Car needed?

as a Canadian I agree that public transport is no where near as extensive as what we had when living in England. I am assuming that most of Europe is the same as the U.K. Currently in Vancouver where we are managing just fine with public transport but generally North American cities, in my opinion, do not build with public transport in mind. Many stores are only accessible by car and pavements are not always provided

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I’m pretty new to THS and wish I’d known from the jump that not all “sitters need a car” really mean you need a car. I love doing transit, walking, biking while travelling cause: local culture and driving is kinda nerve-wracking – especially in opposite-side countries.


Do as much research as you can on the location and if you think you can get around without a car, then talk it over with the HO. There may be a good reason why they want you to have a car, or it may just be that they never considered anyone not having one.


I’m a homeowner who says “sitters need a car” and I really, really mean it! I am not a fan of car culture at all, I didn’t learn to drive til I was 30 as I lived in cities and didn’t need to, but where we live now it’s a necessity. Irish rural public transport is virtually non-existent, we are 12km from any town, and as we are a one-car family, if we are away, the car is with us. I always check with sitters when they respond initially to make sure they’ve taken on board that car is required. So while it may be a cultural thing in some places it may also be a genuine reflection of local reality.


Oh so correct. The Highlands of Scotland is exactly the same. There are no alternatives to a car. Even hitchhiking doesn’t work as the roads are so quiet.


It’s really interesting to read this thread, because it’s another of those topics where the situation surrounding “sitters need a car” can be so different depending on the circumstances, the location, the pets, the health of the pets, availability of shops, exercising of pets, emergencies and so on. I think “sitter needs a car” can sometimes be translated as “we can’t leave a car” rather than “a car is essential for you to be here”. That’s a great tip for owners to include more detail on listings in these cases, as it sounds like some of you here already do. Great discussion!


To follow up on your idea, perhaps a suggestion could be made to expand the choices:

  • car essential (with explanation)

  • homeowner’s car not available

  • easy to manage without a car

  • excellent transit options

Not that exact wording, but you’ll get my point. :slight_smile:


Great suggestions, but I’m wondering if sitters (especially those new to house sitting) might still interpret these subjectively depending on their own circumstances and preferences without thinking to further the discussion or consider getting pets to vets, for example.

I wonder if having a short section in the listings dedicated to transport options might promote more discussion on this topic at the outset? It’s in the welcome guide but there’s no guarantee of that being completed, and it’s not seen when selecting a sit.

We learned very early on to have these conversations as we were often sitting in rural off-grid environments, so it was crucial to discuss before accepting a sit.

There’s maybe something to be said for promoting good communication on the most important topics, which could be encouraged more as part of the process?

That’s what I do love about this forum … That it’s making us all think and look outside the box and learn from each other. A resource that can only make things better and better for the community :slight_smile:


When I apply for a sit, especially in a remote isolated area, I have access and sometimes meet the neighbors or friends of the HO that I can contact in case of an emergency.
Again, it depends on the given situation, the comfort level and relationship established. I look at the whole picture.

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@Myhnabird I used to wonder that also and it might be a polite way of saying there will be four cars in the driveway when we leave but please dont put us on the spot by asking for the use of one though I like to think that its more to do with the fact that most people run a car and would not know the first thing about public transport (and be horrified to have to use it!) in their area! The flip side of this situation is ‘no car required’ when in fact they are miles out from supermarkets, train stations, the vet (God forbid you need it), and public transport is a bus that sometimes comes through on Wednesday (but not leap years!) When there are four cars in the driveway and you get back soaked through having lugged supermarket stuff five miles…thats when I start to wonder! It pays to do your research on google maps, bus routes, taxi services, nearest services, weather reports etc etc especially in the second scenario.

Yes, we absolutely do our research before applying for a sit. Nothing like finding you’re miles from anywhere and buses only run every second Tues…

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May I ask what 4 cars in the driveway have to do with having to use public transport? You imply that people are selfish by not letting them use the cars. No offense meant, but there might be reasons apart from HOs simply not wanting others to drive them.

We have two cars and when the sitters arrive without a car ours are parked in the garage and driveway. Both cannot be used by other people than my husband and me, because one of them belongs to my husband’s employer and mine is leased. Both contracts explicitly forbid others driving. So even if we wanted we couldn’t give them to the sitters. Should we park them where they cannot be seen?

