Friday 22 June 2018


vegan house sitting

People often ask me how I was able to afford to travel the world for four years straight, across five continents. The answer is easy: house sitting. And it turns out, like most things, house sitting is improved by veganism. This is a long house sitting blog post, split up into these sections:

  • What is house sitting?
  • What is vegan house sitting?
  • Why is house sitting perfect for vegans
  • Are there any downsides to vegan house sitting?
  • Dream vegan house sits
  • How to start house sitting

1. What is House Sitting?

First things first, what is house sitting? House sitting is where you live in and look after a house while its owner is away. In exchange for caring for the house (and more often than not the odd pet or three), house sitters receive free accommodation, free bills, free wifi and often free car rental and sometimes free food. What does this mean? At its minimum, house sitters can suddenly live at a fraction of the cost of before - think for a minute how much you spend on rent/mortgage, electricity, water bills, wifi, council tax etc, now imagine if all that was taken care of. Now add this on top of that: with house sitting you will very likely get to live in a much nicer place to the one you currently live in. For example, I went from living in a tiny studio in Birmingham to living in this:

house sitting for vegans

Above you can see me during a house sit at a mansion in the south of Spain with not one, but two swimming pools. Optimally, vegan house sitting can offer you worldwide free and luxury accommodation - for many, including myself, the distant dream of travelling the world was suddenly transformed into a very reachable reality:

how to become a house sitter
My fourth house sit - deserted beach life in Western Australia.  

2. What is Vegan House Sitting?

If you're a vegan that house sits, you automatically become a vegan house sitter. You may even be lucky enough to find vegan homeowners and vegan house sits! So why is vegan house sitting perfect for travelling vegans? Skipping over the fact that house sitting is a great idea for most people who love travelling (remember: it's free accommodation anywhere on the planet), there are a lot of reasons why house sitting is perfect specifically for vegans who travel:

#1. It's heaven for travelling pet lovers

Vegans tend to love animals (that's kind of our thing) many vegans have rescue pets or found it was thanks to the love of our family pets growing up that made us vegan. House sitting is made for animal lovers. Most house sitting jobs are pet sitting jobs too - the biggest responsibility for your house sitting job is looking after the pets.

vegan house sitting

vegan house sitting cats

So if, like me, you love travelling but are worried you're going to miss the home comfort of having a pet, you must check out vegan house-sitting - it's the best of both worlds! I'll be honest, pet sitting involves a lot of pets sitting on you.

vegan house sitter
Throwbacks to Victoria with cats sitting on my lap and Canberra with a dog sitting on my lap

#2. Can you still house sit if you're a vegan with a pet allergy?

Can you house sit with animal allergies? First of all, I'm so sorry if you are a vegan with animal allergies, that must suck. But second of all, don't worry - there are still plenty of vegan house sitting jobs without pets!

house sitting europe

There are also lots of vegan house sitting jobs that have pets that you're possibly not allergic to - generally I house sit dogs and cats (or both), but I've also done house sits with chickens, turtles, horses, donkeys, sheep, guinea pigs, lizards and fish. If you're a responsible adult (slash have the ability to act the responsible adult for the length of a house sit), I guarantee that there's a suitable house sit out there for you.

vegan horse riding

(Do you think it's vegan to ride a horse? Personally, I haven't ridden one since I became vegan, but I'd love to hear what you think.) Back to vegan house sitting benefits:

#3. Vegan house sitters get full kitchen access!

If you're planning to travel as a vegan and your number 1 concern isn't about where you're going to eat - are you even vegan? Jokes aside, I'm sure it will be one of your biggest concerns, but you forget the concern immediately with house sitting, why? Because you have private access to a well-equipped kitchen of course!

vegan free accommodation

Vegan travel can be hard if you're in a place with no vegan restaurants, where you can't communicate effectively to the non-vegan restaurants that you want vegan food and / or if the place doesn't have your usual go-to vegan snacks in the supermarket. You know what you can find pretty much all over the planet? Rice. Beans. Veg. But if you're travelling using hotels you probably won't have access to a kitchen and will have no way to cook said rice, beans and veg. Even in a hostel, which often comes with a kitchen, you still might not be cooking very well there - firstly, hostel kitchens are infamously not well equipped and secondly you'll be sharing with however many other people.

With vegan house sitting you will be using a kitchen that someone regularly uses to cook their own meals - aka they will probably have things like strainers, blenders, salad spinners, sharp knives, woks, rice cookers etc - not just the bog standard pot, tin opener and single spork that you'll find (if you're lucky) at a hostel. Secondly, you won't be sharing this kitchen with dozens of others, in fact, you won't be sharing it with anyone! Summary: want access to dope kitchens and other home comforts whilst travelling? Vegan house sitter might well be your new dream job.

