in-house craft beers.

We introduced ourselves and got talking about our past cycling experiences, shared our love of food & wine and got to know each other.

Our local guide gave us an in-depth rundown of our itinerary for the next 2 days before we indulged in the fantastic gourmet pizza. After a couple more drinks we headed back for a good nights rest before our cycling adventure along the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail.

Day 2:

 

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We were too excited to sleep, so we woke early Saturday morning. Our guide had mentioned there was a great short walk around Lake Sambell which was just over the road from our accommodation. We were up early enough to watch the sunrise over the lake and mountain in the distance.

We met the rest of the group for breakfast at Project 49 around 8:30 am. Project 49 is a cafe/deli/wine bar offering a mouth-watering selection of handcrafted goods from small-scale producers around the area. We loaded up on a healthy dose of carbs & caffeine. I would highly recommend the granola bowl, its an Instagrammers dream and the perfect way to get fueled up for the day.

We then headed down to the old Beechworth jail where we got fitted with our bikes and helmets. After one final brief of the day’s route & activities, we were off to our first winery.

 

Our Tour De Vines tour group all geared up and ready to go

The tour group all geared up and ready to head to the first winery of the trip

We headed off down the Beechworth – Everton Rail Trail. The first cellar door was a short 15-minute downhill ride into the trail.

We arrived at the Pennyweight Winery door just on opening. We were all eager to sample their wine and learn about their range of certified bio-dynamic wines. It was very interesting to learn all about how Stephen and Elizabeth produce their wine without any irrigation or chemicals. They even hand-pick all the grapes at harvest time!

We are usually hand-to-heart red wine drinkers, however, the Pennyweight Riesling was one of the early highlights.

The line up of sample wines at Pennyweight Winery

The line up of sample wines at Pennyweight Winery

It was a beautiful spring morning and the whole group was in good spirits after the first stop. As we rode off down the trail we were delighted to learn that of the 43kms we had in front of us, 20km was downhill, 16km was flat and only 7km was uphill (this was welcome news to Brittnay, as she hadn’t ridden much before).

The second stop of the day was at Gapstead Winery. This was a spot that I was very excited about. I am a big fan of the Tobacco Road 2017 Sangiovese and wanted to learn more about the range of wines Gapstead is famous for.

 

A Glass of Petit Manseng being poured

A glass of delicious Petit Manseng being poured at Gapstead Winery

When we arrived at Gapstead we were met by gorgeous views over the vines and surrounding mountains. It was the perfect spot to relax and take in the views while waiting for our lunch.

We started off by having a group tasting of Tobacco Road NV Processco, Gapstead Saperavi and the Gapsted 2017 Petit Manseng. Our second wine highlight of the trip was the Processco. It might have been the 30 odd km that we had just ridden in the sun, or it might have been the combination of great views, great weather and bubbles that made the first sip of the stop so amazing!

Shortly after the tasting our lunch platters where bought out. The impressive platters were filled with local cheese, olives, a selection of charcuterie, warm garlic focaccia and salad. We enjoyed the wonderful food & basked in the sun, before heading in for one last wine tasting. Following that, we jumped back on our bikes and headed towards Myrtleford.

Brittnay enjoying the views over the vines at Gapstead Winery

Brittnay taking the views over the vines at Gapstead Winery

 

The Ride from Gapstead into Myrtleford was flat and easy-going. Our guide pointed out local points of interest and facts about the area. I was surprised to learn the crops we were cycling past were actually hops that was used in the beer at Bridge Road Brewers Brewery.

Upon arriving in Myrtleford we where all in good spirits. We checked into our hotel and found our bags were already placed in the rooms by the Tour De Vines team. Our guide advised us that the evening would be a free evening to explore the town and check out the local shops, bars and restaurants.

Day 3: 

We all met at the Alpine Gate Cafe to once again fuel up for the day of riding ahead. I would highly recommend the eggs benedict! The Alpine Gate Cafe is apart of the tourist information building. It is a great place to soak up some information about the area and talk to the locals.

We set off on the days 30km ride, this stretch is a nice flat ride and provides stunning views over the wineries, hop farms and surrounding mountains. Our first stop of the day was at the Australian Pumpkin Seed Factory at Pepo Farms. We were not quite sure what to expect from this stop, however, we were very impressed. The owners are extremely passionate about what they do.

