How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World!

by Beckie_Knight / Nov 19, 2012 / 0 comments

Book Review: How to Become a Housesitter and see the World! by Dalene & Pete Heck


I have been meaning to write a review of this book for a while now.  The only problem is that I’m busy.  I work long hours and I try my best to make the most of life at the weekend and so I’ve never got quite gotten around to writing this review.  Which is, of course, ironically why this book and everything that house-sitting represents is so important to me.  I want to slow down and I want to travel so that I am able to notice the colours around me; and that is exactly what this book tells you how to achieve.


How to Become a House-Sitter and See the World!


With its slightly tongue-in-cheek publication style and a homespun look to the text, you could be forgiven for thinking that the authors will provide you with some light-hearted anecdotes and then end it all with a few tips.  But you’d be wrong.  There are anecdotes and there are personal remembrances, but that only serves to make what the Hecks are saying even more useful. 


With a table of contents that includes:

Why Become a house-sitter?
Important Things to Consider
Finding a House-Sit
Getting a House-Sit
A word About Contracts
How to be a Good House-Sitter
As well as FAQs, advice from experts and additional resources
, this is a practical guide for the novice house-sitter.


I am hoping to house-sit my way around the world at some point in the future, but until I read this book it had only really been a bit of a pipe dream.  Something mentioned over a glass of wine and in between the reading of travel blogs.  What Dalene and Pete manage to do is to actually make you think that you can achieve that dream (as long as you are pro-active and organised and careful and flexible – which I now know are key characteristics of the successful House-Sitter).  The book also makes you think about what you want out of a house-sit.  When I first thought about travelling using this method, I was just excited by the prospect of living somewhere rent free and keeping the house owner happy and the pets alive.


But now, having read the book, I’ve realised just how important it is to think about how you will feel living in one place for a period of time and considering the practicalities that come with that.  Dalene and Pete use their time in Roatan in Honduras as an example – I’ve been there and I loved it, but I also got eaten alive by some sort of bug that found my legs particularly tasty out of all the people in my hotel and I remember thinking that the place was a bit touristy around the edges, so would I really want to spend six months there?  These are important questions to ask and I now know how to phrase them and how to get the answers from any would be house owners.


What is also great about this book is the way that the Hecks have done so much of the legwork for you.  Obviously, you would expect something in return for buying the book, but the sections on where to look for jobs and how to make sure that you are the one selected are really, really helpful.  The comparison of house-sitting websites, for example, is comprehensive and covers things that I would never have thought of initially, but that I can see are hugely useful. 


The resources section at the back also contains some useful links as well as (and this might be because I am a big fan of lists) what seems to be the most informative, all-inclusive checklist of all time.  I haven’t yet put my house-sitting plan in to action, but I have no doubt that this book will be my best friend when I do.


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Beckie Knight is a faculty member for the Youth Travel Blogging Mentorshp Program.


Note: We received a review copy of this book from the publisher - thank you!