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Websites that I use regularly and who offer discounts and affiliate rewards

Some Companies give their users a reward when they share their experience and links to the the company signup or purchase options with their friends and network. You can read more if your scroll below the list of my affiliate links.

But before you go, I want you to know that I ONLY share what I have experience with and would recommend to you without a reward, too.

  • Rover You save $20 off your first booking (use this link within 10-14 days of intending to use it) and
  • Trustedhousesitters You get 25% off your first year membership price and I get a free month, maybe 2 when you sign up.
  • Thredup : Second hand clothing shop. Huge selection. I bought most of my clothes there in 2019 and 2020. I receive $5-$10. You receive up to 50% of your first order if you sign up and make a purchase within about 14 days. (I need to check time frames)
  • Skillshare: An online learning platform for creative and entrepreneurial skills for a flat annual fee. With my link you will get 2 free months of use of Skillshare. You do have to give them your payment details before you can trial the service BUT you can cancel and not pay anything when your trial period is over. I personally LOVE Skillshare. So I have a subscription.
  • Transferwise It really is the BEST for sending money abroad. I once wrote them a personal love letter. I am not joking. They are cheaper than bank fees and when you transfer more than ~$100 you will save compared to using Paypal. Anything over $200 you would be mad to use Paypal, sorry Paypal. Transferwise has saved Jason and I a lot of money over the last 5 years. Recommended.
  • Audible: I will soon share a link to this as March and April 2020 look like great months for learning things.
  • Airbnb You get up to £34 off your first booking. After using this link to sign up you have 30 days before this offer expires, so use the link close to your planned trip. I get £15 if you book a stay and £8 if you try Airbnb experiences. I have been an Airbnb host since their first year in business. I have nothing but good experiences.
  • Couchsurfing, they don’t pay me anything but I still recommend it. Ask me Q’s if you have any. This is my profile there:
  • Dropbox: We will both get an additional 500MB free storage if you use my Dropbox referral link and add files to your Dropbox. Dropbox has been my storage space of choice for over a decade. I recommend it.
  • I list everything I use, try, enjoy here it is a website called KIT & if you use any of my listings to make an order I will get a tiny percentage without this costing you anything extra. If nothing else it is a good list of products that I personally use and recommend with or without being rewarded for it.

For example Rover, Jason and I sometimes look after other people’s homes and pets for payment. We find between 50-75% of our clients through Rover. When we get booked to housesit and look after somebody’s animals we get paid. If we share the link to the website with you and you hire a petsitter or sign up to become a petsitter within 14-30 days of clicking on the link we receive a small commission. We shared something that benefits us with you, so it may benefit you, too and as an extra bonus we also get a small reward. Some give out a few dollar, some give me an additional free month of membership.

I thought I make a list of all the companies that give a reward for the referring person (i.e. myself, Birgit) when somebody uses my links to sign up and become an ACTIVE user / customer. If you decide to use any of my links then please let me know how your experience with these companies is. I am happy to coach you to creating your profiles or how to use the service I am recommending. I am ONLY sharing websites, companies, services, products on this post that I have myself tried and use regularly. (Or would use more regularly if I had more time.)

We got our first housesitting cancellation because of Covid-19

We just got our first booking through Trustedhousesitters. Hurrah. Not long after our plans were set we then received a cancellation due to the home owner’s out of town event being cancelled because of the coronavirus outbreak. Our client of course no longer needs to travel.

This isn’t a big issue as right now we aren’t travelling and are building our Trustedhousesitters experience from our home base San Francisco. I could imagine it would be potentially much more difficult for people who had firmly committed with long distance travel plans.

Then as I started typing this post we also heard from a client for whom we sit several times a year that they are cancelling their travel plans for April. That leaves us out of income we were counting on. Now the situation is starting to become a bigger deal than expected.

It made me think of how many people’s plans for income and travel around the world are likely now up in the air, how many more expenses may be incurred by sitters and hosts as sitters might cancel and leave hosts without somebody to care for their pet, and hosts might cancel and leave sitters without a place to stay. This is bound to be quite a stressful time for a lot of people.

What to do? There isn’t a whole lot that we can do but I would start with strong communication:

  • Get in touch with your host / sitter and check in with them, are their plans looking stable?
  • Try to come to an agreement around what would happen if they cancelled, do they have an inlay unit you could stay for a specified period of time while you figure out what to do? / Try to not leave your sitter stranded, they spent a lot of money to reach your home and made a commitment to your home- and pet care.
  • Simultaneously make a backup plan just in case something changes last minute with your booking. You should always do this as unforeseen circumstances do happen.

