Hello everyone and welcome to our new feature series – Bloggers and Their Pets’ Travel Stories. We are kicking off this series with a unique take on the topic. Sarah and Kris from JetSettingFools.com don’t have pets of their own, yet pets are a very big part of their travel plans. How is that possible? Well, these innovative bloggers found a way to save on accommodation when they travel, enjoy the company of pets, and have loads of fun. The secret is to choose a destination, find a place where you can house and petsit, and stay rent-free! Read on to discover all about travel and petsitting!
Tell us a bit about yourself and why you petsit.
We are Sarah and Kris – full-time travel bloggers at JetSettingFools.com – and on the road since 2014. When we first started traveling full-time, we moved at a quick pace, eager to see as much of the world as we could. As we refined our travel and blogging goals, we realized we needed longer stays in each city we visited. Furthermore, we wanted to curtail our spending – and our biggest cost of world travel was accommodations. When we heard about petsitting in exchange for a rent-free home, we thought we would give it a try. After our first petsit, we were hooked!
Which was your first petsit?
Our first petsit was for a dog, Woody, in a home just outside of central London. Woody had a very specific schedule for eating and outdoor activity (he even had his own fitbit!) – and the homeowners did not want his routine disrupted. They worked from home, so Woody was used to having someone with him all the time, so it was difficult for them to find a family member or friend that could provide the same level of care and attention. Since we can work from anywhere, it worked perfectly for us to step in and take care of Woody in his house.
How did you get into petsitting?
We heard about petsitting from other travel bloggers and thought it would be a great way to cut our travel costs – as well as have some stability and a sense of ‘home’ as we travel the world. There are many online petsitting communities, but we chose to join Trusted Housesitters. They have members from all over the world. Once we completed our profile, we started contacting homeowners that were currently in need of petsitters in the cities that appealed to us.
How often do you travel to petsit? What do you do when you don’t petsit?
Since we travel full-time, we are almost always looking for petsitting opportunities, but we also work with tourist boards and still make travel plans on our own. In 2016, we spent a total of 8 months petsitting looking after dogs in Costa Rica, Slovenia and London.
Do you find it much harder to plan your trip when you petsit?
We wouldn’t necessarily say ‘harder,’ but there is certainly more to consider. Unlike heading off for a whimsical vacation, house and petsitting comes with responsibility. The petsitting tasks and needs of each pet vary greatly, so before we commit to any petsitting assignment, we review the expectations with the homeowner. When we are housesitting, the pet and home are our top priorities, but we’ve found plenty of time for sightseeing, too. We just have to be cognizant of feeding times and making sure we don’t leave the pets unattended for long periods of time.
What are the pros and cons of petsitting?
The pros: All the adorable pets, of course! We have fallen in love with all of the pets we have looked after (it’s kind of hard not to!), but we’ve been very fortunate in that we have also made great friendships with the owners, as well. Additionally, we’ve been introduced to some pretty unique parts of the world due to petsitting; places that we wouldn’t otherwise have visited. So, while having free accommodations is the goal, it’s really the relationships – with the pets and people – and the new places we visit that make petsitting such a great gig!
The cons: We consider petsitting to be a job (even though we don’t get ‘paid’) – and, as such, the job can sometimes be stressful. Trying to step into someone else’s home and routine isn’t always easy. And, while petsitting fits our style of travel, it can be somewhat restrictive depending on the pet and the location.
What advice would you give to pet owners looking for a petsitter?
Ask too many questions and give too much information! You want to make sure the person you are inviting into your home is going to mesh well with your pet(s) and that you’ll be comfortable having them in your space in your absence. It is always nice to meet in advance (even it’s just a Skype call or, at the least, a lengthy email conversation). For us, the more information we get, the better. Many homeowners leave us with typed instructions, which are invaluable! You don’t want to leave the petsitter wondering silly things like where the dog towels are or if your pet has a favorite hiding spot.
Thank you Sarah and Kris for being here today and answering all our questions. All the photos in the post are copyrighted by JetSettingFools.com, Sarah, and Kris.
If you’d like to discuss this subject more, feel free to post your questions in the comment section. And make sure you keep up with the JetSetting Fools adventures on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
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