What to think about "homeless" sitters?

I am seeing an increasing number of sitter candidates who don’t seem to have any fixed residential address - “digital nomads”, I suppose.
How to get comfortable with opening your home to somebody who is, essentially, untraceable? How do there owners deal with this, and worries about my own insurance cover?

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No digital nomad is normally untraceable. They receive mail and must declare residency somewhere, because tax and passport / citizenship requirements must be met somewhere. They also submitted some sort of legal ID for background screening on THS.

Of course, it’s your home and you decide what you’re comfortable with. You might feel more confidence if they’re employed f/t, for example.

I’ve managed remote teams of up to about 100 people, some of whom chose to be digital nomads. We couldn’t have hired them without some form of legal residency, because we had to withhold taxes to the right state. They used addresses of family members, which are as traceable as any home normally would be. For instance, even with people with homes, there’s nothing legally stopping them from moving suddenly.


Everyone has to go through the same background check.


All sitters on THS have had an ID check verified.

A digital nomad is the term for someone who can work digitally whilst travelling . It doesn’t describe whether they are a homeowner or not.Some digital nomads own their own property that is their base when not travelling; others have a property that they rent out to provide an income, others who have sold a property to fund their travels and others who may not own their own property but have a base with family when they are not travelling.

There are some sitters on this forum who are”homeless” by choice successfully combining careers and house sitting for many years .

There are also sitters who only sit for an annual holiday (or 2) that have full-time jobs but also don’t own a home instead rent .


We’re digital nomads with a house that’s rented out, no permanent address for now, are full time sitting, have funds to make it work, good online jobs and that should be enough with our background checks, Airbnb profile, linked in references and 31 reviews to make us very good potential sitters for any HO :raised_hands:t3:


Never had a problem with it myself……


I think I’m fabulous.
Seriously no disrespect intended.
It’s just an alternative way of living.

I’m retired, independent nomadic by choice.
And very happy


I think of my family as “houseless” and not “homeless” because at any point if we want to stop traveling full-time and buy a house, we have the ability to. I think alot of us fulltime sitters on this platform would never become a squatter and choosing this lifestyle instead of petsitting due to no other choice but your nervousness has some validity to it. Although I know what my situation is, we never know the whole story on everyone. If I were a homeowner, I would ask some friendly/non threathening questions during the application process?


When my husband and I chose to sell our Vancouver home, put everything in storage and take to the road, which spanned six years of full time pet and housesitting, I had more conversations explaining the how, why and the where to pet parents/owners, friends and even my own children. “Are you mad and why would you?”

Truth is many cannot comprehend why and especially the how and I really do get that, until I made the leap I didn’t actually get it completely either.

Conversations have included dispelling the notion that nomadic travelers are homeless and not by choice, that’s not a judgement simply the inability to understand why anyone would choose a lifestyle they have no comprehension of … once I explained they were more informed but there were not too many who rushed to put the For Sale Sign in the front yard.

Footnote: after those 6 years of being “between residences” I’m now back to having a base and I’m not sure why I let my home go either … :wink:


@topscottie My partner and I are digital nomads and if the tax authorities are anything to go by, we are definitely not “untraceable” :smiley:

It all comes down to trust and if you prefer somebody with a fixed address, that’s your good right, but it would be a shame to miss out on some fabulous sitters, just because they decided to housesit as a lifestyle and choice.


I don’t think anyone is ‘untraceable.’ I use a mail service, I have bank accounts, credit cards, driver’s license, passport, etc. I have a full-time job and pay taxes. I’ve been working virtually since 2017 and when my only child finished high school and moved to her university last August, I chose to put my stuff in storage and travel for a couple years. I’ve had the same job for several years and feel fortunate that I have the flexibility to make my own schedule and do my work from anywhere.


I have a close friend - not on here - who has been pet-sitting for maybe 10-15 years now in and around San Francisco. She has a set of core clients that she works for, and it allows her to pursue her passion of teaching aqua aerobics. Everyone seems v. satisified with that arrangement and I’ve always thought of her as an absolute genius for making it work.


@Angela_L did you leave your stuff in storage for 6 years? I’m paying alot of money to store my stuff (2 climate controlled, 1 non climate, rv storage, and unfortunately another vehicle) I thought we would travel just for a few months but now it’s been 2 1/2 years and heading to Asia next month for a few months. I can’t come to grips with getting rid of everything just in case we settle down but now I’ve paid thousands and thousands while traveling.

