How to take the ‘adult gap year’ – travelling and looking after pets

The pandemic years took a toll on people’s friendships and chances to travel. A poll earlier this year by LifeSearch found that one in three Brits had fallen out with friends or relatives due to stress and pressures relating to the pandemic[i].

Now as things have returned to normal finding ways to make new friends and travel more is on the agenda but with the cost of living crisis upon us, holidays might not be affordable for everyone.

But according to the UK’s leading home and pet sitting company, Homesitters Ltd there is a way older people can boost friendships and travel and that’s by becoming a homesitter.

Ben Irvine, Director of operations at Homesitters Ltd says, “Homesitting involves staying in people’s homes when they are away, taking care of the home and any pets. Our homesitters are usually retired and it’s a flexible role where they can meet new people, see more of the UK for free and be paid for doing it. Spending time with pets is another big attraction, especially dogs, as they get people out and about enjoying walks.”

Milton Monk from Worcestershire who is in his 70s has been homesitting since 2016. After a career in sales and marketing, and then owning a successful pub and restaurant, he retired in 2007 and took an ‘Adult Gap Year’ – which lasted the best part of a decade.

Milton travelled around Europe in his motorhome and when he decided to stay in one place for a while, he tried housesitting.  This was unpaid, but it provided the opportunity to explore different places and make new friends. After returning to the UK, he joined Homesitters, where all employees receive a remuneration which can boost their pension income.

Milton says, “I really enjoy the variety of visiting different places.  It’s great fun looking after the pets with all their individual needs and personalities – it’s never dull.”

Milton is an active member of The University of The Third Age and various walking groups.  When he’s away he likes to find local walking groups and always finds them most welcoming. He plays badminton, golf and swims, has a season ticket to watch Worcester Warriors (premiership rugby) and has a passion for inland waterways and narrow boating.

Milton fits his assignments around his interests and enjoys taking on a short and long home sits. One assignment, near his home, was for just three days each week and because it was local, he was able to carry on with his social life. If a home sit is near family and friends, it gives him the chance to see them too.

Milton adds, “I’m comfortable with my own company, but I do appreciate the failsafe system of Homesitters checking in regulatory with solo homesitters. They are a lovely company to work for with a great team and the staff are very professional.

“I find the preliminary meetings with new clients extremely useful as they allow both parties to check they are happy with the arrangements, and we have the final say on whether to take the assignment on. The clients also appreciate that all homesitters are fully insured, should anything go awry; I imagine that’s one of the main reasons they choose the company over a private arrangement.”

Homesitters is currently recruiting enthusiastic and active homesitters. For find out more about the role and apply click here.

For more information on Homesitters Ltd visit: