Every homeowner knows his house is a sizeable investment and therefore it's one that he will want to protect. That's why more and more people are advertising for house sitters when they leave their homes vacant for any considerable period of time. Having a responsible person looking after your property gives you peace of mind, and the knowledge that your home is in good hands will help you get the very most out of your vacation or travels.
House sitting isn't only advantageous to the homeowner; if you are willing to look after somebody else's home it can be a great opportunity to see a country you've always wanted to see without having to pay extortionate accommodation costs. There are some parts of the world that are notoriously expensive to live in, one of these being the UK. However, if you visit as a house sitter you can explore the rich culture, history, and natural beauty that Britain has to offer at a fraction of the price you would otherwise have to pay for the privilege.
Whether it's the castles of Scotland, the rugged coastline of Cornwall, or the vibrancy of London, house sitting in the UK has obvious advantages. While it may be a small country, the UK makes the perfect destination for any traveler. But whether you're a seasoned house-sitter and have done the job many times, or are just starting out on the house sitting road, there are a few tips that may make your house sitting experience in the UK a memorable one for all the right reasons.
When and Where to House Sit?
The weather in the UK rarely gets unpleasant enough to prevent you from doing what you want to do. Even in the winter, the worst you can expect is rain and a few blustery showers. It rarely snows in England. The best time to visit is between the months of May and September. Springtime in England is wonderful, especially if you're house sitting out in the country, where you will see just how beautifully lush the English countryside can be. However, while it may be wonderful to look at, the countryside can make one feel a little isolated if you've no transport of your own.
There may be public transport where you're staying, but you could find that it's a bus that will make only one journey into town (and one return journey back) each day. Therefore, it's important to know exactly where you'll be house sitting and plan accordingly. You can hire a car to get you around if you want to see other parts of the country, or drive it to the nearest train station and then take a train to where you want to go to. On this point, it's worth noting that the English are fairly progressive in all things concerned with the environment. You will undoubtedly see shoppers with their own reusable bags in the grocery stores, just as you will see people using alternatives to the motor car (where they can) to get around (especially in London, where anyone who drives is regarded as a little mad!). But the UK has a very good public transport network and, providing you can get to a railway station, you should be able to journey to wherever you want to.
How to Get the Most from Your House Sit
One of the delights of house sitting in the UK is that you will undoubtedly find a pub within walking distance of your temporary home. And if you're house sitting outside of London, then visiting the local pub will be real treat. There's nothing better than whiling away a few hours on a dark and dismal evening with the local residents over a pint of real English ale. Regardless of how long you're house sitting, you will be made to feel at home after a few visits to the local pub (just mention the homeowner for whom you're sitting and that should be enough to guarantee an instant and warm welcome). If community activities are important to you, then again, find out what's available in the location.
If you want to see as much of the country as you can while house sitting, ask the home owner if they can provide you with details of what's worth seeing within walking distance; what's worth a bus or train ride to get to; and what are the sights on offer that are worth a little more effort in traveling to. Obviously, it goes without saying that if the deal is that you walk the homeowner's pets, mow his lawn, and water his plants, ensure that you keep your side of the deal. The locals at the pub will tell him if you're failing in any of your duties, anyway!
The Homeowner's Part of the Deal
Any homeowner in the UK looking for a house sitter needs to take a little time to consider what a potential candidate coming to the country from overseas may be looking for. Given the size of the country, most house sitters looking for a property in the UK will probably be expecting to explore, so it will pay to give them as much information as you can about how to get around. If your property is located in an area that's well served by public transport then that's an added bonus. Many house sitters won't want to drive in the UK, given the level of traffic, so will be glad to know that they can get around by bus or train. Better still, if most local attractions are within a few miles, give them access to your bicycle so that they can, should they wish to, ride to the sights!
To make your house sitter feel at home, (and to dispel any stereotypical images they may have of the natives!), let your neighbours, (and your friends at your local pub), know that you've a house sitter arriving so they can introduce themselves and give him or her a warm welcome.
Leave instructions about any quirks in your house, especially if it's an old house. For example, if the old wrought iron gate at the front of your garden can only be closed by lifting it off the ground a few millimeters, let your house sitter know so he isn't scraping it noisily along the path each time he opens and closes it.
A little consideration will go a long way with a house sitter. The two of you will then get the most out of the situation. You can take off safe in the knowledge that your house is being looked after and cared for, and your house sitter can enjoy his or her time in England, experiencing all that this wonderful country has to offer.