How I Travel the World Living Like a Local – For FREE! Ask Me Anything!

Kelly Hayes-Raitt
Jun 8, 2018

I just spent a month in London.  I breathlessly applauded a West End production, grazed my way through Borough Market, marveled at a performance by the world’s best beat poet and relished “death by dumpling” at an all-you-can eat Asian bistro.  And then there were days where I just hung out and people-watched.

How could I afford such extravagances?  …Especially considering that I’m a self-employed writer?

I housesat!  For nearly a month, I lived in London caring for two kitties and an elderly dog while the homeowners vacationed.  I had my own fully stocked kitchen and a garden where I’d snack on vine-fresh grape tomatoes.  I slept in a queen-sized waterbed, binge-watched the first season of “Six Feet Under” on a 48” screen TV and cuddled with the kitties in my own private backyard.

You can do this, too!  I've recently published How to Become a Housesitter: Insider Tips from the HouseSit Diva, available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2hlj7UP) or my web site (www.HouseSitDiva.com).  

A part of the gig economy, housesitting is an exchange where petowners engage a housesitter to care for their home and pets while they are away.  Typically, homeowners cover all the household and pet care expenses while the housesitter enjoys the home and surroundings at no cost.

Housesitters come in all shapes and sizes:  Singles, couples, families, young adults, retirees, fulltimers like me, others who sit periodically during their holidays.  I've been housesitting fulltime for 9 years!

Consider housesitting as a way to travel and "live like a local"!  Ask me anything!

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www.HouseSitDiva.com

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Did you ever have any unusual pets to take care of or responsibilities that were out of the norm?
Jun 15, 1:01PM EDT0

Other housesitters have taken care of "unusual" pets:  turtles, snakes, bearded dragons.  I was once asked to care for hedgehogs!  (I declined....)

Some housesitters are asked to care for a vacation rental, or for live-in elderly relatives.  Usually, the homeowner pays for these extra duties.

Jun 15, 7:17PM EDT0
How do you spread the word about your availability for house sitting?
Jun 14, 2:52AM EDT0

I belong to a few housesitting platforms.  (I list 50 platforms in my book!)  I apply to sitting assignments that sound like a good fit for me, and homeowners have an opportunity to view my profile and invite me to their homes.

Jun 14, 9:42AM EDT0
Was it hard for you to secure your first housesitting gig? How many postings did you have to send before you got accept for your first assignment?
Jun 13, 11:41PM EDT0

I started out housesitting for friends and family to gain experience and reviews. 

Jun 14, 9:41AM EDT0
What would your advice be for people to get accepted for a housesit / be successful housesitters?
Jun 13, 5:20PM EDT0

My book is jam-packed with advice I've learned from my 9 years of experience.  My most important advice?  Know your limits.

Jun 14, 9:40AM EDT0
How many assignments do you plan to take in 2018?
Jun 13, 2:36PM EDT0

I'm housesitting in Dublin for the month of July, will be back to my recurring housesitting assignment in Mexico in the fall, and will likely be housesitting in Mozambique over the holidays.

Jun 14, 9:39AM EDT0

How do you make money while being a housesitter? 

Jun 12, 10:47AM EDT0

Hi, Celi, I'm a writer and I earn money through selling my book about housesitting, by writing for hire, by editing others' books and by co-writing books.  I'm also creating a retreat for writers who are having a tough time starting or finishing their books:  https://nakeddragon.co.uk/events/retreats/jumpstart-your-book-writing-retreat/

I've recently published How to Become a Housesitter: Insider Tips from the HouseSit Diva, available on Amazon (http://amzn.to/2hlj7UP) or my web site (www.HouseSitDiva.com).  

I'd like to learn more about your travel company.  Can you contact me at Kelly@LivingLargeinLimbo.com to see if we might be able to work together?

Jun 12, 11:01AM EDT0
Do you think you’ll ever stop being a housesitter?
Jun 10, 9:24PM EDT0

Who knows what the future holds?  For now, I love my lifestyle and all the possibilities....

Jun 11, 9:58AM EDT0
Do you own a pet or your housesitter duties won’t allow it?
Jun 10, 4:47PM EDT0

I do have a fur-kid at my home in Los Angeles.  I call Charley my Concierge-Cat, as he is a fabulous greeter to my guests who rent out my home.  It kills me each time I'm home for a visit to leave him, but he's a very happy cat.   Sometimes, I enlist housesitters to care for him when I am between renters.

Some housesitters, though, housesit WITH their pets.  There are so many options!

