Need house-sitters? We have a large selection of experienced and trustworthy pet-sitters registered on HouseSitMatch, the friendly network for homeowners and housesitters. Read about one family who travel as part time pet-sitters as a way to see the world affordably on holiday…
Pet-Loving House-sitters Enjoy a Family Friendly Holiday in Spain
House-sitters who like pet-sitting can find many options during holiday times for pet friendly holidays. Lucy and her daughters love animals and are experienced with horses and range of domestic pets and so they were open to a new type of holiday house-sitting. And like many retirees who choose to retire abroad and away from their natural networks Donnie and Annie regularly face a challenge of who will care for their pets when they travel back home for holidays. They met on HouseSitMatch.com and made their house-sitting arrangements to mutual satisfaction.
Homeowners Donnie and Annie recently moved to Southern Spain looking for a warm and friendly home for themselves and their two horses and dogs. They have lived as British expats in Europe for some years in their retirement, first in France and now Spain. Although they had only just settled in their new home just outside the small town of Santa Maria del Nieva, in Murcia Spain they were invited to return home to attend a wedding in Scotland and started to look for a solution to their house-sitting and especially pet-sitting problems. As new arrivals, they hardly knew anyone in the area, and thought it might be hard to find house-sitters with the pet experience they needed. Until a good friend from France recommended HouseSit Match to them. They tapped into HouseSit Match the house-sitters network and found an unexpected solution.
Lucy (listed as Aylesbury Vale) had been working to establish a new business from home in England, after leaving a corporate career. She wanted to start a new family-centred life by finding a way to spend more quality time with her daughters, and a holiday together somewhere new felt like a good idea. But holidays can be expensive when there are the costs of a new business to take into consideration, and the summer activities for two active and energetic children. After various discussions with Lamia, friend and founder of the HouseSit Match website, Lucy decided to give house-sitting a go. House-sitting in a sunny location with fun pets to care for seemed like a good idea. They are an active outdoor and pet friendly family who all ride and know how to care for dogs. As a home and pet owner herself, Lucy has used house-sitters herself before and understands the importance of routine, and the responsibility of caring for a home and pets of all varieties. After several email discussions and messages via the website, and also a couple of Skype conversations with Donnie and Annie in order to get to know each other, Lucy and her family were invited to house-sit in Spain.
Tip – for Homeowners and House-sitters
Invest a little time in getting to know each other. Try messaging via the website and speaking with teach other on SKYPE, it can help you establish how comfortable you feel with each other, and if there is the right skill mix for the responsibilities involved. “We felt Lucy understood how important the pets are to us, and the serious responsibilities of caring for our animals as house-sitters. We have a lovely spacious home with a pool and all mod cons, we knew the children would enjoy being here, so we just thought it would work out all round” said Donnie. Time flew by and within a few weeks Lucy had arrived at Murcia airport, the EasyJet flight was on time and all went smoothly, although she said it was a challenge to get to our meeting point. “My satnav didn’t seem to be working and my iPhone Routemaster app was proving unreliable in the wilds of the Spanish countryside.
Tip – for House-sitters who travel
Check your satnav settings if you can before leaving the airport, and make sure you have a map in case the technology lets you down!”
As house-sitters we found the daily routines were perfectly manageable, as long as we started early (by 7:30am!) so we were not working in full sun. It is very hot in August even by 9:00am it was too hot to work with the horses. So most days we were outside by riding in the fresh morning air. This is beautiful countryside to ride in. By the time our duties with the horses were completed we felt we had earned our hearty breakfast of fresh figs gathered from the tree in the garden, fresh rolls and croissants with Annie’s home made marmalade, made with home picked oranges of course! I am both an experienced rider and a driver, but I still took out extra travel insurance to make sure we were covered for any eventualities while we were on holiday in Spain as house-sitters.
Tip – Insurance Cover
As a house-sitter it is worth spending a little extra on insurance to make sure you have cover, in case you have an accident while involved in an activity, riding unknown horses can be unpredictable, and driving in a different landscape can also be challenging. As a homeowner it is best to tell both your home insurance and your pet insurance company that you are having house-sitters to stay in your home to care for your property and animals.
However, all went according to plan and we had great fun looking after the horses, making sure they had plenty of water and food, and that they were exercised regularly. And the dogs and cat were so playful, the girls had a terrific time; they reminded us of our neighbour’s dogs that we look after and walk regularly.
We did go out to discover the region, we found a couple of lovely beaches and the local town had a lovely Church and park nearby, and a terrific market on a Monday morning. But we so enjoyed being at the house with all there was to do that we seldom left for more than 4-5 hours at a time. One trip to the local town of Huercal Overa we were lucky enough to witness a local festival, and a very colourful procession in the streets. The town was lively and full of people both taking part and witnessing the spectacle. It was festive and very enjoyable. There were a couple of days when we took a trip to find a local beach and that too was a really interesting trip with some dramatic scenery on the drive down to the coast. When we reached the beaches we found long stretches of sand that were clean and well kept. There were lots of Spanish families here too, whether they lived locally or were on holiday it was hard to tell. But these were good outings and the quality of the beaches made each trip fun and relaxing.
For several years we paid to have activity holidays in the West Country in England, where we cared for the horses, we rode them and had to muck out in all weathers. The English climate in August is not the most predictable. This sunny and active break provided us with a wonderful change of scene, and excellent experience with pets to care for and cherish in the owners’ absence. House-sitting provided us with an affordable holiday, and an opportunity to spend a great time together as a family where we worked as a team. It was lovely spending time with my girls, in a comfortable home environment where there was so much to do and enjoy!”said Lucy. Donnie and Annie also seemed happy with us as house-sitters and the whole experience –
I would like to thank you for putting me in contact with Lucy, she did a great job of looking after the horses and the dogs. On our return the washing was done the house clean and tidy.
I have recommended your website to some friends of ours and will use you again in the near future to find our house-sitters.
Thanks for a great service.