Recently, we sat down the with Claire and Rosemary from Authentic Food Quest. They shared some incredible adventures such as spending 6 months house sitting and eating their way through Greece, surviving a house sit in Florida during a Hurricane!
Want to know some of Rosemary Claires top tips to landing house sits? Make sure you read to the end to find out!
Tell us a little bit about yourself– who are you, where are you from, for, do you do it full-time or sporadically
Hi there, we’re Claire and Rosemary, digital nomads and culinary travelers behind Authentic Food Quest. In 2015, we co-founded Authentic Food Quest, a food and travel website, to help people explore local culture through food.
We’ve been traveling around the world since 2015 in search of the best local food experiences. We started housesitting in 2015 and mostly use the service when we are in the US and not traveling.
How many housesits have you had and where?
We’ve completed about a dozen house sits in the US and one most recently house sat in Mexico City. The main places have been in Austin, California, Chicago, Florida and Las Vegas.
Mexico City was our first international house sit. Over the years, we became friends with some owners and have several repeat housesits.
Why do you housesit? What is the main motivation?
We became digital nomads in 2015 without a fixed base to explore the world through local food. Our main goal for house sitting is to be able to go back to the US and have a place to stay while saving money.
In addition to becoming friends with some homeowners, we’ve also had a chance to explore new destinations within the US. Also, the company of dogs and cats keep us entertained and distracted from the daily grind on the computer.
How did you find out about housesitting?
We studied the digital nomad lifestyle before taking a leap of faith and jumped into it ourselves.
And, we found that one of the most common ways digital nomads reduced their cost of living was by house sitting.
Also, Nat and Jodie, founders of the Housesitting World were also a huge inspiration. After testing the waters with a local sit for friends of friends, we were sold.
Besides being friends with homeowners, we also developed new relationships with other house sitters who share a similar lifestyle.
Pros of House Sitting?
House sitting for us has been a positive experience. One of the most rewarding aspects has been making friends with the owners and staying in touch over the years
House sitting has also been a great way to explore new areas like locals, and for us, with food as the lens. Along the way, we’ve had some unexpected culinary discoveries as well as the pleasure of meeting creative artisans and business owners.
And certainly, keeping our costs of living low in the US and cuddling with cute pets goes without saying.
Cons of House Sitting?
Managing expectations and having clear communication are key for successful house-sitting experiences.
Sometimes, getting the dates to match can be tricky. You want to be flexible and also hope the homeowner can be flexible with arrival dates for an introduction to the pets and home.
At times, it might not be a good match based on the requirements. We’ve had two instances where we’ve turned down housesits because the homeowners had misplaced expectations about what house sitters can do.
To avoid any mishaps, be sure to interview the owners as much as they interview you.
What’s been the biggest or best adventure so far?
Our biggest house sitting adventure and one we hope not to go through again was in September 2017.
We were house sitting in Florida and were caught in the path of Hurricane Irma, one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes. We had to evacuate the property and, in that process,, learned how to board up a house and install shutters. We prepared a “survival kit” for a couple of days, though we struggled to find water and ice. We ended up taking shelter at the place we had been previously house sat.
Fortunately, Hurricane Irma wasn’t as damaging as predicted. Even though there were a lot of fallen trees and branches, most of the homes were not damaged or flooded. We ended up losing electricity for about a week and had a lot of broken branches and leaves to clean up. Thankfully, the home was not damaged.
Throughout the process, we were in touch with the owners who were in Spain and they were extremely grateful.
How do you decide on a destination?
When choosing a destination, the local food is most often our key criteria. With Authentic Food Quest, our goal is to showcase the local specialties and so we choose places with a renowned culinary culture.
Most recently, we’ve spent our time in Oaxaca, Mexico, and Crete, Greece. Other considerations are the cost of living, safety, and ease of moving around.
How much luggage do you travel with?
We typically travel with one suitcase each and one small backpack with our computers and electronics.
Was it hard for you to secure your first house-sitting gig?
To get our first house sit, we asked friends to recommend us to their friends. After house-sitting for a few of them, we not only tested the concept but we also gained recommendations. From there, we created our profile on two house-sitting platforms and attached the reviews.
We also introduced ourselves using video in our profile and noticed that homeowners really liked it. This really helped us find more housesits and gain additional reviews. Now, homeowners reach out to us more than we apply for house sits.
Did you ever have any unusual pets to take care of or responsibilities that were out of the norm?
We actually haven’t had any out-of-the-norm experiences. When choosing a house sit we look for cats or dogs that don’t have too many issues. Once, we had a homeowner ask us to spoon feed her cat who had stomach issues. As you can imagine, this was not the easiest task to accomplish. That ended up being one extremely long weekend.
Tips for Others Wanting to get started?
We highly recommend starting with a local experience or house-sitting for friends and family. This will help you understand the needs and expectations and also help with reviews. From there, create your profile, with video on a few platforms. For example, we are on platforms that are more US-focused as we mostly house sits within the United States. Other platforms have a more European or international focus. It all depends on where you want to house sit.
One tip we would offer is to join housesitters’ Facebook groups. You will get a chance to network with other sitters, share experiences and even find house sits.
Want to Live in Rent and Bill Free?
There are thousands of opportunities to house sit around the world!
If your wondering how YOU TO-can travel for free, check out our resources on becoming a house sitter!
Where to next (when you can)?
We travel slowly, spending anywhere from 3 to 6 months at a destination. We were in Mexico for the first wave of the pandemic and were able to quarantine there. And, we spent the winter in Crete, Greece, staying safe during the second wave.
Slow travel has really helped us with the flexibility needed during these uncertain times. After a short stay in Chicago, we plan to return to Europe.
Want to know what Rosemary and Claire get up to next?
How Does House Sitting Sound to You?