Here in Germany it also isn’t that easy concerning insurance. Most people pay the lower fees which say they and the spouse may drive. Then there’s the system itself: we pay less each year without accident, the lowest 35% of the regular insurance payment. As soon as you had an accident you pay more and it takes years to go back to 35%. I would not want to risk this.

@anon39388349 no offence taken! I have not applied for sits in Germany so do not know the system there. I refer to sits in the UK and one where I was led to believe there was public transport in the area when there was not AND I had to get a dog to a vet with no backup from the HO AND there were 4 cars left sitting in the driveway. I ended up organising a friend who lived some miles away to get us to the vet. I think given the circumstances it was reasonable to feel somewhat used. If the HO had stipulated ‘car required’ I would not have applied; though having more experience now I would ask more questions and also check for myself the public transport situation…we live and learn. In the UK insurance costs vary greatly. I have had the use of a car on many occasions now and always offer to pay. The lowest has been around £10 to add the sitter to insurance and the highest around £70. When you consider that for this the HO has peace of mind that the sitter can get pets to a vet quickly if needed, can take dogs on adventures and not just to the local park (after all its the dogs holiday also!), and is more likely to take on the sit in the future so forming strong bonds with all concerned, its a win win situation. I have a number of sits now where I am held over on the car insurance and have returned to these sits three or four times. Most of my past driving experience is commercial and most recently I drove a 35 seat truck in Australia taking visitors on extended camping trips of the outback. I drive carefully and to the law and those HOs who have been kind enough to loan a car (cleaned and full of fuel on their return) are more than happy with the exchange. I am quite happy to use public transport and most of the time I do. As other people have said its a great way to connect with local communities and some of my fondest memories have been talking to local people at bus stops and on buses across the country. I hope this goes someway to answering your query?

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I didn’t know the whole picture and I completely understand in this case.
If it was urgent to get the pet to the vet, and none of my emergency contacts or neighbors were available, I would tell the sitter to just take my car and hope that nothing happens. I’d rather deal with a damaged car than with an outcome for my pet that could have been avoided by driving.

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This topic really hit home for me as we moved to the city over a year ago and I still haven’t driven our brand new car since moving here and now I’m afraid I’ll forget how to drive :slight_smile: I love walking and the train is one block away. On the other hand my husband won’t even walk a block so he drives everywhere so I guess some people presume a car is needed. We’ve never actually rented a car so usually pass by the sits that say “car needed”. We have been very fortunate to have done three sits where the homeowners did provide their cars for our use and the locations were such that we did need a car and we really appreciated having one.


Would it be possible to add transportation options to the search function such as:
-Sitter needs car/car provided
-Sitter needs car/car not provided
-Sitter does not need car/car provided
-Sitter does not need car/car not provided

I do not/cannot drive in the country I am currently in, and often have to miss out on amazing looking sits because the sitter needs a car. It is quite time consuming to browse through hundreds of listings (I’m in the UK) only to see that most of them require a car. This is true even for places that post they are in cities (because they are actually in the outskirts/suburbs…which is a different issue).

Sometimes, the sit will say sitter needs a car and the car is provided, which is great, but if you DON’T drive, or don’t feel comfortable with a certain type of driving (such as mountains or off road) it still eliminates the sit.

Adding this to the HO listing and then allowing sitters to search for all or only some of these options would be a big help for those of us who are pedestrians for life. :slight_smile:


Hello @CoolCatAunt (love the name!!) and welcome to the community forum. We hope you enjoy your time here connecting and getting involved in the conversations.

This is a great question and one that was debated from many angles in a recent topic, so I’m moving this to that thread to continue the discussion there. You’ll also find some interesting comments to backup your thoughts.

Thank you for this valuable feedback which will be seen by the team! All the best, Vanessa

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Thanks for adding that. The American bashing was getting a bit much so early in the morning.

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I think your comment about buses may be relevant to many locations, but certainly not all. We have to remember that this forum is worldwide. I can assure you I’ve travelled on many local buses in Mexico where it’s not usual to see live animals, and often not caged. If there were live chickens for sale at market, you’ll see people with them tucked under their arms on the bus going back home! :chicken: :rooster:That’s one of the many things I enjoy about this forum is that I get to see the variety of lifestyles that sitters experience. It’s certainly not a one-size-fits-all. :grinning:


A post was merged into an existing topic: Cars for sitters