Although hostels, hotels, guesthouses and Airbnb rentals are popular accommodations, have you considered house sitting as a way to save money on travel? House sitting is gaining momentum and it’s a service that benefits pet owners, homeowners, and travelers. When Brittnay and Jayden moved to Dublin, they quickly realized that rent was extremely high so they looked into house sitting as a way to save on housing costs. Brittnay Sharman is a professional house sitter who enjoys sharing money-saving strategies for long-term travel. She has completed four house sitting assignments in Ireland. Here Brittnay explains why living in Dublin is so expensive, how to get started house sitting in Dublin, and how she has saved over 5,000 € house sitting in Ireland.
But first, if you aren’t familiar with house sitting, here’s how it works.
While house sitting isn’t a traditional vacation, it offers the opportunity to live rent free and bills free.
In exchange, house sitting offers homeowners and pet owners peace of mind that their most valuable possessions are safely being looked after as they travel for a few weeks or several months.
In exchange for caring for the home, pets, or garden, you get free accommodation. Some house sitters even get paid for their services.
Ready to make the most out of house sitting or pet sitting in Ireland?
Listen to this podcast about house sitting with Brittnay Sharman where she shares how to become a house sitter and how she’s been able to save over 60,000 € house sitting around the world over the past three years.
Listen to this podcast episode with Brittnay Sharman here.
House Sitting Ireland
How House Sitting Transformed Our Experience Living in Dublin and Saved Us Money
Guest post by Brittnay Sharman
Dublin is a beautiful place to live. It has lovely parks, beautiful beaches, and welcoming people. However, we didn’t move here on purpose. We were living in London for the past two years and loving it. During that time we had managed to visit 21 countries and couldn’t imagine our lives anywhere else. However, our visas were expiring and we needed a plan.
Our first thought was Spain, then Dublin. Dublin was close, easy to get visas for and similar climate to the UK. What we didn’t know was that Dublin is one of the most expensive cities in Europe. When we looked into rental properties, we were shocked.
It was a minimum of 1,450 € for a room in a shared house. This was for the bare minimum and would be with students in a significantly older home. Our recent house sitting job for a friend came to mind, we could try house sitting in Dublin. After lots of research and applying, we landed our first sit via Skype.
Our first house sit was at the home of a lovely young expat family from Australia. They were off to France for three weeks. This couple needed someone to look after their elderly lab Roxy and their eight-bedroom mansion.
When we arrived, we were ushered through the big gates and met Roxy. Roxy, the most relaxed dog in Dublin, who only required a walk up and down the driveway every second day.
With our four-week stay in Dalkey finishing up soon, we thought we better find a new home. With a week until we would be homeless, we came across another house sit. After a quick exchange with the homeowners, we were locked in for another four weeks in Dalkey.
Even with one successful house sit down, we were still nervous. This house was even nicer than the last. It had been the winner of “Ireland’s most beautiful home” the previous year. We were also in charge of looking after her parents’ dogs as well. Nori, a Chinese Hairless Crested and Dodo, an elderly Whippet. We were quite a sight on our daily walks with this electric crew.
Our homeowner was even kind enough to put us on her insurance so we could drive her yellow Mini around town. The dogs loved a trip to the beach which was only 5 minutes away.
Why Dublin Housing Is Expensive
Demand Far Outweighs Supply
There are two main factors attributing to the high cost of living in Dublin: large corporations purchasing a vast number of properties for temporary employees as well as many construction projects being abandoned during the recession. The reality is that demand in Dublin far outweighs supply. This has led to rent price surges as high as London and Paris.
December 2022 Update: The pandemic has worsened the housing crisis in Dublin. The influx of people, lack of new construction and shortage of properties available means rent is at an all time high in Dublin. Real estate agents have even implemented a lottery for viewing rentals.
The Digital Boom
Dublin has also been recently named the “European Silicon Valley”.
Many companies have their European base in Dublin with the likes of Amazon, Google, Facebook and LinkedIn. They are all taking advantage of the low corporation tax.
Having these companies in Dublin means that there are great opportunities for local workers. However, it has also brought an influx of international workers.
This is yet another reason why there aren’t many rental properties available in Dublin.
How expensive is Dublin?
Heading out for a drink is an Irish way of life but it is hardly affordable. Pints here are more expensive than in most cities in Europe. A pint of Guinness will cost you around 8 € and it will be 10-12 € if you decide to drink at Temple Bar. A glass of wine will be 8 € and a cocktail will cost around 14 €.
Alcohol prices in supermarkets are cheaper, with a bottle of wine costing around 14 € which is double what you would expect to pay in Rome. For comparison, here’s how much it costs to spend a week in Rome.
Helpful Tip: Besides Irish pubs, the sale of alcohol ends at 10 pm in Ireland.
How We Saved Over 5,000 € House Sitting in Ireland
House sitting allows you to save on transport, bills, household goods and food. However, rental costs are where we saved the most.
Saving on rental costs
Over the three months we spent in Dublin, we saved at least 1,450 € per month, which over three months amounts to 4,350 €. Through house sitting in Ireland, we were able to put these savings towards buying a camper van for the summer.
Another advantage to house sitting in Ireland was that we were able to live in homes that we otherwise wouldn’t have been able to afford. House sitting in Ireland gave us the opportunity to live in three luxurious homes in the most expensive parts of Dublin.
One of the areas we lived in was a seaside village 20 minutes from the city centre. With castles, harbours, and nearby beaches, Dalkey was a lovely area to live. We couldn’t say we were surprised when we found out that Enya and Bono also lived there!
Search for house sitting in Ireland opportunities by signing up for Trusted Housesitters.
Saving on transportion
During one of our house sits we were given access to a very stylish yellow Mini. Having a car allowed us to drive to work and explore the area we were living in.
Public transport in Dublin is one of the most expensive systems in Europe, making it more costly than Zurich and Brussels. We were both spending around 6 € a day for public transport as well as spending an hour each way. With our yellow Mini, a tank of gas would last two weeks and only cost 40 €, previously our transport costs were 144 € per week. At 20 € a week for fuel, we managed to save 124 € per week, therefore saving around 496 € a month.
Helpful Tip: Unlike the U.S. and many countries around the world, in Ireland expect to drive on the left side of the road. In Ireland there are also many roundabouts and narrow roads.
Also, when renting a car, manual cars are standard. Automatic vehicles are typically more expensive to rent.
Saving on bills
Bills were another expense that we managed to avoid while house sitting in Ireland. Always within reason, we were able to enjoy well-heated rooms and nice warm showers knowing there were no bills at the end of the month. We didn’t have to worry about internet or phones bills coming in either. By house sitting in Dublin, we saved around 100 € per month on utilities.
Saving on household goods
You may not assume that household goods are much of an expense, however, cutting out the need to purchase things like shower cleaners, washing detergents, toilet cleaner and toilet paper adds up. By house sitting, we managed to cut out a large chunk of our shopping bills.
Being foodies, we love to cook so having access to kitchens that were the size of our previous apartments was fantastic. This meant that we were less likely to venture out for meals. This saved us on average 80 € per month.
How to Get Started House Sitting and Pet Sitting
We advise learning as much as you can about the process of house sitting as it can be very competitive.
To help you get started, here is a guide on how to become a house sitter. We even have a comprehensive house sitting course to show you the ropes.
Learn how to travel the world while saving money with Brittnay’s course How to Become a House Sitter. Get access to application templates, interview prep questions, tips for building the most appealing profile to homeowners, and more.
Who knows, you could land a house sit at a beachfront villa in Bali or in a small village in Austria overlooking the snowy mountains from your quaint cottage balcony.
Through house sitting in Ireland, we have created lifelong friendships and discovered the generosity of people in Ireland.
The homeowner from our second sit was nothing short of amazing to us. We have been over for dinner and she even invited us to her parents’ home for the weekend. Through house sitting, we have also been lucky enough to discover places in Ireland that we would never have had the opportunity to see.
And after moving five times in Dublin, we are traveling to New Zealand for two months for our next house sit. We look forward to the adventures ahead.
You can follow all of Brittnay Sharman’s adventures over at The Travelling House Sitters.
Find house sitting opportunities in Dublin by signing up for Trusted Housesitters.
Brittnay Sharman is a professional house sitter from Australia. She has over 45 house sits under her belt in 12 countries, such as New Zealand, Australia, Italy, France, and more. She is one half of The Travelling House Sitters, a travel blog that shares everything you need to know about house sitting and pet sitting. Together with her partner Jayden, she has saved over $60,000 in the last three years house sitting around the world.