Jun 10, 8:29PM EDT0
Why did you decide to publish your book only for Kindle? Any reason in particular?
Jun 10, 2:35PM EDT0

It's not only for Kindle!  You can order a soft cover on Amazon here:  amzn.to/2hlj7UP.  The cover is really cute;  some guy on Fiverr did an amazing job!You can also order an eBook from my web site at www.HouseSitDiva.com

Call me old-fashioned, but I LOVE holding a real book in my hands.  It's really a problem with my lifestyle, as books add a lot of weight to luggage....But, it's me!

Jun 10, 8:27PM EDT0
What are the biggest differences and advantages of living like a local versus traveling like a tourist?
Jun 10, 11:02AM EDT0

I like to experience a new place as authentically as possible.  For me, that means not from a tour bus window or a hotel balcony.  So, by housesitting, I have an opportunity to live in a neighborhood and experience my new place as someone who lives there would. 

Jun 10, 12:09PM EDT0
Have you had any clients asked you to return and house-sit for them again, what were their reasons for rehiring you?
Jun 10, 12:15AM EDT0

Yes, several times.  I have a regular housesit in Mexico for about 6 months/year, and many others ask me to return.  It's such a joy to form these relationships!

Jun 10, 10:10AM EDT0
What strange or creepy experiences have you had while housesitting that you could share?
Jun 9, 7:01PM EDT0

No, I can't say that I've had any strange or creepy experiences!

Jun 10, 10:09AM EDT0

I'll be housesitting in Dublin for the month of July!  Anyone have any tips?

Jun 9, 4:47PM EDT0
Are you writing any more books? What are your upcoming projects?
Jun 9, 4:01PM EDT0

Thanks for asking!  I'm working on creating a retreat for reluctant writers in France this Aug, co-writing a book about the evolution of jewelery, blogging for a housesitting platform and finishing my book about my experiences in the Middle East wih refugees (learn more here:  www.LivingLargeInLimbo.com

Jun 9, 4:46PM EDT0
What do your family or friends think about you being a housesitter as a career?
Jun 9, 3:18PM EDT0

They're jealous!  Sometimes, I'm able to have friends visit and stay with me...so my peeps are pretty stoked.

Jun 9, 3:31PM EDT0
What are the qualities a good house-sitter should have?
Jun 9, 1:11PM EDT0

Flexibility, a sense of humor and resiliance....Oh, and a love of animals, for sure!

Jun 9, 1:44PM EDT0
How did you become a full time housesitter? How did that journey begin?
Jun 9, 4:59AM EDT0

Great question!  I didn't wake uo one morning and declare, "I'll be a housesitter today!"  It was gradual.  I wanted to take time off from my career to write a book.  Initially, I applied for and won several fellowhsips at writing residencies.  But that process was expensive and time-consuming.  As I gradually began housesitting in between residencies, I learned that housesitting provided more flexibility (in both time and location), and was a lot cheaper and less time-consuming to apply for.

Although most housesitters don't housesit full-time like I do this has become a great way of life!

Jun 9, 1:43PM EDT0
How many countries have you visited thanks to your housesitting?
Jun 8, 10:53PM EDT0

Hmmm....Well, I've visited 65 countries, but not all of them while housesitting.  So, let's count 'em.  I've housesat in:  US, Mexico, UK, Germany, Netherlands, Denmark, Gibraltar (not technically a country), Senegal, Malawi, Mozambique, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan.  What a way to go!  Thanks for asking...

Oh, and heading to Ireland for the month of July to housesit in Dublin.  Very excited!  Anyone have tips?

Last edited @ Jun 9, 1:44PM EDT.
Jun 9, 1:40PM EDT0
How long in advance should one book you for a housesitting job and what are your reasons for this time-frame?
Jun 8, 4:44PM EDT0

There's no real "rule."  I've taken last-minute sitting assignments that filled a gap in my schedule, and I've accepted sitting assignments as far in advance as a year.   The more notice, the better, though, as I can secure cheaper flights!

Jun 8, 5:40PM EDT0
Who are some of the interesting people you have met while housesitting?
Jun 8, 1:50AM EDT0

Oh my!  Lots!  I've made some wonderful friends in the homeowners for whom I've housesat.  Many ask me back.  I've met other housesitters through social media and have made some lifelong friends.  (I'm organizing a writing retreat in France for this Aug with one housesitting woman I've met.)  And I've met local people I've stayed in touch with.

And, of course, I'm made some fabulous furry friends!

Jun 8, 8:53AM EDT0
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