I was talking about house sitting over on TikTok and someone asked me where house sitters live between sits. It’s a good question and the answer depends on what kind of sitter they are. I personally have stayed in some really fun places that I’ll share with you in this post!
Full-time house sitters or ad hoc?
Firstly we need to keep in mind that not all house sitters sit full-time. My experience is that I sold my house and have not had a set base since December 2017. I’ve moved from one house sit to another during that time.
Other house sitters just choose to pick up house sits every now and then. They use it as a way of getting a free holiday or a nice weekend away. Obviously, in that situation, the sitter has a permanent home.
I personally have stayed in a variety of places between sits. It makes for an interesting life! Sometimes it can feel a bit chaotic but mostly I like the variety.
Gaps between house sits
Where I stay mostly depends on how big a gap I have between sits. I’ve actually got pretty good at manifesting sits for exactly or almost exactly the dates I need. In the beginning I stayed in Aribnbs and picked up some housesits. Over time I got invited back to repeat sits and accepted for more new sits so the ratio switched to more time in sits than Airbnbs.
Now I try and run new house sits onto the end of existing sits so there’s less to-ing and fro-ing. But I don’t always manage it exactly. Sometimes that means I have a week or two between sits but other times it’s only a day or two.
I aim not to book short sits too far in advance because that can make it harder to find other dates to match. An exception to this was when I was housesitting in Devon in 2020. If I’d been actively looking for a listing I wouldn’t have applied for the repeat sit I ended up doing for them without having some dates booked in between. But during my first sit there I was invited back to do a 5-day sit about 6 weeks later. I loved the place and the cat so much that I said yes straight away.
In that situation, I had a one month sit in London that started as soon as I left Devon. I then had about 2 weeks before I needed to go back. In the end I decided to come out to Greece. Housesitting listings had reduced dramatically as the travel restrictions kept changing. I didn’t want to be in a position where I thought I had a sit and then last minute had to make alternative arrangements for accommodation.
After Devon, there were still no restrictions or advice against travelling to Greece. I came back for a longer stretch and randomly ended up housesitting in Greece!
Holidays and Mini Breaks
Early in 2020, I went to Tenerife for about a week as I had a gap between sits. I’d actually decided to take 3-months off from house sitting after that and settle into somewhere in London for a bit. My plans changed when covid struck and I was in lockdown in London until the beginning of July.
Before that though, I worked as an employee. I was in charge of scheduling and I worked in a 7-day a week business so it wasn’t your typical 9-5. Where it worked for the company I scheduled my days off for the gaps in my housesits. So if I had a two-day space between one housesit ending and another starting I took those days as my “weekend”.
I’d book to get out of London and enjoy some glamping and getting back to nature.
Staying in a Teepee
I stayed in this Teepee on a farm in Warwickshire. It had an outdoor bathtub and was right next to the canal. When I went it was red hot and I got completely sunburnt getting lost across the fields on the way to the pub,
There was a separate, shabby chic cooking area as well as a shared outdoor shower. I had my own compostable toilet tucked away in a cabin in nearby bushes.
Even though I’m a rural lass I quickly adjust to the environment around me. That meant I was so used to the convenience of London life that I didn’t plan very well. (Plus work was a bit of a whirlwind so I barely stopped to think until I sat down on the train.)
When I arrived on the train I should have taken cash out for the taxi before leaving. Just before we arrived at the site we had to go back to a village we’d already passed to use the cash machine as I couldn’t pay by card.
Doing a proper shop beforehand would have been a good idea as there were no mini-supermarkets nearby. I think now that you can get an online shop delivered to the farmhouse before you arrive but either way I was disorganised on that front!
Staying in a Shepherd’s hut
Staying in this shepherd’s hut was nice. It wasn’t too far from civilisation but it was cut off in terms of wifi and phone signal. (I think a lot of Londoners had stayed as the reviews said it was “remote”. You could see other houses from the window and a baker and local shop were within short-ish walking distance. That’s not my definition of remote but it was lovely and quiet.)
My favourite thing is being able to see the stars at night and hear the owls and other nocturnal animals going about their business.
Staying in a witch’s cottage
Staying here was just amazing. It’s a lovely old stone cottage with a mezzanine bed and a little deck beside a stream. The owners were so lovely and collected me from the station then dropped me back.