#4. You'll have extra cash for vegan restaurants

Anyone who has ever cooked at home anywhere knows that cooking at home is way cheaper than eating out. As a vegan house sitter, you have the option to dine in as often as you like, you'll be saving a bunch and suddenly you'll have the cash to dine at expensive vegan restaurants, even in expensive countries like the USA, Australia and Israel.

vegan travel

This 'cash spare' phenomenon isn't exclusive to vegan restaurants, of course, thanks to house sitting I was able to afford trips to expensive countries like Australia and Finland in the first place - I'm not sure I'd have ever been able to afford going there without house sitting!

#5. You get to travel the world for free!

Building on from that, house sitting means you'll be able to travel the world at a fraction of the cost of other people, whilst still maintaining a sense of luxury. In all my years of travel I've never found anything like it - yes Couchsurfing, hitchhiking and freeganing will get you free travel, but it's far from luxurious and thus it's definitely not for everyone. Similarly, staying in five-star hotels, flying on first-class tickets and dining in Michelin restaurants will get you luxury travel, but it's far from attainable for most.

vegan house sitting australia

With house sitting you truly get the best of both worlds - cheap and luxury travel. I've house sat mansions, places with pools, saunas, tennis courts, private beaches, jacuzzis - you name it. I've even been lent Porches.

vegan house sitting jobs

3. Are There Any Downsides to Vegan House Sitting?

Two words of 'caution' I want to give you - first of all, I don't want you walking in with the wrong idea, vegan house sits (where the homeowners are also vegan) are out there and certainly possible - and as vegans, you're almost guaranteed to get those house sits. However, the majority of house sits will come with non-vegan homeowners. Vegan house sits are kind of rare. But that's not a problem when the homeowner leaves it'll be just you and the kitchen and then it's vegan time.

Which brings me to my second word of 'caution' - as every vegan knows, being a guest of a non-vegan can sometimes come with a few awkward conversations/situations. The same can be true for house sits with non-vegan homeowners. For example, we've had homeowners very generously offered to cook for us as a thank you for us house sitting for them - and then been given salad with cow-cheese in it.

trustedhousesitters review

Similarly, we've had homeowners say to help ourselves to anything in the fridge/certain cupboards, only to find cow cheese, cow milk, cow yoghurt and tins of tuna in there! Luckily the tuna kept for when they got back... But these are hardly the typical house sits, so I think this is a good time to tell you about some dream vegan house sits that I've done, to give you an idea of what's out there waiting for you:

4. Dream Vegan House Sits

Vegan house sitting Germany

Tanbay (aka my ex-fiancé) and I house sat four dogs and three cats in Hamburg Germany in a beautiful house with a sauna, a jacuzzi and a Porsche.

house sitting vegans

The homeowners (non-vegans) went above and beyond our expectations:
  • Cooked us a delicious 100% vegan-friendly meal
  • Made sure they cooked enough for us to have yummy leftovers the next day
  • Stocked up the fridge with tofu, vegan yoghurts and loads of other yummy vegan treats
  • Told us to help ourselves to anything in the cupboards - pasta, rice, quinoa etc (no tuna)

They also had an incredible kitchen. It was a dream to cook in. I've been back to this house sit three times, including last year with Tamás (aka new boyf). It's like returning home. [Read more on my other blog: house sitting in Berlin guide]

Vegan house sitting in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Another house sit I did with an incredible kitchen was in Chiang Mai Thailand (a place famous for its vegan-friendliness). We looked after two dogs and a cat here.

vegan pet sitting

pet sitting vegans

They were also such lovely homeowners (and again non-vegan) who went above and beyond to welcome us:

  • They treated us to a vegan-friendly restaurant in Chiang Mai where I had vegan-duck that tasted so much like duck I had to double check it wasn't duck (it wasn't). It was so delicious!
  • Showed us the most incredible fruit and veg market and generously bought us a bunch of goodies (including the best pineapple and watermelon I've ever had)
  • Drove us to the big supermarkets to make sure we'd stocked up on enough porridge, pasta, etc.
  • Taught me how to make perfect rice!

Back to the kitchen, I can't emphasise this enough. Imagine for a second you've been travelling in South East Asia for months, you haven't seen an oven in months because they're not really a thing there. Add to that the fact that all your delicious fresh fruit and veg has to be washed with bottled water (you can't drink the tap water in South East Asia). Washing everything with bottled water is a) a pain and b) a lot of plastic waste.

