Articles and Advice
House Sitting as a Vacation
NB: that's vacation, not vocation! (Though some people may feel they've "had the call!")
If you think about it, there are plenty of good reasons to become a house sitter. A big one for some people is to save the money they'd otherwise be paying for rent, and put it towards a deposit on their own home. This, of course, requires a sit - preferably for a few months or even longer - within travelling distance of their workplace.
Others just want to get away from their customary, and possibly crowded or noisy, environment to write, paint or sculpt without interruption.
Still others sit houses as a way of visiting family members or friends in another city or town, while enjoying free accommodation. Or they do it every so often simply for a change of pace and scene.
But more and more singles and families are seeing house sitting as a way to enjoy an affordable holiday, compared to the ruinous costs of spending two or three weeks at a resort, or a beachside hotel, motel or apartments. And accommodation is usually the single most expensive element in the cost of a family vacation, unless you happen to be going overseas, when airfares might just top the bill.
And even then, accommodation is a huge slug.
Whereas for the average family or working single planning a vacation in Australia or New Zealand, house sitting can provide if not a completely free holiday, then certainly a hugely less expensive one.
Imagine, for example, a family of four wanting to enjoy a Gold Coast stay during one of the school holiday periods. Suppose they live in Sydney, and decide to drive to the Gold Coast. Depending on the vehicle, they're probably looking at $150 - $200 in petrol, as well as food and drinks for the journey (say $60 - $80), and a day on the road.
Now instead of handing over their credit card at Reception with fingers crossed, or a voucher for their stay which took more than half their holiday pay to purchase, they pull up outside a breezy Queenslander, or a smart, architect-designed residence in a pleasant boulevard, or even a comfy weatherboard, knowing there's no more to pay than their normal, everyday expenses. Plus entry to a few holiday attractions, and return trip costs.
For the average one or two income family, house-sitting can literally be the difference between a memorable and refreshing holiday wherever they choose to go - be it city, country, mountain or beachside - and staying at home, with all the usual chores to do, then returning to work feeling like they had no break at all.
Then, of course, there are the "grey nomads," the retirees who can afford to travel and see the country, and have time on their hands, but don't want to tow a van or drive a lumbering motor home. Nor do they want to spend their retirement nest egg unnecessarily. A house sit - or even a series of sits - makes perfect sense for people like this.
As to variation, one of our couples in their first four months of sitting spent time on a large cattle station, had two holidays on the Gold Coast, and a 7-week stay at Kempsey - a town adjacent to some of the most beautiful beaches and scenic seaside reserve in Australia.
A holiday, seeing the country, and providing a useful service all rolled into one. It's a great arrangement for all concerned.
If you've never considered it before, it's definitely worth some thought.