Backup Plan tips:

As a host: find a pet boarding place for your worst case scenario. As a sitter: make sure to bring your credit cards as you might end up needing them to pay for hostel or hotel accommodation as you navigate unforeseeable situations.

The Coronavirus outbreak may cost a lot of us a loss in earnings, some discomforts and additional expenses (I bet the sale of vitamins is through the roof, put that on my list, Vitamin C.). There isn’t a whole lot that we can do about it, except keep calm, communicate with our sitters and hosts with compassion and understanding and brace ourselves for some inconveniences.

We are still busy doing our account for 2019 so we can file our taxes asap and get back onto a health insurance plan to cover us for all eventualities in the coming weeks, probably months. I do hope that the global health situation will very soon begin to calm down, that medical experts and strategical teams work out the best ways to safeguard us all so that the steep spike in infections can be curbed and everybody who does need medical care can access it. I also wish for America that healthcare facilities will operate at cost rather than for profit. I know this won’t ever happen. But we can dream.

Where are you? Have your plans been affected by this global health threat?

Let me know in comments if you lost your housesitting booking or if a sitter cancelled on you. Did you get enough notice or are you now stuck? (If you read this in the future: I would still like to hear how tis affected you.)

If you would like to save 25% on a membership with Trustedhousesitters:

Please leave a comment if you are interested in getting paid to house- and petsit.

Coronavirus affects Trusted Housesitters – and Local petsitters on ROVER

In today’s post:


At the time of writing it is March 10th and news of Corona Virus affecting every walk of life are becoming more frequent. People working from home, will need less dog walking services but maybe more food delivery services. Dogwalkers & Doggy Day care facilities will lose income, maybe some will close down, depending on how long this situation stays. To me it is looking like this is just the beginning and a lot of people will be affected for quite some time to come.

How will house- and petsitters be affected by the Corona Virus?

I imagine we will soon hear about the first short notice cancellations of sitters and/or homeowners, as people may choose to not travel to limit their exposure to possible infection or simply to mitigate the effects of a ‘just in case’ scenario. We would probably all prefer to be sick at home in our usual environment than in a faraway city or country, especially while so much is still unknown about the progression of catching and the manifestation of the CoVid-19. Wash your hands people!

Let’s get to the points or rather questions that this brings up for me:

Have you got any, and if so what kind of, insurance policies that you have put in place, atop before the time of booking your pet sit? In the case of housesitters through Trustedhousesitters, who often travel abroad for their housesitting / petsitting bookings: Do you have a contingency plan? Is your flight refundable? Do you have money in your budget to cover the cost of staying at a hostel or hotel instead of the free accommodation that you were expecting? For all of us, local house – petsitters and international house – pet sitters alike: Do you have a contract and if yes, what does it cover? Will you get compensated for incurred expense or loss of income, for those of us who are paid for the majority of their petsitting engagements?


Ethically, would you take money from people who cancel a booking with you, a cancellation that can cost you hundreds of dollars, pounds sterling or Euro, and/or result in significant loss of income? Is it something that you discussed at the time of booking? Did you have the what-if-emergency-conversation? Do you have a contract and does it contain a ‘what-if-clause’? Would you differentiate between a cancellation made due to preference and one made due to let’s say an immovable mountain need such as that your client might be elderly or otherwise in an immunocompromised category and hence truly be safer to not take any risks that for an average healthy person wouldn’t even be considered a risk? 

I will leave you with a lot of my questions. I am very interested in hearing your thoughts, experiences and feedback. 

Do you usually have a contract or just a verbal agreement? We use contracts and I will talk a little more about this in my next post. Until then, thank you for stopping by and joining the conversation.

(I will also cover in my next posts how this will affect home- and pet owners, please hit follow this blog/website to be notified when the next post is out)

Affiliate links below:

Affiliate links benefit me, never cost you anything and on this occasion save you a nice amount of money.

If you sign up & create an account with Trusted Housesitters through this link you will receive 25% off your annual membership:

If you sign up as a paid petsitter or as a pet owner with ROVER and create an account and USE it within a few weeks of signing up then I get a bonus (applies to both pet owners and petsitters/dog walkers signing up) and you can also get a $20 discount on your first booking (this applies to pet owners.)

