Are owners reluctant to plan too far ahead?

I have recently returned to THS after a long gap due to Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions. Before the pandemic I had sits booked for most of 2020, right up to the end of that November.
I am currently trying to plan my movements up to March 2023 but there are very few sits listed even for early winter never mind late winter, early spring. I realise that people are still hesitant to plan too far ahead but for me, as a budget traveller, I need to book flights early to secure a good price.
Whatever happens, in regard to getting sits booked, I will be in Spain or Portugal for the winter months but being able to book sits early means I know which airports to fly in and out of and what other accommodation I may need to book.
So, I am wondering if home owners, especially new ones, feel that it is simply too soon to be listing their sits for so far ahead or are people not planning that far ahead?
I am sure there are other sitters like myself that prefer to plan long term. I would love to hear some views on this.

Hi @Youngj105

I always try to publish my dates as soon as we’ve made a decision about our trips. I generally go away for December and January and again for March as I know longer sits need planning. Doing that has been good and bad. I secured a sitter for last December in the previous January and a month before the sit the sitter cancelled. Fortunately I was able to secure another sitter. For the trip I have planned for December 2022, I advertised it in the early part of 2022 and have a sitter confirmed.

It might be as you say, people are still getting used to being allowed to travel again and might not have sorted their plans out. The other thing to take into account, is that British passport holders don’t have the freedom to travel in the same way as before Brexit so may not be taking their trips in the same way.

@LizH thanks for your reply. I hadn’t considered the impact of the passport changes, that’s a very good point. Although that shouldn’t affect people who are settled in other countries, or maybe in some ways it does. I one of the lucky ones with both a UK and an Irish passport so I haven’t had to give it much thought thankfully.
I can also see your point about it being a good thing and a bad thing and cancellation can happen at either end. I’m just chomping at the bit to get organised.

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Lucky you!

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So many more HOs and sitters are reluctant to plan ahead now. Like you, I had sits booked for most of the entire year ahead before the world shut down. Now it seems the majority of sits that are posted start in less than a month and often in less than two weeks. I’m a big planner and my struggle to relax in this new world order is real! :slight_smile:

@meow hopefully it will improve as time goes on. I’m like you, I like to plan ahead.
It’s frustrating when I see sits now and then go to check flight prices only to discover they are now three times the price I could have got them for a couple of months ago.
Back at the start of April I made a long list of places that had flights for under €20 (from Dublin) but now they are too high to justify taking on a short sit.
I don’t mind paying a bit more in the winter months when I will be heading off for 6 or 7 weeks at a time.

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I have historically been a “futuristic planner” and as a sitter I have been able to lock in many months in advance so sits are out there. Make effort to book flights that are changeable with no fees to areas you want to visit then look for the sits. Be diligent in looking and researching what you prefer but be flexible and willing to accomodate the needs of those that have what you want. Things can and will change for any number of reasons.

@Amparo, this may be a good suggestion for some people in certain countries but I’m a Ryanair customer and they charge more to change a flight than I generally pay for flights. For example, I’m flying to Berlin on Tuesday for a week long sit, my flights cost €14.99 each way.
Two years ago I was paying around €36 for most of my flights to Portugal but there is a perfect time to purchase the tickets, wait too long and you miss the cheap ones.
For people fighting trans Atlantic what you are suggesting probably makes a lot of sense but I’ll never be reaching those giddy heights.

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I am sure I am in minority, maybe even an exception that proves the rule but I am not a fan of long-term planning. A two-week plan is a long-term plan for me. Hence I do welcome pet owners’ reluctance to plan far ahead. My favorites are last-minute sits. :wink:

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@RadarInc I would love to be in a position to just hop in a car and head off to a sit at the last minute but I don’t have a car, there are very few sits in Ireland, where I live, and getting to anywhere else does involve flying so it requires forward planning. Even to get to the airport takes a fair bit of organising for me, my nearest bus stop is over 3 miles away. It can be tricky enough at times.

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The three lovely homeowners I just agreed to sit for later in the year weren’t waiting too long before submitting their listing.

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I, too, need to plan months in advance, in order to fill in the other parts of my calendar with discounted, long-term Airbnb accommodations. Given the paucity of sits posted early enough for me, I have more-or-less given up on house-sitting, for the time being.

Interesting. How does brexit affect your passport? Im Australian booked for scotland in summer.

@LauraC Yes, it’s a problem, if you want to take advantage of early booking discounts. I have managed to find a couple of well priced places, with free cancellation, on Booking.com. Part of me thinks it would just be easier to go to them but the other half of me wants the enjoyment of house sitting.
I do have one place booked and paid for through Airbnb. I spotted in in Jan, before I had re-joined THS. It is for 5 weeks in Oct/Nov. It’s so cheap I wouldn’t mind leaving it for a few nights to do a sit if anything comes up within a reasonable travelling distance. The problem with long term lets with Airbnb is that the first month has to be paid in advance, at this moment in time I don’t have the money to book any more.

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@Amazing1 all I know is that UK passport holders are now subject to the 90 days in 180 days rule within the schengen zone, and probably also means longer lines at passport control. I’m sure other people could maybe elaborate.

Georgia (the country) issues one year visa on arrival for most nationalities (incl UK)

@RadarInc I had just gone to see how to spell schengen. I have now edited my post. You were quick off the mark replying to that. :+1:

We’re doing “slow travel” while also working from home. We only travel max. 2-3 hours from place to place and try to keep the travel costs low this way. Maybe this is an option for you? In the past we were also flying around, crossing multiple borders and traveling 10+ hours from destination to destination, but that has become difficult / unpredictable for us for many reasons since the first lockdowns. Also, quite a few HOs change their plans by a day or two very last-minute (or they get rebooked on another flight), so we’ve actually lost money by booking ahead and buying super-saver tickets (which can’t be refunded).

@Timmy, yes this is what I have done in the past. I’ve been up and down between Porto and Lisbon many times but with sits booked in advance.
I do have a bit more flexibility now because I have an additional income, (state pension) so I can rent accommodation somewhere but some sort of advance planning would be helpful.
Another issue is travel insurance, mine currently covers for a max of 53 days so I need to return home for a while every so often, this also allows me to see my grandchildren. I would hate to book flights in advance and then see my perfect sit only to discover I’m going to be out of the country for it.
Anyway, things have changed, and understandably owners are not planning just so far ahead so I’ll continue to monitor the situation. I may change tack and look for more sits in places like Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands etc, there are always very cheap flights to those destinations but sadly, in the winter, not much warmth.
Think it’s a case of adapt and conquer. :muscle:

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