|Oscar, the Cairn Terrier I watched for three weeks.|
Many of you know that I used this site recently for my long stay in London. I got a pet sitting job for 3 weeks! While the homeowners went on vacation, I stayed in their house for free under the condition that I watch their pet, Oscar, to their specifications. This included three walks a day and a special diet for the little pooch.
So what was my real experience with Trustedhousesitters?
I loved it. Looooooooved it. However, I will be completely fair and list the pros and cons of using a site like this (this post is not sponsored, in case you were wondering).
1. Free Accommodation: A FREE place to stay in London. That is pretty much unheard of.
2. Streamlined Website: The site is easy to use and has good tips on getting a pet/housesitting job. The site also has good support if you run into technical issues.
3. A Joining Fee: There is a fee for the site, which I think is necessary. It helps weed out the people that are not serious about this type of thing! I believe the fee is something along the lines of $80/year. Obviously, it's paid for itself by now!
4. The Best Benefits: I got to stay in a nice part of London with an adorable pooch.
5. Gracious Homeowners: The owners gave me tips on their favorite parts of Putney, including restaurants and pubs. They were also generous enough to buy me groceries, despite my pleading with them not to! Generally, the kind of people that are willing to open their home to you are going to be pretty open-minded, gracious, and amazing.
A look into the neighborhood I was staying in! Putney is in zone 2 in London, which is extremely central and well connected to everything!
1. Animals are Time-Consuming: I've obviously been to London before, so walking the dog three times a day wasn't a huge deal to me. HOWEVER, if this were someone's first trip to London, scheduling three-a-day walks around sightseeing could get a little hectic. Trustedhousesitters, thus, would work better for second visits of cities. If you do use trustedhousesitters for a first time visit, I recommend a long stay (over a week). That way you can conquer the city/town little by little everyday, while still having energy and time for the dog.
2. You are on Vacation, But the Animal is Not: Obviously you already know this going into a petsitting job. But when it's 7am and the dog is jumping on your tired, lifeless body for his HOUR morning walk, and it's 30 degrees fahrenheit (0 degrees celsius) outside, and you had a couple drinks last night and can't be bothered to get out of bed--this is when you really remember that ANIMALS ARE FREAKIN' NEEDY. You must drag yourself out in the freezing cold and walk the damn dog, because this is what you signed up for! The compromise to this is of course opting for a cat sitting job, which would be a great deal easier.
3. It's Tough to Find Your First Job: You gotta do everything you can to get that first housesit. Background check, solid references, great profile complete with pictures of you holding a furry creature, a video--the whole nine yards. Even with all that, it's going to take a lot of energy and time scoring your first job, as well as a lot of let-downs. There were at least 2 or 3 people that told me they wanted to use me for the housesit, then changed their mind 3 days later. Frustrating! Let's also bring up that being a female has got to make it a lot easier to get a job than being male (the reality!)
4. You Must Be Comfortable with Buying Your Plane Ticket Last Minute: I bought my plane ticket a week before my departure. Even being the jetsetter I am, that was a little close for comfort! Of course, plenty of homeowners plan way ahead of time; however, I noticed a ton of jobs would pop up last minute, making your chances better of getting a job closer to the date they are needing you.
5. You Must Plan Your Trip Around Theirs: Forget whatever dates you had in mind, you must cater to the homeowner, period. For a site like this, flexibility is key.
So there you have it...a THOROUGH review of Trustedhousesitters.com. Even with all the cons I listed, I still enthusiastically recommend this site for both homeowners and sitters. And with a dog like Oscar by my side, it was all worth it.