We learnt all about the health benefits of pumpkin seeds, different nut oils and their wide selection of all natural, gluten-free, vegetarian & vegan-friendly products. We left Pepo Farms feeling like everyone should come here and learn about the health benefits of these underrated nuts and seeds.

 

Pepo Farms is a must stop along the Murray to Mountains rail trail

Lunch was booked in at Ringer Reef Winery, this is another winery that we were very excited to visit. We had heard about this place from friends and were dying to learn more.

On the way to Ringer Reef, we came across another winery that looked too good to pass up –  Feathertop Winery. This winery was beautiful. It had great views, great wine and a build it yourself platter menu!

As a group, we made a decision that we had time to check out this winery. We tasted more wine and studied the menu. We will be coming back to try out the restaurant for sure! After a few cheeky purchases, we were off for our last winery of the trip.

 

Throughout Ringer Reef Winery there are photos of the family and the property. This is Marks parents Annie & Bruce – the original planters of the grapes at Ringer Reef.

 

We arrived at the Ringer Reef and were met with spectacular views and beautiful blue skies. We met the owner Mark Holm, and he was quick to get into telling us about the history of the winery, and the wines that he produces.

Ringer Reef is a small winery ran by Mark & his wife Julie. Mark took over the operation from his parents Annie & Bruce who originally planted the vines & produced the wine.

The wines are all handmade and bottled on site by Mark and his family. A lot of love goes into these bottles and when talking to Mark you can get a real feel for the passion he has for making wine and continuing his family’s traditions. The winery doesn’t sell commercially, only from the cellar door and to a few select restaurants in the area.

We got to tasting and we were very impressed by the love and passion Mark had for each wine. He could even sense we were all a little hungry and offered us sourdough bread his wife had baked that morning (it was absolutely delicious!)

It was at this point where I had my favourite wine of the trip. The Ringer Reef 2018 Petit Manseng. I have never been a white wine drinker, however, this wine has changed that. It was a very refreshing, well balanced citric white wine. You couldn’t ask for a better drop to sip away on a Sunday afternoon.

Ringer Reefs Petit Manseng. This wine is seriously good. (Jays new favourite)

After the tasting Mark got to making our lunch. He presented us with four platters full of homemade dips, chutneys, sourdough, local cheeses, olives and meat.

Ringer Reef was more than a perfect spot to sit and soak up some amazing views with our new good friends. We could even see the only snow-capped peak of Feathertop.

 

 

After lunch, we slowly rode off the remaining 10km into Bright where the tour came to an end. Before we got picked up, we had a ride around Bright and checked out the famous Bright Ice Creamery. We all grabbed a delicious cone and ate it on the banks of the Ovens River.

Our new group of friends exchanged numbers and photos and reminisced over the past 2 days. We had all had an amazing time riding the Murray to Mountains Rail Trail. It was an experience full of scenic views, great wine, amazing food.

Over the weekend we clocked up just shy of 100kms. Since most of the trail is downhill or flat it is a very easy and enjoyable ride. It’s amazing how quickly you can cover such long distances.

When we got to our destination of Bright, it hit me. It’s really not about your destination, but all about the journey.

Thank you to Tour De Vines for sending us on Murray to Mountains Rail Trail Tour. We highly recommend checking out one of their many amazing cycling tours.

 

The Tour De Vines group at the Bright sign

Our Tour De Vines group at the end of the rail trail in Bright, Victora, Australia.

Syrah Vs Shiraz: When Is It Appropriate To Say What?

Syrah VS Shiraz: When Is It Appropriate To Say What?

Ok, so I’ll admit, when I heard that Jay and Britt lived in Australia, I wanted to write about Syrah.  Or Shiraz as they’d call it - Mark Aselstine of Uncorked Ventures

Honestly, it might be the most misunderstood varietal out there today.  I mean, we can’t even agree on the name and while that’s not entirely unheard of in the world of wine, no other grape really gets split quite as evenly.  

I mean, does it really bother you if someone makes a Carignan or a Carignane? Sauvignon Blanc and Fume Blanc might be the same, but how often do you really see Fume Blanc being used on a label?

The general naming convention in terms of Syrah and Shiraz is pretty simple.  Some time ago, Australian vintners started using Shiraz to help differentiate their style of the grape, from those being made in France.  They were bigger, more extracted and generally grown in a much warmer growing region.