This code gives you $20 off your first booking : BIRGITANDJASON20 And this is our signup link to our profile, but you can book with anybody and it still benefits us:

My father passed away 4 months ago and I only just found out

Klaus Deubner was my father. He once denied it in court. I lost him more than once. He passed away almost 4 months ago and nobody thought to tell his daughter. Like as if this was something that I had no right to care about, feel pain about, need to know.

Klaus Deubner, my father passed away on October 25th 2019 and I only just found out yesterday. Nobody thought of telling his daughter that he was now gone from this earth. Lots of things to say, lots of emotions and lots of speechless, wordlessness.

The photo above shows him and my mother on their wedding day, so much future ahead of them and little did they know what a mess it would turn into. At the time of their wedding I was almost 4 weeks into my status as an embryo. My father would love me so much when I was born. …

(Grieving in no particular order, just fragments passing through my mind and I have no reason to keep them private.)

His cells and DNA co-created mine. He gave me my core life principles and then offended the very ethics that he taught me to live by.

Somehow as family members pass away, maybe I am being released from some of the burdens of the past that shaped so much of me and continues to affect my experience of life in ways that aren’t that desirable.
I have good memories, too. For those and for all the missed opportunities I cry. For the gaslighting I feel anger, I didn’t deserve that. As my friend said, we don’t know what he went through, but neither does he know what it put me through all of my life for him to abandon me so long ago and taking my father from me.

I cried a lot, so often, for decades. Right now new tears and grief mixes with old. I don’t even know the people who are now mourning him, missing him. I don’t know what holes he left in the world, I don’t know many of the ways in which I grew to be like him because I never had an adult relationship with the man, my father, Pappa, I don’t even know how to spell this German endearing word for dad, is it one p or two?, that’s how long ago he left me.
I know some of the things I do and love are inherited from him. I fold my toes under whenever I sit somewhere. I love to eat the crust of bread more than the soft inner parts, I dream and love stories, I am an artist as was he, I am affected by the full moon as was he, when I look into his eyes, the ones I see in memory, I see myself in his soul, his soul when he was a young man. His eyes were brown and mine blue, his hair brown and mine blond, now brownish.

I don’t know what facial features in my 40 something year old face look a bit like his did when he was my age, I last saw him, briefly 20 years ago. Locked out of his life once more, that time I didn’t insist or keep trying to find love. Love should be given freely not begged for. How sad really.
But you know what gift I got? His birthday date is the very date that Jason and I first kissed, it’s the date that we began our story and it turned out to contain a lot of love. All the love I always deserved.

I just can’t get over how anybody could not have loved the child that I was, and how anybody could abandon me when I was a child. I was cute and adorable, kind and I had so many talents just no confidence, I was perfect and loveworthy and nobody ever told me that. I am now telling it to myself.
He took me into urban parkland, which felt like forest to the 5 year old me, and built me forest dwellings with branches, leafs and sticks. He shared my secret daydreams and read me stories at night, he treated me with so much love and then just disappeared like as if I had never existed. I know he was thrown out for being a drinker and causing us debt, I accepted all my life that he was thrown out, until now, I don’t accept it anymore. He left because he took love with him. He took my love and my heart and his and never came back into my life.

There were occasional times when I could see him and many more times when I couldn’t. Gaslighting became a feature: It somehow became my fault that we didn’t have a relationship. That’s a lot to accuse a child of. Then he stopped opening his apartment door when I came to visit him. He denied being at home when I asked him about it on the rare occasion that I got access to him. But somebody buzzed the main house door open for me when I rang his apartment bell. How could there have been nobody inside? Gaslightling. I was told it was my mistake. Never would they not let me in. But they didn’t let me in and I know that.

So many weird experiences of rejection. Until at one point I never saw him again. Tried one time when I had just turned 18-19. Promises. So many promises. Then silence. None kept, all promised withered.
Tried again with Glenn, my boyfriend, in 1999. Got close, it ended in rejection. It ended with promises of a day spent together, I was so excited, and yet nobody answered the phone when I called to ask why they hadn’t come to pick me up. Hours passed. I felt so embarrassed to keep calling, I felt like I didn’t deserve to make such a fuss. But the message was clear: we don’t have the guts to say no to you, so we pretend we are saying yes until all the actions send the message we really want you to hear. It hurt a lot. I had arranged a separate flight back to the UK than Glenn so that I could spend this time with my father.

