As frequent travelers and proud pet parents, we’re frequently asked, “what do you do with your dog and cat when you travel?” Our answer is always met with a mix of confusion and excitement. Trusted House Sitters! We’ve faithfully used the program for over four years. We can confidently say it’s the most essential tool travelers need.
WHAT IS TRUSTED HOUSE SITTERS?
Trusted House Sitters is an online program that connects people who need pet sitters with travelers willing to pet sit. You can join as a pet owner seeking sitters, a sitter seeking homes to sit, or both for one low annual fee. With an online platform and a responsive app, you can connect with sitters and stays from across the globe and find amazing sits and sitters.
Trusted House Sitters (THS) is better for animals, pet owners, and traveling pet sitters worldwide because it’s a win-win for everyone. The need for expensive and scary kennels is eliminated for pets and their parents who plan to travel, and the cost for travelers looking for a cozy place to stay while traveling is resolved by a straightforward home exchange. Think of it as a combination between a temporary live-in pet sitter and Airbnb.
HOW DOES THE PROCESS WORK?
IF YOU’RE A PET PARENT
You’ll join as a pet parent, pay your annual membership fee, and fill out some information about yourself, your pets, and your home. You’ll need to verify an ID check and a background check. This always makes both parties feel comfortable and confident in who is sitting and/or hosting! It’s important to note that you do not have to trade locations with the person you accept as a sitter. You go wherever you need to, and the sitter stays at your home, no strings attached. You should From there, you’ll add photos of all of the above to give future sitters a look at your precious pets they’d love on and to ensure you and your home is a fit for them as well. You’ll then create a detailed welcome guide ready to share with any sitter, detailing more information about your home, pets, and schedules. Always include pets’ preferences, routines, dietary or medical needs, and basic home information such as how the remotes work or where to find towels.
Once you have a date you need a sitter for, add the dates, and let your sit listing go live! Sitters worldwide can scroll through your information, date listed, and photos to see if the sit could be a good match. It’s important to know that no personal information has been revealed yet! The only thing people will learn from your public listing is your pet(s)’ names and information, the city of your home, and your first name.
Once a sitter (or a few!) has applied for your sit, you can review their application and profile and determine who is the best fit for you and your pets. Message back and forth within the THS platform as often as necessary to feel comfortable with the sitter and confirm the sit! Hooray! Now it’s a win for both of you. Upon confirming the sitter on the platform, you’ll share your Welcome Guide with them. From here, please read our guide about preparing your pets and home for your Trusted House Sitter!
IF YOU’RE A SITTER
You’ll join as a sitter, pay your annual membership fee, and fill out some information about yourself and your experience with pets. You’ll also give any additional references about your qualifications as a sitter. You’ll need to verify an ID check and a background check. This always makes both parties feel comfortable and confident in who is sitting and/or hosting! For now, to start, you’ll only have external references. Still, once you sit through THS, your internal reference list and star rating will be available for future pet parents to see. This will aid in you being selected for more sits in the future.
Once you’re ready, explore all the homes available for sits! You can narrow your search by pet type, location, date range, and length of stay. Once you’ve found a sitting opportunity, you can apply for the sit by writing a compelling message about why you’d be the perfect sitter. Think of this message as your cover letter for a job interview! Tell the truth, make it personal (use their pets by name!), and share a little about yourself and why you want to sit for them. It’s always nice to offer to chat more, have a call, or have a virtual meeting in case pet parents have any additional questions or hesitations. Once a pet parent reviews your application, they’ll either confirm or decline it. Upon chatting and confirmation, you’ll be on your way to a new homestay to meet some cute and lovable pets worldwide.
IF YOU’RE BOTH A SITTER & PET PARENT
Combine the last two start-up factors, and you’re on your way! You’ll be able to see both homes to sit in and list your own home for sitters to stay with your pets. You have full access to the entire program and the best of both worlds.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
Each membership option is offered at a low annual price. As pet parents, this is our favorite thing about THS – we never have to factor pet care into our travel budget for each trip. For pet parents, this is a welcome change compared to pet care apps, which are specific fees per walk or visit. For travelers looking for a place to land, this one-time fee is often cheaper than one night booked through home-sharing apps like Airbnb or VRBO.
Prices for pet parents or just pet sitters range between $129-$259, depending on what levels of perks or protection (such as sit cancellation insurance) you’re looking for. Every price point, though, gets an unlimited pet and home care each year! That means you’ll only be charged $129, $199, or $259 once for as many or as long pet sits as you need. The same goes for pet sitters. Suppose you’re interested in the best of both works and would like to stay free in new cities as you meet new furry friends. In that case, you can start a combined membership that offers opportunities to be both a sitter and to find sitters for an annual fee that ranges between $189-$319.
Through using various temporary pet-sitting apps, calling kennels, and scrambling to find pet sitters before joining THS, we easily save over $800 each year by being a member of Trusted House Sitters.
CAN I GET A SITTER IF I’M NOT A HOMEOWNER?
Of course! We’ve been homeowners and apartment renters and use the program with no issues. The only catch to being a renter is that you’ll need to thoroughly explain how and where to access your apartment or townhome to the sitter. For this reason, I have a folder in my photos app on my phone with ready-to-go images and videos to share with each new sitter to help explain entry points, where to park, and how to get to our unit. Just make sure you’ve covered any necessary bases with your apartment complex if necessary.
WHO ARE THE SITTERS?
Friends you’ve yet to meet! We get it. The initial thought of inviting strangers to stay in your home and keep your animals happy and safe is a bit of a mind-bending concept. However, after four years of faithfully using the service, we have had only excellent sitters. We have even made a few friends through repeat sitters while using THS! If you’re a pet parent and you’ve found a sitter you love, you can invite them to sit for you again. We’ve done this several times. We love it because there’s less explaining to do, and the sitters love it because they’re going back to a home and pets they’re already comfortable with. The best part? Our pets love it because they’re already friends with the sitters!
Every sitter we’ve used has either been retired or is a remote worker. These are responsible adults simply looking for a place to stay and animals to love because they both want to travel, yet their lifestyles often don’t support having a pet of their own. However, to contradict that statement, we hosted two retired couples who each brought their dogs to the sit, and we had no issues! Our sweet rescue dog loves making new friends, so we always say the more, the merrier. (However – this is totally up to you! A sitter will disclose if they have an additional pet traveling with them and understand if that doesn’t work for your crew.)
More than any other group, most of the sitters we’ve selected have been retired baby boomer teachers and millennial remote graphic designers! While these groups of people couldn’t be more different, we love that each is typically flexible with dates, can stay for any period, and stay at home with our sweet pets most of the day. All you need to provide them is a comfortable home, pet instructions, and great Wi-Fi.