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Passionate experience junkie. Lover of the arts and architecture. Want to see and share the world, one village at a time.

New Trend in House Sitting: The Ultra-Short Assignment

I admit it. I read all the house sitting assignments that come through my email each day. It’s an obsession.

House sitting travel

Six years ago, when Conrad and I first found out about house sitting, I remember clamoring to get my hands on a computer, so I could look up house sitting match-up sites.

As soon as I read my first one – I still remember it, a rural home in Portugal with 2 dogs — a whole new world opened up. The homeowners described their area; river running nearby, a few kilometers to a town with a bakery and cafes. Oh my! I felt a surge of urgency to do this crazy thing called house sitting.

Conrad and I have happily changed our lives through house sitting around the world since then. Here is a post I wrote after our first house sit.

I love the humanness of it all. I love how the entire world of families and households are available to me – that we can connect, become friends, and help each other out.

I’ve read gazillions of posts from all over the world, in every corner.

Screen shot THS

So there’s this trend I see lately. Have you noticed this too – there are many ultra-short house sitting assignments? They are 2-3 days only. 2-3 days!

I really don’t want an assignment under 6 weeks, because it takes that long to settle in to a neighborhood and the routine of living there.

At first blush, the short assignments were nonsense to me, but the more I thought about it, the more logic I found, especially for newbies.

I look at it two different ways:

In Favor of Short House Sits:

The numbers of homeowners and house sitters is growing exponentially – that’s good, right? So I have to believe that when someone posts a need for a sitter for 2 days, they are thinking, (knowing?), that there are a lot of sitters out there, AND NEARBY.

Plus, for all the new house sitters trying to get assignments, a local short-term sit is the perfect way to start, figure out if you like it, and to gather references.

Lillian Yates Duggan, of  My Ideal World, did just that. She says,

“I was looking for a short-term sit near my home recently so that my family could try house-sitting. It had to occur within the holiday break as well. Luckily, I found [a short assignment]. It was just what I needed under the circumstances.”

For new house sitters, close-to-home is a tried-and-true method for getting started, as I write in this post.

Against Short House Sits:

Amongst full-time and experienced house sitters, the resounding opinion is negative for short assignments. Here’s what a few veterans had to say:

Beckie Alley of says: “I’ve noticed that too actually, and find it a little frustrating. Some assignments I know I’d be great at doing and their pets are adorable, but for me, the cost of getting there can’t justify the 2 or 3 days needed.”

Victoria Fann says, “I just received a request for one. My issues are that it’s not enough time for the sitters and pets to adjust to each other…plus, the move in and move out (with cleaning) is too much work for a few days.”

Ruth Myers of Happy House Sitters, says, “On my platform we have a 5 night minimum.. Funnily enough 5-6 years ago – it used to be 2 weeks.”

Robin Detrick Lopez of The Mermaid House Sitter says, “It’s hard for me to fathom anyone expecting an international house sitter to accept a 2-3 day assignment. I get calls for 3 day getaways as well but will only accept short stays requested by former clients. All the pre work has been done.”

Tracy McDermott of McNomads, says,

“We analyzed the cost of our housesitting assignments over the past 12 months. We had one sit that was more costly for us to do than a cruise we took last year on Royal Caribbean. True story. Transportation cost to the housesit and during the sit was the factor. Bottom line is we cannot afford to take a short sit because the transportation and set up costs (restocking fridge) are too high. Might just as well be floating on a luxury liner somewhere.

Tracy wanted to add, “The effort it takes to apply is the same for a two-day or a two-month sit. That costs nothing tangible, of course, but the application process can be time consuming and aggravating. I’d probably opt for a couple of relaxing days at an AirBnB instead.”

And then finally this from Tracy, “I still believe that a loving house-sitter is better for the pets than a strange kennel. Not that I would not take a short sit under any circumstances but they would have to align perfectly with our plans.”


So there you have it. The pros and cons of the ultra-short house sit.

They are here to stay, I believe, and the short assignments are good way to get started in the wonderful world of house sitting. The competition will be lower for those short stays, allowing first-timers to get a foot in the door.