Stopped trying. I am glad Glenn was there with me back then, it was a difficult experience.

I thought I was over it. But every year a new wound opens and a new pain needs healing. I think you can never really get over losing your dad. I seem to lose him in regular intervals. They get longer but they still appear, always unexpected. And now I lost him again. And this time he is gone forever, a deeper more final forever than the other final forevers that came before.
Am I sad that I didn’t get to see him again? I can’t answer this honestly. I was sure that I had given up all hope and that I had completed accepting the rejection. But it hurts fresh when the one you are a physical cellular part of didn’t even think to let you know that they were dying. When nobody thinks of letting his daughter know that now he’s gone. Maybe I was hoping something tiny would be left for me, a letter addressed to me, explaining that he knows this didn’t go as it should have done, letting me know that it hurt him, too but that he didn’t know how to fix his error, however grave, of his past. Or just a photo of me that he kept all of his life. But maybe he didn’t even keep a photo of me.

That hurts. I wish he kept a photo of me, it would make my heart feel less like it is combusting with sadness and a pain I can’t describe.

I have to make my own life. I wish I had had a child. I had the opportunity but wasn’t ready for it. Now I wish I had a child, to pass what I know about being a human being onwards.

Like it was my father who taught me the guiding principles that lead me through my whole life: Don’t do to others what you don’t want them to do. I also learned empathy from him, all life has feelings, don’t hurt it. It’s him who taught me this. Klaus Deubner shaped my whole life philosophy and the values that I am so proud of living by.

He was a great father, he just stopped being my father too soon. 6 years was not enough. I deserved more and so did he.

I now grieve for the father he was for those 6 years, the father he could have been, the father I always needed and didn’t have and also for the people whom I don’t know, whose lives he left gaping holes in. I am sure they are out there, hurting. I am sorry for all this pain we all felt and until October 25th, none of it was necessary. All we needed was more love.

I wish he left me a little oil painting that he made just for me, with a note and with an old photo of us together. I would be happy with that as my inheritance, it would let me know I was loved, at least a little, after all.

Are we feeling it this year? Thoughts on Christmas #1

I don’t know what it is like for you this year, Christmas, are we feeling it? How much do the realities of our lives personal and global affect how the next days play out? Put on some nice music, grab a book, make a nice dish that smells nice and don’t worry if your Christmas is the picture book perfect one. Let’s remember just this: This is a good time to remember to be empathetic and kind.
If nothing else then: Sharing is a profound action within reach of each and every one of us. The below is written a little more with my UK life in mind than my US life, but applies probably exactly equally as much wherever you read this. It’s not so different in America.
Sharing time, kindness, care, food, gifts if you have them, donate to those in need. If you have it then go drop of £20 at somebody’s (a stranger’s) door step you haven’t met but you have noticed they have kids and they appear to live precariously on the precipice of the abyss that callous politics have created. Just leave it in an envelope in their mail box or wedged under their door. It may mean they can put the heating on, it may mean somebody eats.
I have thought and then heard my thoughts echoed: we are reverting back into a semblance of Dickensian life, where the poor are treated with cold, hard callousness and where the possibility of escape from dire poverty is ever more elusive for the many of the many poor.
Let’s remember when we feel lonely or “It’s not ‘christmassy’ enough” we can make our own Christmas with those aspects of the tradition that really have an impact. Let’s take more care of each other, that includes objectionable people whom we wouldn’t want to befriend, but they, too deserve some warmth and food, a helping hand.
It’s not ‘christmassy’ enough because we might just be focusing on the wrong element of Christmas and in doing so are forgetting that all we really need is some time and thoughtfulness.
Leave the last minute plastic shopping and make something delicious to eat, it doesn’t have to be gourmet to be the food that helps make a memory.
p.s. are you alone, no friends or far away? It’s ok. You are not alone, we know you, we hold you in our hearts, there is a space for all of us. Try enjoy the solitude and the space for wonder that it can offer when we can see it from the right angle.
Go to midnight mass, doesn’t matter if you are religious, it’s a thing, it marks the time of year, they may have some Christmas decorations, you may feel lonely in the sea of people, look around you, who else is alone? Enjoy the love people have, even if it is not for you. It’s good to see love exist, we see a lot of the opposite all year, use it as a reminder of good.
Now I totally rambled. Sorry. I am a goof. I always delete these stream of consciousness posts after a short while, I never leave them up because who has the time to read this mess of thoughts. But I’ll just leave this here. This is who I am: sometimes a mess of words.
With love to you all.
Grab a book
Tune into some classical music for the heart and soul
It’s not too late, fold some paper cut-out-stars
Breathe. Exhale longer than you inhale.