Hi @IHeartAnimals yes we did our intention was to return to Canada and for some reason we had the consignment packed for international shipping, don’t ask me why.

Travel hard stop was the Pandemic, we had no home and like everyone in the world had no idea how long our hiatus would last, friends in WA wanted us to stay with them but we decided to camp in the UK at our daughter’s AirBnB in Scotland.

That’s where we bought our current home. Storage was 9 years in the end … I’m glad we kept our “stuff” so much is irreplaceable to us and unpacking after that long was like having multiple Christmases.

We have transformers so even the electrical goods work here and I’m still waiting for the bill from my daughter for the stay in her cottage :rofl:

Do what works for you and good luck.


For the last 2 1/2 years my husband and I keep thinking we will settle back down within 6 months and then the 6 months come and go.

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Popular ways:

  • Some nomads have a home base of sorts, maybe rented out, but they still get mail there. Because so much is done online nowadays, there can be little actual mail. Most digital nomads do banking online, for instance.

  • Some use the address of family or friends, who collect their mail and forward digitally or physically.

  • You can pay for a physical street address at various postal-related businesses or even some coworking spaces. They collect your mail. Some will forward, if you pay extra. Some businesses will receive and scan your mail, so you see it online.

If you’re not comfortable with having nomads sit, that’s your choice. It might meaningfully limit your potential pool of sitters, since nomads tend to do the most sits.

Logically, if someone is a nomad by choice, it’s unlikely they’ll squat. They wouldn’t be nomads if they stayed put.

If someone is homeless and wants to squat, this doesn’t seem like the most likely approach.


There’s a chance, even if remote, of something like that happening. No one’s going to reassure you about that risk 100 percent.

If that’s something that’s too troubling to you, maybe get your family or friends to sit, or hire a service. There’s no guarantee those people couldn’t try to squat, either. Maybe leave your place empty and get someone to look after your pet(s).

If I were going to squat, I’d get an Airbnb, because it’s instant and no screening. Or if I were a criminal, maybe break into an unoccupied house.

THS involves applying, paying, getting background checked and then passing screenings of HOs, who can look at your sitting history and reviews. And you can ask THS whether squatting has happened before, over many years and many sits.

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Hi Scottie

You need to do what makes you feel comfortable. Since the pandemic especially, there are an increasing number of people who have chosen this lifestyle. The motivations for housesitting can vary and it is true that some may not be the best candidates, such as people with limited finances who are simply trying to avoid paying rent and may not take the responsibilities seriously.

My husband and I have been living that way for about a decade now–we run online businesses and have regular income. It wasn’t until seeing a post on this in the forum awhile back that I had any idea some HO’s looked at this choice with suspicion. I guess that is because in our experience, all the HO’s we have sat for have found it very interesting and thought it was great.

I’m curious if these nomadic applicants are also new to the site and don’t have any reviews? If that is the case, I understand your trepidation.

But if you are getting location-independent people that have good reviews from at least a few previous sits, I don’t think choosing someone like this is any bigger of a risk than someone who has a permanent residence.

If someone were to get an application from us, they would see 60 plus reviews, and links to our websites and social media profiles. I think there is a pretty safe bet we aren’t criminals or plotting to squat and take over their home. If they passed us up for this reason alone, they would definitely be missing out on great sitters.

But again, every HO is entitled to their preferences and criteria. Every HO has their own particular worries and that will shape those preferences.


We are nomadic full-time international petsitters. We own our house back in the U.K. and it’s been rented out for over a year now. We both work online. I think a lot of these comments are pretty off the mark considering this is the lifestyle we chose.

We aren’t homeless, If I wanted my own house we could go and arrange that tomorrow but we want the adventure and love to experience new cultures. We also love petsitting as it combines our love for animals with travel.

We travel across south east Asia mainly. We have British passports. We go through all the same background checks I even have DBS due to being a teacher.

I don’t understand the logic to say we are untraceable considering I managed to pass through passport control. I use my mums address if I need any letters delivering. I have U.K. banks. HMRC and student loans certainly manages to inform me of my obligations and we both run businesses online.

Edited to comply with posting guidelines


More power to you. It’s terrific to have choices and to pool info.

I’d be open to exploring nomadic, but my husband isn’t game, unfortunately. We currently have two homes and an RV, so we’re more settled than ever.

I’ve managed nomadic folks who’ve been on my teams for years and have seen no difference in dependability or trustworthiness between them and folks who are settled. Many people won’t ever get that many nomads actually could have exactly what settled folks have (or better), but they’re making a lifestyle choice.

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