Not all house sitters are full time. But there are many, like us, who have chosen to be fully nomadic, arranging our accommodation almost exclusively through housesits. We tend to plan a few months ahead by securing some longer (2+ week) housesits. But how do we fill gaps between housesits? How do we minimize nights of paid accommodation?
A Hectic Week
This particular week in May 2023 is particularly hectic for us. We have three sits in 10 days. London, Hampshire, then back to London, before heading to Kent to catch our breath! This is because we have been trying to fill a gap between two longer sits.
In this, our second year of full-time housesitting, we have been lucky enough to secure quite a few longer term sits. Last week, for example, we were in the Peak District for a repeat sit with some animals we met last year. Then, starting Monday, we will be heading to the eastern end of Kent for another long stint.
We knew, when we arranged both those sits, that there was a full 9 days between the end of one and the start of the next. It might seem daunting not knowing what to do between those house sits as you plan ahead. It’s not as scary as it might seem. We do not book paid accommodation until we are absolutely sure there is no other way to fill the gaps between housesits.
Do not try to fill the whole gap
The key thing when trying to fill full-time housesitting gaps is to be flexible. We do not necessarily try to fill the whole week if we have a week long gap. Most housesitting sites let you set a search for the time period. Then check multiple times a day to see if if anything has popped up.
These last three days, for example, were still “empty” for us only 6 days ago. Then we checked our saved search in the afternoon last Wednesday. This was three days before we were going to be homeless and would have to look for paid accommodation. And wow! There was a sit in a beautiful part of London available! We applied and received a reply asking for a video interview that very afternoon. Remember, last minute listers are just as excited that you are available at short notice!
When trying to fill small gaps in your housesitting schedule, be more flexible than when you are looking for your anchor sits. It might not match up exactly. You may have to take a sit where there is a different pet schedule than you would normally apply for.
The 3 day sit we just had required a little more time spent in the home than we normally look for. The dog needed 5 walks a day and a midday meal. This was something we could easily agree to for a three day sit when it meant we didn’t have to pay for those three days, for example.
If it’s difficult for you to make it at exactly the time asked for in the listing, don’t be afraid to ask if you can arrive slightly later. This particular sit wanted sitters to arrive at 8 AM, which we would not be able to make. We were coming from the Peak District, and would have had to leave earlier than our other obligations allowed. So we were up front about that situation and asked if we could arrive around lunchtime. The home owners were willing to move some things around so that that could happen.
Full-time Housesitting Gaps are easier to fill in the UK
It is probably fair to say that it is much easier to fill these small gaps when traveling in the United Kingdom. The distances are smaller, public transport is more varied and frequent, and there are proportionally far more short notice sits than in the USA, for example.
It is now Tuesday. We left the Peak District Saturday morning, left London this morning, are now in Hamptonshire, then we’ll be back in another part of London on Friday afternoon. All before heading to a longer sit in Kent on Monday afternoon! Phew!
It might seem hard work and disruptive for that one week, but it’s definitely possible.
And the joy of the sit we have arrived at today is magical! Two lovely doggies in the countryside, who we would never have met without having a need to fill a tiny housesitting gap!
We do occasionally, stay in paid accommodation. Here is our review of The Chequers Inn, in Beaconsfield, England, for example.
What about you?
Are you a full-time house sitter? Do you often have to use paid accommodation? How do you organize your schedule?