Should you get gifts for housesitters? Travel exchange websites like TrustedHousesitters are based on a mutually beneficial exchange: accommodation and use of your home exchanged for care for the home and your pets. There should be absolutely no expectation of a tip or gifts from the housesitters.
However, pet parents have on a few occasions, given tokens of appreciation at the start and/or end of a sit. If you as a pet parent would like to give your housesitters a gift, there are a few things to keep in mind.
If your housesitters are full-time travelers, there are some things that simply are not practical. A bottle of wine at the en of the sit? For example, keep in mind whether the sitters will be heading to a flight. Some great pet parents gave us a fantastic picnic hamper recently. It was absolutely gorgeous, and was full of great snacks and goodies, but we will be leaving it behind when we leave for Italy in a few weeks. Maybe with other pet parents as a gift from us!
We’ve come up with some of our favorite tokens of appreciation, even some free ones!
Restaurant gift card
One of our favorite cats from a past sit, Ray, very kindly emailed us a gift certificate to a local restaurant group halfway through our sit! What a great surprise! It was totally unexpected and so thoughtful. And a gift card like that is an excellent gift for housesitters, because it gives them a good reason to get out and explore the local restaurants. e had a great meal out, and we made sure to thank Ray with lots of extra brushing and playing!
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Great Free Gifts for Housesitters:
Tokens of Appreciation do not have to cost anything extra. There are things we have really appreciated:
A List of Favorite Pubs or Restaurants
The TrustedHousesitters Welcome Guide template has a section for this, and it is really sad how few homeowners take the time to fill in this section. For some reason, many pet parents leave the section blank. We really appreciate a short list of pubs and restaurants with a little description of why hosts like them.
One of the great attractions of housesitting is seeing an area through a local’s eyes. Obviously, there are so many things to see and places to have a drink or meal that it is great to get a local’s take on where to choose. We’ve had some great pub lunches and afternoon drinks at pubs we would NEVER have found if left to our own devices!
Loan of Membership Cards
In the UK, pet parents that go overseas on their trips have loaned us their National Trust and RHS membership cards for our stay. This is an incredible value to pet sitters. They give us great ideas for what to go see, and saves us the entry fees as well. Also, there are probably membership cards of all sorts in other countries that can be really useful to the sitters while the pet parents are away. Even grocery store cards can be helpful.
We full-time travel around the world through travel exchange using platforms like TrustedHousesitters. This lets us arrange accommodation in exchange for pet and home care. You do not have to commit to full-time to enjoy this way of travel. Many sitters use the platform to arrange for their yearly vacation.
A Bottle of Wine
A common token of appreciation for housesitters is a bottle of wine. We always appreciate a bottle of wine left in the fridge especially for us. Many pet parents say “help yourself to anything” in the fridge or drinks fridge. However, we typically do not just raid the fridge. If a bottle is specifically laid out for us, however, we’ll happily enjoy it!
Farm Shop Loaf of Bread
Or any other goodies bought specially for us to enjoy. We’ve really enjoyed fresh farm shop sourdough, homemade maple syrup, cheese, chocolates, fudge, locally sourced eggs, bacon.
In this same category I will place fresh produce from the garden. We really love homeowners who let us help ourselves to their vegetable patch or berries and other fruit. It’s a great little bonus!
Meal on Arrival
So many sits start with a get to know each other before the pet parents leave the next morning. We have been treated to a meal at pubs, restaurants, and had amazing home cooked meals.
The meal on arrival is probably the very best of the gifts for housesitters. We feel like we’ve made real friendships sharing a meal with pet parents. The meal is a wonderful way to get to know each other, an opportunity to ask more detailed stories about the pets, and a wonderful way to ask more questions about the area.
Remember, no house sitter expects any kind of compensation or gift. The travel exchange system is already mutually beneficial.
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