Interview with retired American couple about their house sitting adventures

By Andy Peck | Retirement

Sandra & Mike - Trusted House Sitters interviewed about their house sitting experiences

Sandra & Mike - Trusted House Sitters

Where are you from?
Near Chicago, USA

How did you discover house sitting? 
We are a newer couple and wanted to travel a bit, spend time in different areas, to try and determine where we might want to permanently transplant. We are actually 'homeless' right now while we house sit and travel

Where have you been house sitting? 
We've been house siting in Hawaii and Philidelphia.

Mike & Sandra have enjoyed exploring Hawaii while house sitting

Mike & Sandra have enjoyed exploring Hawaii while house sitting

Where was your favourite house sitting experience and why?
We are currently doing our Hawaii house sit and it has been fabulous. We are on the big island and have explored almost every side of it now. We also had some time off and went over to Maui! We've been here now for 6 weeks and I really feel like we are really getting to know Hawaii in a way that just wouldn't be possible on a shorter trip. Plus, it's a super romantic place to be which is wonderful for us as we deepen our relationship with each other.

Have you ever owned a pet before?
Lots and lots of beloved animals in my life including dogs, cats and chickens. I've also taken care of larger animals - horses and goats.

What's the longest house sit you have done and where?
Philadelphia was for 3 months. Hawaii will be for 2 months.

Sandra and Mike love being able to pet sit in different parts of the US

Sandra and Mike love being able to pet sit in different parts of the US

What attracts you to house sitting - what are the benefits to you?
It's the perfect way to explore places we may want to consider eventually moving to, plus having fantastic experiences along the way. From a sustainability standpoint, it makes a ton of sense. It's a win win for the house sitter and the home owner. We are in love with the doggies we are currently taking care of, Cleo and Frieda. We treat the home owner's house as if it were our own. They feel good about their dogs and house being taken care of while they travel. 

We don't have the burden of large living expenses and we get to really experience an area in a way that we wouldn't if we were staying in commercial places for shorter periods of time. It's also quite an adventure for us especially since we have 'shed' our homes for now.  Every morning I open up my Trusted House sitters email to see what possibilities are out there for us.  We are very fortunate to have this kind of flexibility right now in our lives and to be young enough to really explore and enjoy all different types of living options. We sometimes feel like teenagers on an open ended adventure. What's coming next?!

House sitting in Australia could be next for Mike & Sandra

House sitting in Australia could be next for Mike & Sandra

Any challenges you find house sitting?
Not yet, so far.  Mike would like to stretch out even farther than I have been ready for, yet.  He envisions traveling around the world by house sitting. He's aiming for house sitting in Australia & New Zealand next. As I gain confidence and flexibility, I am becoming more and more open to the wonderful opportunities house sitting has to offer.  

How do you find the process in securing a house sit? Is it easy?
I did put some careful time into creating our profile. A A home owner wants to get a really good sense about you before opening up his/her home to you.  That being said, it didn't take us long to secure our first sit. Many people are looking for 'mature couples' who are still active, energetic, and physically capable.

Mike & Sandra have been spreading the word about house sitting

Mike & Sandra have been spreading the word about house sitting

What advice would you give to other retirees thinking about house sitting?
We have been telling all our friends about it. There's a lot of interest out there. The only advice that comes to mind is that many, not all, of the house sits do include some kind of pet care which means you will have much less freedom to come and go as you please.  Making sure you have extra time either before or after the sit to explore is a good idea. 

Do lots of research if the area you are looking at seems somewhat exotic. We were offered a house sit in Costa Rica for 6 months.  It was an amazing opportunity, but we realized that we were not the right couple for the job due to the climate and bugs!  There are plenty of great opportunities out there, so again, look for a really good fit. If you're happy, your homeowners will be happy, and then you'll get a great referral. I think it's really important to be totally candid when you are interviewing with a home owner for a potential house sit.  It has to be a really good fit both ways, not just in location and responsibilities, but in values as well. Ask lots of questions. 

What do you think of website? 
I love that you have links under each posting in your daily emails that take me directly to the homeowner's ad.  Very easy and convenient. A I like your site the best!

