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Always have a Plan B
If you believe a house sitting life style is for you, go for it. Research first, decide where, when and how. Be smart travelers and ever smarter house sitters. This life isn't a free ride, free vacation or without it's pit falls but it is a unique, affordable and personally fulfilling way to experience life and see the world but for that really rainy day everyone should a back up plan in place which must include having at least a 6 month “options” money pot and good heath insurance.

Even the best laid plans can go pear shaped. We once arrived at a sit that was totally misrepresented owners Skyped from a different house, theirs was appalling. We secured the house and left (we had other options) received a letter of apology two months later. Even doing due diligence isn't always a guarantee, main issues we have is with cleanliness not everyone's idea of what is acceptable is the same. When Skyping you can't say “By the way can I look in your kitchen cupboards/cooker/fridge /bathroom/behind the sofa/under the bed?” Many homes are usually cleaner when we leave.

There can also be issues with pets, investigate fully the reasons behind the phrase ….. “Once Fido gets used to you” On one assignment we were confronted by an aggressive Basenji … no mention of this during our copious amounts of communication. “Oh yes he doesn't like strangers in the home (really!!) if it becomes an issue put them both (two dogs) in kennels, we've made arrangements”

Patience and kindness won the day but it could have been very different.
Back to the back up plan, house sitting is becoming increasingly competitive when we started 10 years ago there were fewer home owners but FREE sitters were also hard to come by. There were hardly any Company or Personal Websites and Social Media didn't rule. Sitters didn't use Twitter/ FB There were no apps/How To Books/Networks etc etc. We're fortunate we've worked hard and have an excellent client base, turning down far more assignments than we can accept. But we take nothing for granted, there are no guarantees. There's an army of young, experienced sitters behind us, with technology in their back pockets. When I've listed my home in Canada (winter listing) I've had 40+ applications. Last year our home owner in Spain had 130, she turned her listing “off” after 48 hours.

Our house sitting world is becoming smaller and more crowded by the minute but we have an excellent “What If” Plan, “What If ….. we don't get another sit when/where we need to” What if …. the sit we get is the pits” What if ….. one of us gets sick” In my experience it needs to be top of every travelers/house sitters list, especially if you don't have a base to retreat to.

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Always know you're free to fly

Angela has been traveling the world for the past 40 years. Her career in International Marketing took her across Canada and the US and since the mid 80s has lived in Italy, N. Africa, India, Singapore and other parts of SE Asia with husband John, a Petroleum Engineer, now retired. Self-professed nomads with a shared passion for travel and animals, they continue to travel the world having adopted an affordable travel lifestyle: Pet and house sitting. Some five continents, many amazing homes and wonderful four legged friends later, Angela is the resident in-house expert, advising home owners and house sitters at Trusted House Sitters and a regular contributor to travel blogs sharing experiences of life away from the travel brochures, living like the locals. You can read more at www.housesittingperfected.com.