I’m a sucker for wood-burning stoves and, like the other two places above, there was one here too. This place was peaceful with lots of space and privacy. Again I was able to walk to a little supermarket but it felt very much out in the countryside. I just sat and watched the trees in the wind, listened to the rain and smelt the smell of the fire. Heaven!
Basic hostels and luxury hotels
Sometimes when I’ve only had 2 nights of accommodation to find in the month I’ve treated myself to a luxury hotel. When I was employed I worked hard for long hours. Traipsing out of London felt too much so I just flopped somewhere gorgeous and chilled out.
I love Richmond (I still class it as London!) and the park is a place where you can still find yourself alone. The deer wander freely and no matter how many times I’ve been I still find myself down a new path or discovering a different space.
Richmond Harbour Hotel, London
I loved staying at Richmond Harbour Hotel. It was friendly and cosy and the restaurant is AMAZING! They have wellies in the lobby that you can borrow to explore the park on muddy days. And there are books galore for you to dig into in the comfortable chairs. They have a small leisure centre next door with a swimming pool and lovely spa treatments.
Warren House Hotel, London
My room at Warren House was spacious and fairly quiet but I was a bit disappointed by the standard. The bathroom wasn’t completely clean and the decor was a bit sad. The front desk team weren’t as friendly as I’d experienced at the Harbour Hotel. It was a nice enough break but not somewhere I’ll rush back to.
The Petersham Hotel
I arrived at the Petersham hotel one cold autumnal evening when the wind was howling and the rain was pouring down. I’d booked a single room and was expecting it to have a view of nature out of the window. When I checked in it looked out over the roof of the hotel.
I was so disappointed and went to reception to see if they could move me to another room with a tree outside (as I’d seen on the image when I’d booked). The gentleman on the desk was so kind and straight away gave me another option. I was expecting a different single room but he upgraded me to a wonderful big room with a magnificent view of the river and field of Belted Galloways.
There was some refurbishment work being done in the corridor outside so I had to step over the painter in the morning. I think that’s the only reason I had the opportunity of that room but I was so incredibly grateful. It was such a tonic. The room was so big and luxurious with a separate little room and a huge bath.
I even got a free dessert when I ordered the room service risotto and they mistakenly brought me some rice dessert thing with popcorn ice-cream. When it came I checked that it was right but was told it was definitely the risotto. After eating it I can confirm that it wasn’t! I called back to reorder the main course because I was still hungry. I was happy to pay for the dessert that I ate but they insisted on not charging me.
This would be a lovely hotel to return to when I’m back in London.
Basic rooms and hostels
And as much as I love a bit of luxury, I’ve also stayed in some pretty basic places. As I mentioned earlier, I worked long hours as an employee, especially on days when I didn’t have to get back to feed a cat. It seemed daft to pay a fortune on London accommodation to arrive at 10pm just to sleep and be out again the next day at 7am.
Last minute booking helped keep prices down but in London prices can go up and down depending on the season and what else is going on in the city. I’ve stayed in £50 per night studios in Hendon and sometimes I’ve booked a shared room in a hostel. In the past that’s something I never thought I could do. But £16 or £160 just to get your head down for the night puts things in perspective! Often I’ve ended up getting a 2 or 4 bed dorm room to myself anyway so it all works out in the end.
I was lucky enough to be working in the hospitality industry for some of the last 3 years. Working for a company that provides accommodation was useful for me! As employees, we were able to use last-minute credits to book free nights in our properties plus we had a certain amount of money to spend on our properties. I used those perks to stay in lovely spaces in London’s zones 1/2 as well as 10 nights in Rome.
There were also other odd situations that meant from time to time some of our spaces couldn’t be rented. For one reason or another I was able to stay at a lovely apartment off Oxford Circus for about 7 weeks.
Make house sitting look how YOU want it to
Other house sitters probably have different interesting and varied tales of where they stay between house sits. Like everything else, house sitters’ experience of house sitter life is different for everyone.
Because I was based in London with work many of my house sits were based around the city. Others who have been working as digital nomads abroad will stay in one house sit for much longer stretches. If you’re away for 3 months at a time, how you fill the gaps between sits could look quite different from how I’ve filled mine.
Anyway, it’s all a journey and if you’re considering becoming a house sitter yourself there are lots of option to choose from. If you want to know more about the logistics go ahead and get the free guide I made for you. It’s about how to potential house sitters take the first steps to get started.