Imagine now, how much of a heaven we were in when we stepped into this house sit's kitchen. Not only did they have an oven, they had a special filter tap meaning we could finally drink tap water again! It might sound weird to you, but home-comforts whilst travelling is a massive reason I think house sitting is one of the best ways to travel. Especially for vegans who are lucky to get home-comforts even when not travelling haha (I'm looking at you, unwelcoming hosts xx)

5. How to Start House Sitting

So hopefully by now, I've convinced you that you want to be a vegan house sitter, so how do you become a house sitter? Put simply, sign up to trustedhousesitters it's the biggest (and in my opinion the best) website that connects house sitters with people looking for house sitters. When I first started house sitting, I signed up for a few different house sitting websites. Trustedhousesitters was the only one I ever had any success with, and what success! Through Trustedhousesitters I managed to:

  • House sit for nine months straight in Australia, doing back-to-back sits, covering six states and ticking off bucket-list places like Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Perth, Kangaroo Island, the Blue Mountains and Byron Bay. Not to mention countless off-the-beaten-track places and deserted beaches:

vegan travel

  • I then house sat for two years straight in Europe doing back-to-back sits and covering 8 countries - the UK, Spain, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Italy, Greece and Portugal:

house sitting vegan

  • I also did a dream sit in Chiang Mai and have sits coming up in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and South Korea.

I have renewed my membership every year and imo it's worth every single penny. But wait, Laura (that's me), I thought house sitting was free accommodation, why are you suddenly talking about pennies? House sitting itself is (generally) a free exchange in a win-win situation (you don't have to pay for accommodation, homeowners don't have to pay to put their pets in nasty kennels). But for most house sitting websites, including trustedhousesitters, there is an upfront signup fee. Why? Firstly, so they can maintain the website (and corresponding app), of course, but secondly to encourage homeowners and house sitters not to be flakey: unfortunately in this day and age of near-infinite information and services on the internet, it's very easy to signup to something that's free and then forget about it. By implementing a signup fee, it makes you carefully think if this is something you want to do or not. So let's think about it! Grab a pen and paper / an excel sheet / be a maths genius and do it in your head:

  • (For people who are thinking about giving up their homes and house sitting non stop): how much do you spend on accommodation per year? Include rent (or mortgage), bills (electricity, water, gas, wifi), council tax etc etc. What number do you have?
  • (For people who are looking to house sit once of twice a year for cheaper holidays): Look at your last holiday - how much did you spend on accommodation (hotels or hostels or airbnb etc)? What number do you have?

Compare your number to a year's membership with Trustedhousesitters, which, again, gives you access to house sits around the planet. This yearly membership costs £114. £114 for a whole year of free accommodation everywhere? Surely that's lower than your general accommodation costs (for those that want to house sit full time), surely it's lower than your last holiday's accommodation costs (for those that want to house sit in their holidays)? But maybe not, maybe you have free accommodation through a parent or a partner or a long-life of hard work. Maybe you get free holiday accommodation though couchsurfing or workaways. Please allow me to expand on one of my earlier points: House sitting isn't just free accommodation, it's often luxury accommodation, and it's always freedom from others.

I like couchsurfing and hostels and my family and friends as much as the next person. But I also like to have peace away from all of that for (long) stretches of time, and I like to do it luxuriously. So if you're anything like me, maybe house sitting is for you too. And, as a thank you to you for making it thus far, slash a transparent nudge to encourage you to sign up, here is a 10% Trustedhousesitters discount code (simply click that link). Now £114 becomes £102.60 / year. Yey discount codes (now that's why you make friends with annoying bloggers like me). On that note, what do I do between house sits? Mostly I did back-to-back house sits and often even stayed with the homeowners, but sometimes, as with everything, I need a break. I stay with friends and family, couchsurfing, hotels, hostels and more. But airbnb is something I'm also very much into. I'm working on a vegan airbnb post currently, but for now, if you're interested, here is a post from my other blog about airbnb for first timers.

6. Last Thoughts on House Sitting for Vegans

House sitting is a dream come true for all different types of people, particularly those that love travel but have a limited budget and those that like to travel in style and those that love home comforts. I loved house sitting BV (Before I became Vegan) and always felt like it could be perfect for everyone - it's what you make of it after all.  Once I became vegan I realised how ideal it is for vegans thanks to the private kitchen and the love of animals.

Last but not least, I'm pretty extra (in general, but) especially when it comes to house sitting, so for dog sitting I always bring a dog harness (kinder than a leash), a foldable water bowl (great for long walks) and vegan dog dental sticks (yes that's a thing lol). 

If you have any questions about vegan house sitting please leave me a comment below! And if you liked this post please chuck me a like on Facebook or Instagram, I find it terribly awkward writing for an audience I know nothing about and thus I would love to connect with you! We also made a video about house sitting in general, hope you find it useful! :)

P.S.: Click here if you would like a 10% promo code for house sitting - aka a 10% Trustedhousesitter discount code (the site we use).

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