Availability calendar and double booking

I was trying to weigh whether to say anything, as just another sitter. But I think the goal here is a healthy community, and if this sit went bad, @trekker954, I’d feel bad for not speaking my mind.

First, @Lassie raises a great point I’d forgotten: Couples often double-book the ends of sits, as it allows them to avoid staying in Airbnbs between sits. Of course, such couple presumably communicate the situation to both sets of HOs. @Colin: Have you guys double-booked before?

Second, here’s the official note on how availability calendars work:

Third, we might understand the context better if you have your listing linked to your forum profile. But I realize you’re not specifically asking for listing advice.

Back to the current sitter situation:

  • A sitter with “great reviews, etc.” wanted to cancel a January sit with another HO to sit for you.
    • She didn’t mention her calendar being blocked, but you did.
    • You asked for her calendar availability to free up, but she said to just confirm her first.
    • She said the first HO had a backup sitter.

A sitter can’t cancel a confirmed sit; only an HO can. Assuming your sit and the first sit don’t match dates exactly, the sitter’s calendar could look like this:

  • She’s blocked only for your sit, so the first HO indeed unconfirmed her.
  • She’s blocked for both sets of dates, so the first HO is still waiting for some reason, not bothering because it doesn’t matter, or the sitter just lied and plans to do both sits. (E.g., what happened to Lassie.)

Note that the sitter could have had the first HO unconfirm their sit before you confirmed her, thus fulfilling your request for a proper calendar availability. This would have been risky for the sitter because you might have changed your mind first. But it was certainly possible. Because the sitter didn’t present this option, she’s either ignorant or lied to you. Maybe there’s a third option, but I don’t see it positively.


  • This sitter has assured you she won’t cancel you.
  • You have no Plan B.
  • You live in a “sort out area” which I assume is like a popular area? sold-out area?
    • You had at least 5 applicants before.

:warning:You should always have a plan B.

Any good sitter should require that, probably mentioned in your Welcome Guide. Like emergency contacts. What if the sitter gets in a head-on collision? (Recently happened to an HO maybe a week before I was to sit for her. Thankfully she walked away okay.)

What actual assurance do you have that the sitter won’t cancel on you? Is she God? She cancelled on the first sitter. Or again, she might get RSV/COVID/flu. Did she send you a deposit to cover a backup sitter? Did she promise you that in writing via TH mail, with all her personal info?

Frankly, I would cut my losses short. Avoid the sunken costs fallacy:

The right move now would be to contact THS to explain why you are unconfirming the current sitter, and also you should politely explain to her your reasoning. Then you should re-open your listing. The listing sounds past Christmas and in a popular area, so you should be fine.

And if you didn’t know, when you get 5 applicants it pauses, but you can just reject a few and unpause. Even the ones you reject you can still communicate with, if you change your mind later.

And you should work on a Plan B as well. For example, perhaps there’s interest from local sitters, but you choose a farther sitter. Ask the local sitters for their contact info just in case for the future.

That’s just my opinion. I’m not saying it can’t work with your current sitter. It’d be like a guy cheats on his girlfriend/wife to be with you, and he’s done that 3 times before. 4th time might be the charm. Or you can listen to the red flags from less-biased people just trying to help.