Make a Gmail filter to optimize

I absolutely LOVE

I’ve gotten to stay in BEAUTIFUL homes across the country (and soon, around the world) for FREE. Because me, and my lovely boyfriend, Andrew, have flaw-free reputations and we love taking care of homes and animals.

Hm, but here’s the thing. could use some work. I GUESS they’re developing a new version of their site. It really isn’t that great, compared to, say,, right now. Your only option, right now, is to just search on their website, or to get all-or-nothing e-mail updates. They don’t offer any in-site filters, nor do they allow for e-mail update filters.

So, if you were to opt-in to  the e-mail updates, you’re going to get be getting 20-50 new messages a day. Are you really planning on going to the UK or to British Columbia anytime soon? Nah. I wanna go to where I’m able to go in 2-ish weeks notice. No one can take the care to pay attention to each and every one of those locations and dates, and choose accordingly. It’s just too much information.

Here is a great solution in the meantime.

At least, until makes their own product to deal with this.

Here is my Gmail filter!! DOWNLOAD THIS!!

Customize E-mails to your needs.

Upload that .xml file in your Gmail settings. Click the Gear image in the upper-left corner of your Gmail.

In Settings, click on “Filters and Blocked Addresses”…
In the above screenshot you can see where it says “Import Filter”

Import the XML file and then you will see it in your filters.

Click “Edit”

Then you will see something like this.

In the “Doesn’t Have” area, you will enter what you DO WANT TO SEE IN YOUR INBOX.

It sounds like reverse psychology, because it is. Just trust me, this is how it works. I recommend entering state abbreviations instead of cities names, just so you know. Unless you’re being super specific, you never know if you could miss out on an amazing house-sit in some off-brand not-metropolitan city that is just as cool as the real thing.

Then, click Continue.

You don’t need to edit anything else. Just click update filter.

HOORAY, now you will only get updates about shit you wanna hear about.

If you ever want to change this, just edit the filter to whatever states or countries you actually want to go to!

Because no one ever wants to go to Manitoba! Ever!

Love you! Hope someone finds this filter very useful.


How I stayed in San Francisco for [mostly] FREE.

Me and my boyfriend, Andrew, spent 12/22/16 – 02/11/17 in beautiful, luxury apartment in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. We enjoyed a huge, comfortable bed, and the company of the sweetest, fluffiest cat in the universe.

Our 21-day trip cost a total of $0.00.*

(* The most expensive parts were free, but obviously we still paid for things like Uber rides, food, entertainment, etc.)

The services you’ll need:

  1. Trusted Housesitters for FREE hospitality.

  2. Southwest Rapid Rewards for FREE airfare.

We didn’t earn this trip right off the bat. It took actual years of investment. But it’s going to continue to pay off. 🙂

First of all, Trusted Housesitters performs a background checks, and asks for 3 personal references up front. Our hosts in San Francisco additionally requested 2 more personal and professional references before finally confirming our gig. Both of our reputations being spotless is something that has taken decades of consistent responsible behavior. I definitely don’t regret it. Now that we’ve done a few sits, we have an ever-growing list of positive reviews on our account!

Caitlin & Andrew being feisty in a Purikura booth

Obviously we’re not well-behaved ALL of the time… 😉

Additionally, I’ve been using my Southwest card for all sorts of every day purchases for about 1.5 years now, so I have tons of points. Prices were crazy for a ticket right before Christmas, but that didn’t matter to me!

San Francisco was amazing, obviously. I went to a lot of free web dev meetups and ate insane amounts of sushi and burritos. The money I saved on housing and travel went towards my Macbook Pro upgrades.

Over the course of 2017, we’re definitely going to be house + petsitting more. Our next one is coming up in March, and we’ll be looking after a cute puppy in an enormous waterfront mansion in our hometown. After that, we’re hitting the road again for our seasonal van-life adventure! This time we’ll be camping, boondocking, as well as housesitting.


Headed to San Francisco?

Here’s my obsessive Master Map of things to do/see. I didn’t get to everything on this list, but it was helpful for when I was randomly exploring. I guess I have to go back soon!