This App Could Put AirBnB Out Of Business

By Lucy Broadbent
on 24 March 2024

Why pay for accommodation when you can stay in someone’s home for free?   If you like travelling and pets, staying in someone else’s home overseas can be a game-changer; and if you are homeowner and want to be sure that your house and pets are in safe hands while you’re away without paying for pet-sitters, it’s every inch an equal win.

Trusted House-sitters is a website which is rapidly gaining popularity around the world and changing the way people travel.  It has united a host of animal lovers and made travel affordable for many.

I have used the site twice and been impressed each time. I live in Los Angeles with Lulabelle, an adorable terrier who plays on my conscience with her big sorrowful eyes every time I go anywhere. Pet-sitters around here cost around $70 (US) a night.  That’s nearly the price of a first class airline ticket if I’m away for three weeks! 


Enter stage left, Trusted Housesitters. For an annual fee of $149 (US) I get to use their site as often as I want. I post the pictures of my Hollywood Hills house, give dates that I’d like to find someone to house sit, and within a day, receive the applications of five vetted and reviewed prospective sitters from all over the world who will happily take care of my home and the dog for nothing.

If I don’t like the look of those applicants, I can reject them all and get five more.  But both times I’ve used the site, I have not needed to. Everyone who responded had more glowing star reviews than a night sky.  The first sitter was Van, a twenty-year-old, from Kentucky who volunteered to come meet Lulabelle and me before I committed.  I was a little nervous. Meeting him was incredibly reassuring.  My second sitter was Alex, a screenwriter in her thirties from Minneapolis, who Lulabelle spent a week looking for after she’d gone.

Both times, I met genuine, kind animal lovers who were humble, respectful, and simply grateful for a nice home to live in for free. They left my house neat. They texted daily, sending pictures of Lulabelle to reassure me she was fine. Honestly, I couldn’t find a fault if I tried.

My sister Kate in London has used the site several times too.  It was her who had tipped me off about it.  Her London house seems to attract mostly travellers from Australia and New Zealand. (Whereas I seem to attract out of state Americans, although some from Australia too).  Like me, my sister ended up having dinner with the people who stayed at her house, became friends and had great experiences.

 It takes a little faith to put your trust in strangers.  Especially when you are leaving your home and pets in their hands.  But it seems to work.  As a homeowner, I have really enjoyed  getting to meet some really great people. As a traveller, and I now know several, it’s a terrific way of finding a home away from home in a city you want to visit, with a furry friend to keep you company.   I have not been paid to write this. I have no involvement in Trusted Housesitters. I just think it’s a great idea.

If you are interested in being a sitter, the fee to join is $129 a year, and that includes the price of a background check.  If you are interested in finding a sitter, fees start at $149 a year.

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