Josh has lived and breathed the house sitting lifestyle since 2016, immersing himself in new communities and living like a local, all while saving big on accommodation. Here’s how ‘sitting’ has let him travel across Australia and around the world.


We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the Countries on which these adventures take place who have occupied and cared for these lands, waters, and their inhabitants for thousands of years. We pay our respects to them and recognise that sovereignty was never ceded.


Over the last fortnight, I’ve occupied a newly-renovated cottage in Victoria’s lush Yarra Valley. Each morning, I cut a sweaty 45-minute circuit through a fern-lined gully to a La La Falls. Over lunch, I find a grassy spot under a shady gum near the Yarra River, and after dinner, I’ll eye off a summit and clamber to the top before dark.


La La Falls


Next week, I’ll be based near Coonabarabran at the foothills of the Warrumbungle Ranges in gorgeous Kamilaroi Country. Three weeks later, I’ll call the Blue Mountains home for a month. So, how do these iconic Australian locations keep appearing on my doorstep? Simple. I move the doorstep. I’m a house sitter.

Getting My Start

In 2016, fresh from throwing in the towel at my first desk job, I busily researched alternative ways to extend my adventures beyond the weekend.

With an open road and a freelance contract in front of me, #vanlife flooded my algorithm. I spent weeks deep-diving YouTube rabbit holes, overanalysing my ideal Sprinter conversion. However, with my living arrangements quickly expiring, I needed an alternative to my alternative. Enter house sitting.

After padding out my resume with a handful of local Adelaide sits, I took the show nationally. The following year delivered 221 days of rent-free* living, minimal expenses, extensive travel, unforgettable experiences, and the company of beloved pets.


Pets are bonus company!


Some six years later, after clocking in 30+ house sitting adventures across every Australian state, I’ve put van conversion plans on hold indefinitely.

Wait, so what exactly is house sitting?

Simply put, a house sitter looks after someone else’s home while they’re away. Straightforward, right? In exchange for maintaining the status quo, a sitter can live and breathe a new landscape without their bank balance haemorrhaging funds on accommodation.

Sound promising? The lifestyle suits adventurers who work remotely or are enjoying some well-earned downtime, but it’s also a neat option for those looking to explore intermittently. Sits can run from as little as a weekend to as long as several months; and even up to a year! I know, a total game changer.

Best in Show

House sitting handpicks the best parts from the various travel accommodation types. It features the comfort of an Airbnb, the frugality of a roadside campsite, the gentle pace of van life and the hospitality of crashing on a mate’s couch.

Plus, sits typically come with the unyielding affection of a loving pet. Most contain cats or dogs, but animals can include budgies, goldfish, guinea pigs, rabbits, turtles, frogs, chickens… yep, all the regulars (although I was once asked to feed a brush turkey).


One of the varied pets you might look after on a house sit

A Financially Sustainable Way to Adventure

With any travel-based lifestyle, costs add up. Depending on location, expenses like petrol, car maintenance, groceries, and emergency pet treats will fluctuate.

But without a landlord syphoning rent each week, finances remain stable. Plus, in most instances, homeowners cover utilities like electricity, gas and internet. Happy days!

While house sitting reduces costs significantly, a bear’s still gotta eat, right? So between my morning hikes, evening climbs, and shady lunches, I grind out the 9-5 like the rest of the huddled masses.


An adventure had in Warburton while house sitting

For the most part, my professional life is as it would be, except every 2-6 weeks, I experience a new office, a new landscape, and a new shade of lovingly-smooched pet hair on my work sweatpants.

It’s Environmentally Friendlier Too

We all know it; we grin and bear it, but most forms of travel accommodation aren’t particularly sustainable. Don’t get me wrong, eco-hotels are fantastic, but the hospitality industry has a way to go before it can meet the ethical expectations of long-term travellers, particularly those on a budget.

By sidestepping mainstream accommodation, house sitters can reduce their environmental impact by minimising waste and conserving resources, such as energy, water, and even food.