Tips for petsitters: How to make your pet’s owners happy.

Take a little time to be creative with the daily updates that you send to your pet’s owners. When they see that you took care to take a cute photo of their pet, rather than just a quick snap shot and THEN you add some text to it that makes the presentation overall cute and shows your care for the pet then they will feel at ease, they’ll trust that you really care about and for their pet and you will get called back again in the future. Repeat clients are what makes your life easier. It becomes an annual income as clients tend to go away at approximately the same time each year, for vacations and family visits.


This isn’t to say that you should stick with a client whom you are not happy with. Whatever the reason: if you aren’t feeling 100% comfortable with and appreciated by your client or have any problems with your care pets then it may not be worth it. Complete this booking to the very best of your ability, always keep it friendly and amicable. But when you have finished the booking: Move on, find a new one. It is perfectly acceptable to turn down a booking request. It is also in the client’s and pets best interest for you to not work with them if you are not feeling happy in this relationship.


If you want to try becoming a petsitter then you can use the tips on my website to help you prepare your profile, find clients and keep your care pets happy. You can use this link to sign up to Rover, we get a good number of first time clients through this booking agency: 



As always: use your discretion, if a pet is too large or difficult for you to handle, please turn down the booking request. If you are already with the animal and are struggling please reach out to the owner & Rover and get assistance. It is not worth risking your comfort and definitely not with risking the pet’s wellbeing. Always stay professional, the pets’ needs above yours, to a point, after that point call the owner and Rover. Rover can send an alternate sitter to take over for you. It’s preferable to traumatising the pet or yourself.

Photo of a creme coloured, beige, labradoodle dog with a pink nose, looking up and at the camera.

Coming soon: From Diagnosis to Surgery

Diagnosis to Surgery / being sick and getting treatment in America

First draft / Still to be edited

It’s about a year ago that our crazy journeys began. My first doctor’s appointment was in December, by January I was in ultrasound, by February in MRI, then waiting for surgery, getting mentally into the right space to build my courage and trust. April surgery, recovery slower than other people, sitting here and like you: when I see a ‘trigger object’ (which would be a peanut butter jar, a tin of beans, a big size container of vitamin C, or a large mango) I always thing my fibroid was bigger than that! My gosh. Of course it messed me up. How did I live so long with it? How wasn’t I diagnosed sooner! Wow. And than goodness for my NP, who took immediate action and my OBGYN and the ultrasound technician who spent an hour and a half picking me to get the best image and the MRI guys and the Radiologist who re-visited the MRI images and corrected a previous faulty reading of it, which could have lead to ineffective treatment decision, which would mean I would now still be dealing with the f!

Fallout from the previously erroneously interpreted MRI images. Had the Radiologist not noticed the error then I would have gotten the wrong treatment and that would be leaving me with facing two treatments and longer time of anxiety and I’ll health. Got so lucky! 🍀 

Am soooo grateful!

Tips for pet owners when hiring a pet sitter

I am working on a guide for pet owners to refer to before booking a petsitter. (Petsitters can use this guide to structure their questions, too)

Most important: Give clear instructions in print AND digital format, do NOT rely on spoken instructions (nor digital) alone. Ensure that both you and the sitter have a physical copy to refer to, this will be especially important in the case of a dispute. However MOST disputes won’t ever happen with clear instructions and very clear agreements in place BEFORE finalising a booking : 

1 – Provide the sitter with a full history of the pet.

Tell them if it’s a rescue animal or has any other trauma in it’s history or attachment issues, as it may affect the experience that the sitter has with your pet. We find that rescue pets can be more work to help them feel comfortable, which we don’t mind but appreciate knowing in advance as it helps us tend to the animal better.  

Not communicating an anxious pet’s history is unfair to the sitter and also doesn’t serve your pet as well as ensuring that your sitter is prepared. Keeping animal needs from the sitter can leave them with unexpected burden  i.e the animal may display nighttime crying and barking. Help your sitter find ways to calm the pet. If your pet needs nighttime cuddles, treats or other comforts, please ensure the sitter knows before they commit to their stay.