Plus, all the new homeowners on the house sitting sights proves one thing – this movement is growing! People are getting more comfortable with the idea of a sharing society.

Europe 2010 040Bottom line: Go for the close-to-home shorter house sits to gain valuable experience and references. Then who knows? The sky’s the limit after that – Singapore, Paris, South Africa?

Click here for house sitting tips and inspiration.

Wishing you safe and happy travels always and all ways,


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7 Responses to “New Trend in House Sitting: The Ultra-Short Assignment”

  1. Tracy McDermott #

    Great post. Looking forward to seeing more articles from you.

    January 25, 2015 at 10:47 pm Reply
  2. Alba #

    I am so ready to start doing this! What is your recommendation for the best sites to use? And why (or have you already written an article about this you can point me to?) My goal is to design a trip that will last six months – but I’m concerned: I thought that a tourist can only stay a limited time in Europe? My dream trip would be 4 – 6 weeks in a half dozen places in Southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, France, Italy…) but if we wanted to do that, spending a total of 6 months across Europe – is there a visa needed? I know that because we have Canadian passports we can stay in the UK for 6 months on a tourist visa – but I thought Europe was different now that it’s the EU.

    February 4, 2015 at 11:36 am Reply
    • Hi Alba,
      The main point you ask is about the Schengen visa for Europe. It is a 90 day visa but for almost all EU countries it is pointless. We have been there longer than 90 days with no problem whatsoever. Many, many other folks do the same thing. However there are exceptions and recently I heard the 3 countries where you must follow the 90-day rule are Germany, England, and Greece. So for instance, don’t be in any of those countries at the 90-day time, or when you enter or leave any of those countries after the 90-day time has passed.

      Other than that, the visa requirement is completely ignored.

      Wishing you safe and happy travels,

      February 4, 2015 at 11:55 am Reply
  3. So timely a discussion. We’ve agreed to a number of 1-week sits between now and Christmas, but now fear they’re far too short to really get a feel for the animals and the locale. That said, housesitting is an ever changing situation both for homeowners and housesitters. It sways and swirls as life’s demands dictate and perhaps that’s another reason we enjoy it so much. NO routine. Ever!
    Dianne Burns recently posted..Edinburgh RevisitedMy Profile

    November 2, 2015 at 11:52 am Reply
    • Perfectly said, Dianne! Thanks so much for joining the conversation.
      Wishing you safe and happy travels,

      November 3, 2015 at 6:59 am Reply
  4. Sam #

    Haha, glad I’m not the only one that reads all the listings coming in! My partner doesn’t like to hear about ones that we don’t fit or that don’t fit our dates (not to get excited about something we can’t do), but I love to know what else is going on out there in the housesitting world, what homeowners expect generally, and which ones need sitters frequently in case of doing one in the future.

    We’ve talked about short sits a lot because we see them come up frequently and wondered who the heck is doing them. We only looked at sits for a minimum of a month if close, more if far. Then we needed to base ourselves in NYC (where we are from) for the summer to be near friends and family, and started to see the benefit of shorter local sits for getting more references. We’re almost done with a 10 day one, after doing a weekend for the same couple. Even locally though, 2 days was still too short! It was barely enough time to get there and then have to be cleaning up. Still, we are going to be based in Madrid for a while (not housesitting), and will be hopefully pick up some weekend sits more for sightseeing and travel. Like you mentioned though, they’ll have to exactly fit our dates!
    Sam recently posted..National Parks of Utah: Arches or Canyonlands?My Profile

    August 23, 2016 at 9:11 pm Reply
    • Hi Sam,
      Reading all the house sitting listings is like meditation to me. I turn off the world around me and immerse into a dream state, imagining all the amazing places, people, pets, surrounding landscapes and villages. I love it! You and I can now know there’s someone else out there obsessing over this fun practice!
      Thanks so much for adding your short-assignment viewpoint. Good points, all.

      August 24, 2016 at 7:34 am Reply

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