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. 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!
What about you?
Are you a full-time house sitter? Do you often have to use paid accommodation? How do you organize your schedule?
11 responses to “Fill Gaps Between Housesits”
I’m definitely not a house sitter but this is so interesting that you do this full-time! I don’t think I’ve ever really met anyone who does something like this x
There are quite a few of us out there!
Like you, I book longer sits and repeat sits first, then shorter sits to fill gaps. If there is nothing to fill the odd couple of days I wait until the last minute then book Airbnb, a hotel or stay with friends. On those occasions it is strange not to have pets to look after.
That’s what we’ve had to do a couple of times. I do feel like AirBnBs are getting more expensive with all sorts of fees tacked on – much easier in England!
If we have a gap, you can look for an airbnb with last minute cancellation and then if you fill the gap last minute you don’t waste money and you can adjust the dates to suit if you end up with a couple of odd days needing to be filled.
If you have previous housesits, who like to get away, you can also contact them with a list of dates you have available which has worked out for us from time to time.
Contacting old sits with availability is a great idea!
Oh wow, this sounds like an amazing lifestyle! Must be stressful at times though.
Thanks for your comment 🙂 It can be stressful when you’re trying to string things together, but overall it is pretty awesome!
I’m not a housesitter, but it does seem good to be flexible when you have gaps in between housesits! Also, all the dogs are so cute!!
Thanks for your comment, Karalee! We meet soooo many cute dogs!
[…] base of any kind. Sometimes housesits don’t align perfectly. This past week, for example, we had a week’s gap between longer housesits, and had a search out for shorter sits in the UK … A sit in Hampshire that filled a few of those days caught our eye, and we […]