Registered house sitters receive our daily email alerts of latest house sits.

Registered house sitters receive our daily email alerts of latest house sits.

Thanks to Sandra and Mike - Trusted House Sitters for their great interview

7 Responses to "Interview with retired American couple about their house sitting adventures"

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  1. Angela Laws says:
    May 3, 2013, 7:48 p.m.

    Wonderful interview, Sandra and Mike the enjoyment of the new life you're discovering is palpable, we know exactly how that is, we're on the same amazing journey! Retirement? I wonder how we ever found the time to work:)) Good luck on spreading your house sitting wings even wider .... the world really is a very small and exciting place full of amazing possibilities.


  2. Roz says:
    May 3, 2013, 10:53 p.m.

    Hello Sandra and Mike, I have just begun this new adventure in my life. I am a teacher with summers off. With 7 years left in my position, I am planning on retirement and have always, always desired to do this since I love animals (we have 3 horses, 3 dogs, and 4 cats) and an acreage with gardens that my husband will care for while I take off for my new duties. However, I am starting small, for summers only. My question to you is: if asked to home and pet sit in a good distance from where you live, who covers the travel expenses? I appreciate your response and am happy for both of you in finding something so wonderful to do when deciding where you want to stay! Roz


    1. Rachel says:
      May 3, 2013, 11:01 p.m.

      Hi Ros If you take a house sitting opportunity then the house sitter normally pays for the travel - the website works as a win-win to both parties - you as the house sitter enjoys a fabulous free retreat in another country (or your own) and the homeowner has peace of mind knowing their pets and home is being cared for by someone they have chosen. Thanks,

  3. Roz says:
    May 6, 2013, 12:20 a.m.

    Thank you Rachel!


  4. cheaya says:
    May 13, 2013, 9:54 a.m.

    hello pls can you tell me whether these jobs are paid or is it that you have a exchange job for holiday type set up do you pay your own flights to the jobs pls advise


    1. Rachel says:
      May 14, 2013, 3:12 p.m.

      Hello The majority of house sitting opportunities are unpaid - you can enjoy a wonderful free retreat in return for caring for the owner's home and pets. Transportation is usually covered by the house sitter, but if you are looking to house sit as way to enjoy a different kind of vacation or extended travel then it can save you thousands in hotel costs. Plus having a kitchen means you save money on not eating out as much too - and get to enjoy living like a local. You can also house sit in your own country as a great way to discover your own area or country without accommodation costs involved - all for the price of the gas/petrol or train to get there. One of my favourite house sits was just up the road for a week in a beautiful cottage with pool and tennis courts and a great dog, i enjoyed taking for walks along the beach. I discovered a town i would never have had reason to visit and the cost of renting a place like i stayed in for the 2 weeks would have been astronomical! Hope this helps, Rachel

  5. tdave seal says:
    May 22, 2013, 7:09 a.m.

    can you send us some info on housesitting in the lower nth island thanks in anticipation regards dave


    1. Rachel says:
      May 22, 2013, 11:19 a.m.

      Hi Dave If you go onto - you can view all house sitting opportunities in New Zealand. If you switch to the map view then you can simply zoom in or out, to the town/cities of interest. To be the first to hear about the latest house sits (we have homeowners registering daily) then you will need to register and create a profile - you would then receive our daily email alert (we can't say when or where the next house sit will be). From this you can apply directly to the homeowner via the websites secure email system, as house sits tend to get booked up relatively quickly. Kind regards, Rachel

  6. jane says:
    June 20, 2013, 7:12 p.m.

    Great interview Sandra & Mike. James and I are on the same "journey" as you and consider ourselves very lucky to have this opportunity at this point in our life. We have also house and pet sat for the same owners in Hilo and very much enjoyed our month there a few years ago!! May the adventure continue!! Best Regards, Jane & James Vancouver Island. Canada


  7. millie says:
    April 6, 2015, 11:34 p.m.

    Interesting interview. I notice you have "shed your homes", and I am interested in doing this once we are both retired. What do you do when there is a gap between housesitting assignments?


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