Please subscribe to my blog for the next items on this list of instructions for petsitters. I will add another couple of items to this list on this post on August 9th, by 7pm Pacific Time. (Apologies for posting 1/2 a post today, the clock is just about to strike midnight and tomorrow is a long day)


Become a petsitter:
Hire a petsitter discount code: BIRGITANDJASON20
See our profile:

Rover Petsitter throws puppy : my response

You may have heard the news (here and here) in the last couple of days that a sitter hired through Rover thew a puppy onto the ground.

My first reaction is the same as everybody else’s: This is terrible. The poor puppy! This is awful.

We all should stress the importance of the responsibility of pet owners AND pet sitters to carefully vet each other. Apps like Rover and Wag are here to help reduce the time it takes to find a sitter and streamline the process. Especially where the pet owners for any reason don’t know their neighbours well enough to request recommendations.


Greeting card from Pankun the cat & Lila his cat sister. (We often create fun ‘greeting cards from the pets we sit, to send them to our petsitting clients via sms or WhatsApp or through the Rover app directly.)

I am not sure that the reporting of the incident was fair or balanced. It indicates that booking a petsitter through Rover is dangerous, when with the right approach it can be safer than hiring somebody who did not need to go through a background check.

I wrote the text below on my local neighbourhood forum:

People please read reviews and use common sense when hiring a petsitter, irrespective of if your are hiring through Rover, Wag,, Craigslist, or word of mouth. Interview and meet your sitters (meetings & interviews can take place over the phone/visa Skype or whatsapp chat and do ask for reviews or character references.)

I always stress that over-communication helps prevent a lot of disappointment or worse (nothing will guarantee 100% that your experience will be problem free). Our Rover listing is over-informative for this reason and we rarely accept clients who communicate in 1 sentence messages because it just isn’t enough to create trust between strangers.


We have had many home-& petsitting clients in the Bay Area since 2014, through direct recommendations, Yahoo groups, Craigslist, Rover and I think not yet through nextdoor despite our occasional posting here.

I think Rover is as good a service as any gig economy app that makes ‘transactions’ quicker and less time consuming but ultimately we all have to continue to rely on our human instincts, too.

I am creating a list of questions to ensure a GOOD Petsitting experience for both  pet owner and petsitter: Tips for hiring a petsitter



A final thought: I want to point out that had this happened with a private sitter, one who is not booked through Rover then we may never have heard about it. That this took place within the Rover platform community provides media with far more sensationalism value and makes it much more eye-catching for the media.

Trying out Trusted Housesitters for free accommodation

I recently signed up to Trusted Housesitters and the grand master plan is to first build my profile and make myself a desirable house sitter and then look out for long term housesits in places that I can focus on developing my business, use the time and space to up-skill, network or relax.

I am new to this but will share my progress and how it is going with you as soon as I am in full flow. If you, too, are excited about the idea of a free place to stay for a city trip, vacation, trip abroad or within your home country then maybe follow this link and sign up to Trusted Housesitters.

And don’t forget to read my tips and steps to follow to creating an amazing profile that will get you bookings. ( I better start writing it asap!)

You could use Trusted Housesitters to make travel more affordable & to take the pressure off paying rent while you bootstrap your business for a few weeks. And you could simultaneously sublet your place on Airbnb! Now we are talking not just savings but also profit.

update: August 9th

I was just a few hours ago offered a stay in a beautiful large home in Costa Rica. I am not sure yet if I will accept it. It’s not brilliant timing but the opportunity is just too sweet!

If you use my referral links: As a first time user of each platform you will save some money and simultaneously benefit me. Sharing links like this is called affiliate links. I get a bonus from the company that I share with you. I will only ever share a service / company that I use myself, benefit from and trust.

Becoming a paid petsitter / dog walker in San Francisco, California, USA.

How you can earn $500 (£300) while on vacation – no catch

.. to pay for your flight. (you can read my post or scroll straight to the bottom for the summary)

I have a rented apartment and when I go away for longer periods of time I rent 1/2 of my place out to a longterm lodger who is only in the country for a limited period of time, matching the duration of my absence. Right now I am subletting my place to somebody I found offline, and am using Airbnb as a booking agent to make sure that I get paid and that they & I have a bit of an insurance against things going wrong. This aids me build my reviews and simplifies the financial side: easily, allowing my lodger to use their credit card to make the rent payments, something that can make their life easier than trying to navigate making international bank transfers.