Of course, things have changed and the caricature of Australian wine that was told to the press for so long isn’t nearly true any longer, in much the same way that the same tale was told about California wine for so long.

But, thinking about the Australian vs international spelling of the varietal got me thinking, what’s the deal with Syrah in America’s west coast wine regions?

To help decipher where the grape is going, I decided to look at Syrah being produced in five spots in three states

Heading Away to Wine Country?

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Ballard Canyon Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara is way, way more than Pinot Noir.  But, after the success of Sideways, Santa Barbara is having trouble convincing people of that.

Paso Robles California

In many ways, Paso Robles is the home of Syrah in America.  Some time ago, the grape had gone almost extinct in the state.  In fact, so had all the Rhone varietals (which also include Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussane, Marsanne and another 20 or grapes). If your headed to California make sure you check what the cheapest airports to fly out of are!!

Then the Rhone Rangers were founded and they quickly became an effective trade group.  Over the years, Syrah has continued to grow, from only 200 or so planted acres back in the 1980’s to well over 15,000 acres now.  In fact, more Syrah is planted in almost every calendar year currently than existed in then state when the Rhone Rangers were founded, according to the California Department of Agriculture.

Paso’s grown along with their favorite varietals and a region unknown to basically everyone that sits about 3 hours from both San Francisco and Los Angeles without any natural market of its own, now has been called “The Next Napa” by Wine Spectator.

One small tip for Paso, eliminate everything east of the 101 freeway and stay somewhere close to town which boasts a HUGE central European style square with a park, library, restaurants and shops.

Napa Valley California

In one of the first meetings I had after opening my online wine club, I had a winemaker who made $125 a bottle Cabernet (which was like 95% of his production) tell me that the $40 bottle of Syrah he was selling me was the most important grape on his property.  It was shocking on a few levels. Part of the reason of course was that he was looking for a way to differentiate himself and to grow sales in a spot that wasn’t quite so competitive.

Fast forward a few years later, I asked him via email how the Syrah was doing and he said quite succinctly, that they had grafted it over to Cabernet. That about sums up Napa Valley’s experience with Syrah.  The wine is good, but it’s financially impossible for it to work.

One small tip for visiting Napa:
Stay on one end, finish on the other. If you stay in downtown Napa, make the slow winding trip up the 29 and finish in Calistoga. Or vice versa. Spending too much time in the car happens to plenty of people, Napa traffic, especially on weekends is rough. 

Skip the long tourist lunch. Eat something quick, like a burger, or taco shop.  Save your time since most wineries are only open 11am-5pm.

Rogue Valley Oregon

What do you picture when you think of Oregon wine?  Pinot Noir, right? So does everyone else.

What you’re thinking of though, happens in the Willamette Valley just south of Portland.  The Rogue Valley is named for a river and sits right about where the California-Oregon border does. It’s also a heck of a lot warmer than the rest of the state, based on being both inland and more southern.  

This is almost the exact same climate as the Rhone Valley in France, making it a natural home to Syrah. One small tip for the Rogue Valley: There’s only about 30 working wineries. Reach out via social media, you’ll find a higher percentage of owners and winemakers available than anywhere else in the country.

Walla Walla Washington

Washington’s had a funny process with grapes.  First, they were thought of as the best spot in America to grow Merlot.  Then they went to Syrah. 

Now, it’s Cabernet Sauvignon in some spots, whereas Syrah still reigns in the southeastern most part of the state, Walla Walla. Walla Walla is interesting on so many levels.

First, it’s a world class wine destination that’s only now realizing it in such a way as to build tourist facilities. It’s also not especially close to tourist traffic, so the consumers finding their way to Walla Walla are among the most ardent wine drinkers on the planet.

Photo: The airport wine district in Walla Walla is in a state of transition, as you can tell by the businesses on their signposts

So Why Syrah In Eastern Washington?

Their climate is pretty unique in wine. They receive about the same amount of precipitation that does Bordeaux, but half of it comes in terms of snow.  That’s actually pretty good for grape vines, keeps the top soil healthy, but if the snow comes after bud break, you can lose an entire crop like they did about a decade ago.

A tip for visiting Walla Walla:
There are basically 4 parts of Walla x2. Downtown is highly walkable, but you’ll need a car for the rest. Rent one, but stay downtown because the restaurants are great, the Marriott is brand new and you the tasting rooms in the center of it all stay open later than the wineries which require a car.