Homeowners often leave you leftovers from their pantry or fridge, including the odd beer or wine! A home-cooked meal, a tasty tipple and a day exploring a new region: the holy adventure trinity.

Flexibility for Longer Adventures

But what happens when gaps emerge between sits, I hear you ask? I recommend cramming in as many hikes, campsites and road trips as your budget and employer’s patience will allow.

I’ve previously cut a lap of Tasmania ending with a cosy townhouse in Bellerive, beach-hopped the Western Australian coastline en route to Perth’s outer suburbs, and peakbagged the Grampians before arriving in Melbourne’s urban jungle.


Oh hey WA


There’s room for the big guys too! In 2018, I left a Heysen Trail-sized hole in my schedule, giving me two months to complete Australia’s longest-marked hiking trail.

Following this punishing journey, I arrived back in Adelaide for five weeks of rest and recovery with the resident emotional support cat, Jude, the British Shorthair.


The adorable Jude

Going Global

Thanks to my break with Jude, I had the headspace to assess my next steps. Ultimately, the choice was simple, my adventures went overseas.

Over the following nine months, I roamed the Northern Hemisphere house sitting tourist hot spots New York, Berlin, and Dublin while leaving myself a 34-day window to walk the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage through Spain out to the ocean.

A note of caution. Some countries view house sitting as a form of ’employment’. So do your research and grab the correct visa before you go.

Read more: How To Become A House Sitter in 10 Easy Steps

Okay, Now the Fine Print

*You know how I said ‘rent-free’? Well, there’s a catch. Indeed, money doesn’t change hands (in most instances), but a house sitting lifestyle isn’t without responsibility.

Your payment-in-kind is to maintain the home: feed the pets, take out the bins, collect the mail, water the garden, and generally stay domesticated. Not to mention going on daily dog walkies and letting the cat in and out, and in and out, and in and out (mate, the catflap is right there!).

Unfortunately, that also means you can’t up and leave when those Japan flights come on sale. You’re offering a service that, much like your Uber rating, stays on your permanent record.

Treat a house-sit like your grandma’s home: be polite, respectful and clean, and devour those homemade biscuits left for you on the counter.

And well, honestly, if you don’t like animals or have allergies to fluff, house sitting may not be for you. While plant-sitting is a thing, 99% of all sits require some level of pet care.


Brian held the fort while I explored Melbourne’s walking trails

So, where to start?

Still with me? Nice one. Let’s go.

Find Your Preferred Platform

Australia and New Zealand have thriving house sitting communities; however, as a result, there’s an oversupply of online platforms. I recommend starting with Aussie House Sitters and MindaHome for Aussies, and Kiwi House Sitters for those across the ditch. Internationally, Trusted Housesitters contains the most comprehensive list of global assignments.

Charm Their Socks Off

Much like any cover letter, your house sitting profile should impress. Provide an alluring account of your background, personality, experience, relevant skills, and level of domestication, but don’t tip-toe the truth. Details about your history with animals should always be authentic and honest. I’m serious; no fibbing. If you’ve never fit a horseshoe, don’t claim to be a professional farrier. Things will get messy!

Build a Reputation

As with any dream job application, quality references go a long way. So, while sitting for family members puts a name on the page, external references are gold. Struggling to break through? Consider applying for sits over Christmas, Easter, and the school holidays when households travel en masse.

Find Your Dream Sit

Once you’ve built a foundation, get cracking on finding your adventure. But remember to be patient; finding the right sit can take time. Continue applying and get in as early as possible. Some homeowners based in popular tourist regions receive dozens of applications in the first hours of posting; make sure you’re in the mix before they pull their ad.

So, whether you’re a seasoned traveller or a rookie adventurer, house sitting offers a novel way to discover beautiful new locations without eating your savings. With the freedom to live like a local, connect with nature, and live sustainably, sitting is a lifestyle worth exploring.