Well here we go — June 5th I leave for Ireland! On the advice of a friend, I decided to look into house sitting as a way to stay in Ireland for more than a few weeks and without having to shell out a lot of money for the joy of Irish hospitality. Or a hostel. Not the same thing at all. Within a week of applying I was set up to sit for two homes in rural Ireland, for two months total. Free! Well, in exchange for pet and house care. Here’s how I did it.
After an internet search I signed up for two services that match people looking for house sitters with sitters looking for houses. Housecarers.com and TrustedHousesitters.com both require a paid subscription in order to list your request, but I think if you’re willing to pay $50 it shows you’re sincere. They also have vetting procedures and a lengthy application to increase user safety. Sounded good to me.
Housesits often involve pet care, which the sitters can specify on their application. Choosing to care for all kinds of animals—even snakes— greatly increases your odds of being picked. There are approximately three times as many wannabe sitters as there are houses, worldwide, so being flexible is essential.
Both services send out daily emails with the latest house sitting requests and within a few days two came up on Trusted Housesitters that sounded pretty good for my purposes: a six-week housesit with two dogs in Co. Roscommon immediately followed by a two-week stint caring for five dogs and two cats in another rural area not far from the first.
After exchanging a few emails with each homeowner, we agreed to do a Skype call so we could “meet” face to face. Skype is the greatest invention since rolling luggage for travelers. I got to talk with the homeowners, get a virtual tour of my new “homes” and meet my four-legged roommates. We all hit it off and agreed to proceed. Some homeowners may want a contract, but we just agreed verbally.
This will be a new adventure for me; a change from my usual mode of abode, hostels and B&Bs. Next up: Couchsurfing! Stay tuned…