Ok, so that’s a quick review of a handful of wine regions that are focused, rightly or wrongly on Syrah. While worldwide consumption of Rhone varietals is on the upswing, that hasn’t held true in more expensive regions.

 For some time that hurt Australian exports, but the country and it’s vintners have found a logical way to combat that: simply planting their favorite grape in regions more appropriate for international tastes.

About The Author

Mark Aselstine is a husband, dad to a couple of loud, active boys and the owner of Uncorked Ventures a wine of the month club and gift basket business located in the San Francisco Bay Area. Politically interested, an avid sports fan you can find Mark chatting on Twitter, usually about anything other than wine.

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Essential Italian 101: 20 Italian Words & Phrases (That Will Have You Sounding Like a Local)

You’re planning a trip to Italy, but you don’t know a single Italian word. You’d like to have some basic greetings and vocabulary for your visit, but you don’t know where to start.

Well, you’re in the right place to learn some essential Italian words and phrases (so you can order all the geleto and vino your heart desires)

First time visitor? You have find out first what the cheapest airport to fly into Italy are!

Functional Italian 101

Below is a list of  the most useful Italian phrases to get you through your Italian holiday or move. Bear in mind, if you’re travelling to touristy areas, it is highly likely people will speak English. However, this is not always the case, and Italians appreciate it very much if you simply try to speak their language. They are very friendly and willing to help you, even if they don’t understand you.

The below phrases, paired with smiles and gestures, are sure to benefit you during your stay in Italy!

Hello/Goodbye – Ciao (Chow)
Good day (appropriate any time before 5 PM) – Buongiorno (Bwahn jore-noh)
Good evening (use after 5 PM) – Buonasera (Bwahn-uh-Sarah)
Thank you – Grazie (Grat-see-eh)
You’re welcome/go ahead – Prego (just how it sounds)
*Can I have ....? – Posso avere…? (Posso uh-vare-eh)
*Questo – This (Kwes-toe)
How much (in reference to cost)? – Quanto costa? (kwan-toe cose-tuh)
**One coffee, please. – Un caffe, per favore. (Oon kaff-eh, pea- fuh-vore-eh)
Where is the bathroom? – Dov'è il bagno? (Dove-eh eel banyo?)
What is your name? – Come ti chiami? (comb-eh tee kee-ahm-ee?)
My name is _____. – Il mio nome è _______. (Eel mee-oh nome-eh eh ______)
Nice to meet you – Piacere (pee-uh-chair-eh)
Excuse me (formal) – Scusi (Skoo-zee)
I’m sorry – Mi dispiace (Mee dee-spee-ach-eh)
Have a good day! – Buona giornata! (Bwahn-uh jore-not-uh)
Have a good evening! – Buona Serata! (Bwahn-uh sare-awe-tuh)
I don’t understand – Non capisco (Non kuh-pee-skoh)
I don’t speak Italian – Non parlo Italiano (Just like it sounds)
Do you speak English? – Parla Inglese? (Parla Een-gleh-zay?)

*Pair these two phrases together to make a full sentence: Can I have this? I typically use this phrase to order food at a restaurant if I can’t pronounce the name of the dish. “Posso avere questo?” paired with pointing can get you many things!

**Remember, a “caffe” in Italy refers to a shot of espresso. If you want a long coffee, asked for “un caffe Americano”. If you want a cappuccino, asked for “un cappuccino”. If you want an espresso with some milk, as for “un caffe macchiato”.

Well, there you have it! These 20 phrases will have you sounding like an Italian in no time.  Remember, Italians are very friendly and they appreciate the simple gesture of attempting to speak Italian. 


This post was from expat Cammy Romanuck Murphy, a Canadian blogger living in Italy. She came to Italy with virtually no Italian language skills. To begin with her Italian could be  described as “slightly painful” but “absolutely functional”.  

Learning a new language can be a very rewarding experience and can help to immerse you in a country’s culture. Also important when travelling? THE FOOD (especially in Italy)! Our favourite Italian dishes are Gnocchi Alla Sorrentina, Tuscan Porcini and White Truffle Risotto, and Tiramisu (click the links for authentic recipes and the history of each dish). For more travel tips, “locals-only” city guides, and delicious European recipes, head over to Cammy's blog, The Traveling Cook Abroad or on Instagram @thetravelingcookabroad

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