New Zealand is beautiful, but expensive to visit. Auckland is my home, and I love it here. Visitors flock in daily and are greeted with seemingly unlimited luxurious options at a premium price. There is no doubt that many of these will create lifelong memories. However, for animal lovers, there is an alternative: House Sitting New Zealand style.
House sitting involves staying in another person’s home and caring for pets, plants, or just the house. It all depends upon what you agree. Pet owners love it as it allows them to leave their furry friend in the care of a verified sitter who will love and care for them, rather than a kennel. As no money changes hands, the homeowner saves in pet care costs, and the traveller has a free place to stay. That’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Advantages of becoming a pet sitter, plant sitter, or house sitter:
- Free accommodation in return for pet or plant care.
- Lower food costs as you can prepare your own food.
- Cat or dog sitters have a furry companion while they are away from home.
- Live in a neighbourhood rather than a hotel, allowing travellers to better absorb the culture.
- Enjoy the benefits of a cosy home environment.
- You don’t need to be a professional house sitter, but if you use TrustedHousesitters, you will need to be verified (this protects everyone).
House sitting New Zealand and international house sitting
And it’s not just house sitting in New Zealand; there are thousands of opportunities for house sitting abroad (regardless of where you live now). In fact, TrustedHousesitters is the world’s #1 house and pet sitting website with registered homeowners in over 150 countries needing care for a variety of animals. Timing ranges from a weekend to long-term house sitting opportunities.
Finding house sitting vacancies
Are you wondering how to become a house sitter? It’s as easy as filling out an application. You will be verified and approved. Then you search for the destination you want to visit, filtering on the types of animals you want to look after. Contact the homeowner and begin conversations. The terms of the deal are worked out by the individuals involved. While we haven’t done a house sit, we have done multiple home exchanges (a similar concept, but you swap houses while you travel). By the time we were ready to travel, we felt that we knew our partners well and were comfortable living in their home and having them live in ours.
Ten reasons why a date with a pet is better than a date with a human:
- A pet won’t stand you up
- Pets don’t order the lobster
- A pet is not embarrassed by a public display of affection
- A pet won’t grumble about the film you choose on Netflix
- Pets won’t veto your romantic songs playlist
- A pet won’t text its ex on your special evening
- A pet won’t moan you scrimped on champagne
- You can bet you’ll get more likes for your pet-date selfie than the human equivalent
- With a pet, it’s always clear who’s paying
- A pet will suspend all judgement because they just want to be with you
(Edited from Valentine’s Day list provided by TrustedHousesitters. Used with permission.)
Other like-home accommodations
If you love the idea of staying in a private home but don’t want to be a pet sitter there are several hotel alternatives out there. You might want to look into these two options:
1. Home exchange
In a home exchange, you swap houses with someone else for a prescribed period of time. We have successfully used Homeexchange.com three times, twice in Spain and once in the USA. Like house and pet sitting, we had a free stay, as did the people who stayed in our home. Living in a neighbourhood, we met the locals, participated in local activities, and got a better understanding of customs and cultures.
2. Short-term home and apartment rentals
TripAdvisor now offers private home rentals and short stay apartments. While we haven’t had a chance to try it personally, the reviews left me believing it to be a great Airbnb alternative.
Is house sitting right for you?
This page is part of our travel resources series.