The Ins and Outs of Housesitting with Kids!
“Can you housesit with kids?”
“I have kids, will anyone choose us!”
These are common questions among families considering housesitting. Singles and couples are well established in the housesitting world, but is there really a place for families? Full-time international house sitter Karen King, and her two kids (13 & 7), have not only proven it possible, but they’re living the dream. After more than two years on the road and with 30 successful sits under her belt, today Karen shares with us how she got started and her thoughts on housesitting with kids.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?
Just 3 short years ago, my family and I were living the “Aussie Dream”. A beautiful big house, two cars, kids in school and our own family business. We should have been happy… but we weren’t. Tired of living the same life, day in, day out, we sold everything we owned to travel the world full time. And it was at that point I first heard of housesitting.
Housesitting has been an incredible way to travel. Be it long-term like us, or a short get away, the benefits of housesitting with kids are incredible. Is it harder to get selected with kids? Maybe! Or maybe not! It kind of depends on your approach.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF HOUSESITTING WITH KIDS?
A Place to Call Home
Traveling with kids is amazing, but also incredibly tiring. And the novelty of living out of a suitcase in a hotel can wear off pretty quickly when kids are thrown out of their normal routines. By housesitting, we always feel like we have a home. We can maintain some sort of normality and enjoy having a base to come home to.
Unlike a standard family room in a hotel, with two queen size beds, a tv and a bathroom, when housesitting we have so much more space. This gives us a chance to settle in and have down time when we need it, without being on top of each other!
The smallest house we’ve stayed in was a little two bedroom apartment, but in the UAE our home was 7 bedrooms and 7 bathrooms – we hardly saw each other!
There’s nothing quite like getting away and enjoying a nice meal in a restaurant. Unfortunately, not all kids enjoy new tastes and textures, and if you’re blessed with a fussy eater, dining out regularly can get
difficult. Furthermore, dining out as a family can become super expensive, super quickly!
Housesitting gives us the luxury of a kitchen, allowing us to choose how we want to eat, and to enjoy the best of both worlds. Ultimately, this keeps everyone happy, including my wallet!
If you’re a pet loving family, then housesitting is definitely for you. We just love animals, and can’t imagine life without them, but when you travel as much as we do, it’s nearly impossible to have a pet of your own. Housesitting allows us to have it all.
For short term travellers, having animals is an incredible way to explore the area. Take the dog to the beach and let the kids have a swim. Walk the local neighborhood and experience how other people live! Pets have only added to our experience, and as long as you choose wisely, our pets have rarely prevented us from doing anything during our travels.
Housesitting is a wonderful win-win situation for homeowner and sitter alike. There are so many benefits for each party, however as sitters, one of the major advantages is the amount of money it saves. By my calculations, we’ve saved around $25,000-$30,000 per year during our travels!
Of course, I know that not everyone is traveling full time as we do, but just imagine what free accommodation could mean for your vacation budget! A month in France? Two weeks in Spain? What about traveling down under to Australia, a place well known for an outrageous cost of living! The money we save on accommodation pays for our flights and/or activities, which makes a huge difference to our experience!
HOW DO YOU GET STARTED HOUSESITTING WITH KIDS
If you’re brand new to housesitting, the whole process can seem a little daunting. But fear not, it’s surprisingly easy to get started, and your kids may just be your secret weapon!
Don’t Let Fear Get in The Way!
I’m not sure I ever considered that my kids would be a disadvantage when we applied for our early housesits. Maybe I was a little ignorant. Or maybe, as a Mum, I’m so used to having kids it just didn’t occur to me! Looking back, I often wonder if my “ignorance” has actually been the reason for my success.
I didn’t see a reason for a no, so it never got in my way!
Whatever you do, don’t let it stop you. Sure some owners won’t want children staying, but others will not want a single, while others will not want a couple! Every sit is different and you just need to find the right fit!
Lots of Animals Love Kids!
In the past two and a half years we’ve racked up quite the little pet sitting family. We’ve cared for over 50 dogs, 30 cats, a bunch of turtles, chickens, rabbits, geese, ducks and even turkeys! What was the one thing that all of these housesits have had in common? The animals loved kids, and we were chosen BECAUSE we had kids!
I can’t tell you how often we’ve heard owners say “our dog just loves playing with kids so we knew you’d be perfect!” Our kids have definitely helped our chances, on more than one occasion!
In our very early days, back when we had very few reviews, I asked the kids teachers to write a review for them. Of course, they were more than happy to, and it gave home owners a look at the children from another point of view.
As you complete a sit or two, make sure you ask the homeowner to mention how they found the kids. This will go a long way to helping future owners understand how amazing your kids are!
Tell Owners How They’ll Benefit
When writing your profile, don’t avoid the fact that you have kids! In fact, play them up! Help owners understand just how loving the children are with animals and how loved their pets will be while they are away BECAUSE of the kids. Take photos of your children with a range of animals so owners can begin to picture their pets with your kids!
Ignore the Family Friendly Tick Box!
When applying for a sit, I have always ignored any “Family Friendly” type filters. So many owners that have chosen us, had never considered having a family stay. In fact, a number had specifically NOT marked their listing as family friendly! But upon chatting with us and meeting us in person, all were very happy to have us as a selection, and of course, we’ve been happy we didn’t miss out!
So, can you housesit with kids? YES! Will homeowners choose a family over others? Of course they will! You just need to take the plunge and get started!
If you’re keen to get started in housesitting, make sure you check out Karen’s Ultimate House and Pet Sitting Guide designed to help you get started the right way! And pick up her Quick Start Guide for FREE while you’re there!
Proud Aussie, Travelpreneur and Mum of 2, Karen King has been housesitting full time since early 2016. Frustrated and unhappy in life, Karen and her family sold everything they owned in 2015, to radically overhaul their life and begin full time international travel, housesitting their way across the globe. Karen loves helping families travel more and introducing people to the wonders of housesitting. She is the proud owner of House & Pet Sitting Guide, a site dedicated to helping travellers kickstart their housesitting adventure and Worldschooling Central, a community of traveling families.
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