An additional tip is to use Trusted Housesitters to find a place for yourself to stay free of charge while on vacation. If you are able to match up the Airbnb rental & your housesit well, then you won’t pay for your accommodation on your vacation and depending on your rental agreement with your lodger you might make a small profit while subletting your home.

I personally choose to rent my place matching the cost of my actual rent for the space that I sublet, but if YOU feel that you offer good value then you may be able to sublet for a little more than the cost of your rent. I don’t think that this is too opportunistic as long as your place is nicer &/or cheaper than an equivalent stay at a hotel would be. Personally I feel better pricing my place on the lower end of the Airbnb market rate in my area. While I benefit from and need to earn some money I also feel better about myself if my pricing is fair and not exploitative.

If you are even smarter and able to tap into the potential of signing up as a PAID home- & petsitter then you can earn up to $500 – $1000 (£300 – £700) on a 4 week vacation, just by taking care of somebody else’s cat or dog!* For this I use online groups as well as Rover. I like using Rover as it offers some insurance for both the pet owner and me, the temporary petsitter.

Please look out for my article about how to build successful profiles that will help you get the bookings you want!

Becoming a paid petsitter / dog walker in San Francisco, California, USA.


  1. Rent a part or all of your home while you are away, use a booking agent like Airbnb or check my upcoming post with a checklist before renting your home.
  2. Book a stay through Trusted Housesitters to save on hotel costs, use this link to set up your profile & check my post of Tips for how to create a winning profile that clients will want to book.
  3. Arrange a paid house- & petsitting stay through Facebook Groups, Yahoo groups or use a booking agent like to create additional security & insurance to reduce the chances of something going wrong. Make sure to check my post of “Tips for how to create a winning profile that clients will want to book & pay you”.

* Assuming a weekly petsitting rate of $150 – $250 (£95 – £180), which I typically get paid for standard petsitting bookings. The rate of pay that you can achieve will depend on the location of both your home and the housesitting / petsitting home. Big cities like San Francisco and New York will likely have more and higher paying opportunities than small towns. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get started. You never know.

*If you use my referral links: As a first time user of some of the platforms you will save some money and simultaneously benefit me. Sharing links like this is called affiliate links. I get a bonus from the company that I share with you. I will only ever share a service / company that I use myself, benefit from and trust.

Wearing face masks to protect against the heavy smog air in Chiang Mai Thailand.

Surviving the Chiang Mai Air Pollution

Basically the best action is to leave town and return once the burning season is over. That is probably not what you came here to read so I have a few tips that will help but they won’t keep you as safe as leaving the area will.

• We brought with us a multipack of high quality N95 rated face masks from our home country.
• We went to Tesco and purchased several packs of M3 Filtrete filters & followed this youtube vide to install them in our rented room AC unit.

• Wear the face masks religiously

• Looked around for an air purifier but they were outside our budget, in hindsight we should have ignored the budget, respiratory diseases are no laughing matter..

• Keeping doors and windows firmly shut, wiping the floor with a wet towel regularly, placing a wet towels at the door to block the polluted air flow into the room, rinsing in the shower frequently as we bring in pollution on our clothing and body.

That’s all I have for now, do you have any additional tips?

Places to look for N95 rated face masks: Pharmacies, Tesco, M3 shop on Wulai Road

Places to look for air purifiers: Siam TV, Power Buy, Home Depot style store next to Airport Plaza (unmissable, they kind of share a huge open air car park). You can try Big C and Tesco but I didn’t find anything promising in Tesco and hence didn’t take the trip to Big C.

Last but not least:

You will find EVERYTHING on Lazada, you may need a Thai person to help you place an order. There is a good chance that masks and air purifiers will be out of stock for the next couple of weeks. In fact we tried ordering an air purifier a few days ago and it would take 2 weeks to get it delivered. Lazada is a site similar to Amazon and you’ll find just about anything you may need on there. Keep an eye on shipping times. I selected ‘Local’ for the product location to have a better chance of keeping shipping times low.

Here is a link straight to HEPA Air Purifiers: It could be that at some point in the future the link won’t work perfectly but as of March 30th 2019 it works.

PLAN AHEAD! Your lungs are kind of essential and the pm 2.5 particles enter your blood stream and do NOT ever leave it again.