Family is the most precious thing in life (and pets are family, too). As much as you want to be there for them every second of the day, sometimes someone else needs to take care of them. Maybe work is taking you out of town or maybe the hotel doesn’t allow dogs. You need someone to step in and help out, but that can be a nightmare.
Nobody wants to give an unvetted stranger the keys to their house or access to vulnerable family members. The news is full of horror stories about what happens and even if you skip the breaking updates, your imagination can conjure up something scarier than anything that’d screen at a multiplex.
When it comes to family and pets, you need someone you can trust. Here’s a guide to the best websites for petsitters, caregivers, babysitters, and other folks that can pitch in and help out.
Find nannies, petsitters, and more with Care.com
Let’s start with the best part: care.com is free to join, and there are paid membership upgrades. Care.com is a way to find someone to help out with children and seniors, pets, housekeeping, or even date night. Just answer a few questions about your needs — cats or dogs? Do you just need someone to make sure Fluffy doesn’t tear the house down or do you need training and cleanup as well? Care.com will match you with people in your area that do exactly what you want done.
You can see when they’re available, how much experience they have, specialties, pictures of them, their rates, and other screening information to find you a great match. If you’re looking for something a little longer-term (or even permanent), Care.com provides support on that end as well. Their HomePay system helps manage nannies, care workers for seniors, and other household staff by handling things like payroll and taxes. Sure, you could DIY, but who wants to keep track of all that paperwork?
Take me down to SitterCity
It’s easy to put up a website and just as easy for it to disappear. It’s hard to know who to trust. SitterCity has been up since 2001, so you know it’s not some fly-by-night operation letting shady characters in to take your cash.
Whether you’re hiring staff to watch your kids or need someone to help out with a senior citizen, SitterCity can help with kids, seniors, special needs, and even pets. They offer the usual ratings and reviews that you’d expect, but also provide peace of mind features like reference checks and identity verification.
SitterCity even monitors the profile and messaging of prospective sitters, just in case there’s anything shady going on. When you’re dealing with the most vulnerable members of your family, why take the chance?
Even houses need a sitter: TrustedHousesitters
Petsitters are great and can really help with your peace of mind when traveling. One or two visits a day can make your house appear occupied; however, any savvy crook will eventually figure it out. Wouldn’t it be great if someone could take care of the dogs and keep an eye on the house, just in case?
TrustedHousesitters.com does exactly that, pairing up pet parents wanting to travel with trusted, reliable housesitters that will feed Fluffy and Fido in exchange for free accommodations. For a reasonable yearly fee, you can travel in peace knowing someone’s bringing in the mail, taking care of the kitties, and making your home look lived in. There’ll be less chance of nasty surprises when you walk in the door, be it Kitty’s expression of anger or be it that plumbing leak finally getting out of control. Isn’t that peace of mind what travel is really all about?