You’ve got your flights or other transport booked, now all you need is a roof over your head. Camping might not suit everyone and your budget might not stretch to a hotel.
Just where can you stay that might not put a hole in your pocket? How about home-sitting? It is often free and you being there gives the added benefit of the home looking lived in while its residents are away..
Where to start
You’ll usually be restricted by the host’s own plans. Having your own preferred dates is one thing – but bare in mind you may be at the whims of your departing host, so flexibility is important.
In an ideal world we would know people everywhere we want to visit, and at dates to suit each other. Clearly, home sitting at the end of your road may limit your horizons, particularly if you want to forget about your daily routine for a while. Think of those who live in other parts of the country or abroad; a decent jaunt could be worthwhile, leaving you with travelling and living expenses if the accommodation is free.
Family and Friends
One place to start when searching for homes to sit could be friends and family. You know each other and there should be a degree of mutual trust in place. A tip might be to stay for a day or two whilst your family or friends are still there so each of you have a chance to catch up. Likewise, don’t outstay your welcome.
Make sure you’re able to get to the place which needs home sitting. It’s all very well setting off, knowing you’ll have the house to yourself – but how will you get there? Inevitably, somewhere in a city centre will be miles easier to get to than a cottage in the Outer Hebrides. However you travel, it may be an option to take out travel insurance or check your current policy is up-to-date.
If you cannot stay the whole time, one idea could be to dovetail your stay with a friend or someone else you know and trust. Another opportunity might be to make sure the host and other person know and trust each other.
Does the home have pets which need sitting? A common reason for home sits is because of the need to have pets looked after while the owners are away. The benefits here can be mutual: the owner has someone who is able to feed and look after their pet(s) and, if a dog, the house sitter can get exercise too.
Water the plants and gardens if needed
One of the useful aspects of having someone to sit a home is asking them to water houseplants and/or the garden if applicable. This is especially important during the warmer drier months when plants and lawns need watering more often.
Leave the home as you found it
The last thing hosts want to return to after their relaxing holiday is a home which looks like it has been occupied by a farm animal. Do a good clean and vacuum round, and change the bedding and the rubbish bags. Lastly, a kind gesture might be to stock the home with bare essentials such as milk and bread for when your hosts return. It’s always nice to return from a holiday or trip away to have a cuppa back in your own home…
This guest post was written by Andy Moore on behalf of Money Matters, the Sainsbury’s Bank blog.