Carefully select qualities required of a sitter

I try to have a really relaxed, detached attitude about this whole thing. If I saw a sit that seemed like it would be a good fit or desirable in some way, but we were discounted for some reason–wanting a single person , not a couple for example–I just wouldn’t apply. But that’s just me. It seems like people here did so anyway and the owners had a change of heart so it could be worth a shot. There are so many opportunities on here and something for everyone, and I use my gut as a guide. If I ever felt I would have to try and convince the owner of something in my application, it just wouldn’t feel aligned for me personally. Something like the ‘car required’ thing when it isn’t would be an exception since that has nothing to do with the actual person but a practical concern. But we are currently sitting domestically and have our own vehicle so that’s moot.


I kinda feel the same way about potential sitters cutting us out because my hubby smokes cigars. Holy moly it could be worse. We could live beside a paper mill or a turkey farm - both very common in North Carolina. I do everything in my power to minimize that smoke smell with essential oils and ozone machines, but we get eliminated often because of it. We live in a great location - so their loss I guess, but our loss too.


As we remodeled one of our bedrooms recently from a 2x2m to a 1x2m bed and in the other bedroom there’s only a Queen size waterbed, which I mention in my listing, I expected mostly single sitters to apply. But, I just got an application from a couple and at first I thought, no, I like a single person better. However, when I asked about the possibility of extending the sit in case we would not be able to come home as planned (positive Covid test or sickness) they wrote that they will arrive by camper van anyway to be most flexible. Now that’s a huge plus for me in their favor :point_up:t3::point_up:t3::point_up:t3:
We unfortunately can’t provide the use of our cars as they are company owned and it always bothers me if there was an emergency and the sitter would have to call a taxi to get the cat to a vet hospital, this would cost a fortune. Even if a camper van is quite big, it’s a vehicle and you can drive to places!
Another point in favoring a couple is that even if one of them got sick, there’s still someone else to stay with the cats. I think we are going to choose them.


As to whether a HO Prefers a single person or a couple maybe down to the fact that if somethinh goes wrong like a leak, one in the party maybe able fix it, or if the sitter needs to go to the grocery store, the other person can stay with the dogs. I dont think it is any thing more than something like that

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As a HO, we probably prefer a couple as we have a few outdoor animals as well as the indoor ones, and in that case we feel two sets of hands are generally better than one in terms of comfort for the HS. If there were any issues at all, or there was a prolonged rainy spell and the outdoor chores became a bit miserable, then it’s good to be able to help each other out. Also, up until last month we had a second dog who was a little lame and could not be walked, and did better if someone was here most of the time, so one person could stay home while the other went for supplies, or have some time out. And as mentioned, if there were any family or home issues with the couple, one could maybe go and deal with it and one stay with the animals until we could get home to help them.

Having said that, we would absolutely not rule out a single person, and indeed half of our experiences have been with a single sitter. It very much depends on the individual, their experience and confidence around equines, fitness level for clearing the stable, and happiness to spend time at home alone with the animals. We live in a rural area, with no public transport and no shops etc within walking distance, so really it is more about having someone that is really comfortable with that and sees it as a positive thing!


When i see a car is needed for the sit is for couples I read the ad and if it might fit me with my experience I would simply ask first if I could be considered as a sitter. I have been lucky a few times. I sat in Spain and Denmark for the same people and they had in Spain 2 horsss,3 big dogs that did not needed to be walked there and a few outdoor cats. When they moved to Denmark they had 4 horses, the 3 big dogs that needed to be walked there, and 2 out door cats. I have also done a couple of sits where the ad said a car is needed but when I spoke to them we agreed that I would not need a car. I don´t drive on the “wrong side” so driving in UK is not a option. And because of that I do not apply for many good looking sits.
My main thing is having shops and maybe a pub or 2 near by :slightly_smiling_face:

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It is because all of us drive, have never taken the bus and have no clue how it works.

I think you make a really good point Snowbird. I have wondered at times just how thoughtfully home owners state their requirements. I have seen sits where the level of what a home owner needs is ridiculous. Really they need to pay someone. This forum is the best thing ever for everyone as I think it gives a more realistic view for owners and sitters.


As a HO I certainly have a few requirements, like vaccination status and that the sitters arrive without pets of their own and children, but about the rest I decide after applications come in.
With my current listing I spontaneously changed my mind about my preferences about single sitters, because the couple who applied assured me that they are very flexible concerning lengthening their stay in case of any disruptions from our side and because they will arrive with their own vehicle. Their application showed that they have read my listing and, had I required only a single sitter, they wouldn’t have applied. So I don’t rule out too much beforehand and rather decide until I see the application.


Some interesting points. I am a HO, living in an area of France which I wouldn’t describe as remote, but which has restricted public transport. 7km from our local town and no shops closer than that, although they do deliver. So I’m very happy to leave a car for sitters but there are conditions laid down not by us but by our car insurers.
Over 25
Licence for two years
EU or International licence.

Now, most sitters have been happy to comply.
One UK sitter didn’t have time to get an international licence but was happy to rent a car.
Another just used our e-assist bike, with a friend helping if a vet visit was needed.(luckily it wasn’t)

A third informed us that they had insurance that would work. Except that it was apparently too difficult to let us see the policy in advance or on arrival. This then made it our fault that they had no car. I offered to share rental costs. Not good enough for them. Not going to allow uninsured driving in our car, thank you.

The lesson I learned was that a single sitter, or even a couple, in a rural area needs motorised transport, preferably their own. Second lesson was to see the paperwork in advance to ensure that everyone is happy. Third lesson? Don’t take a sitter who is the least bit worried by not having a close neighbour. Especially one who normally lives in a town and speaks not one word of the local language.

I’m hoping to get away this year but have been very discouraged by last year. So, yes, I will be making some conditions to do with transport and self reliance. Our car will still be available. Let’s hope the sitter can use a manual gearbox.

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Hi @Piper.classique I found your response interesting as it shows the degree of consideration that has to be given at times. In my opinion, you have a balanced and reasonable assessment of the needs for your particular listing location. Our own experiences - for both sitters and homeowners - help us create our personal ‘lists’ of what’s important to us - what’s flexible, and what’s a non-negotiable.

Given your location, I think asking for a basic knowledge of the local language is reasonable. I also think I’d do more than ‘hope’ they can use a manual gearbox - I’d want assurance that they have experience driving on the other side of the road, and not ‘the wrong side’ of the road, as some say. :face_with_raised_eyebrow: I would want them to elaborate on that, rather than you just trusting when they say they’re fine with that. You may even need to clarify the term ‘manual gearbox’, as some may only know it as ‘stick shift’, for example, depending on location.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for assurances on details you’ve found need clarification. That’s all part of good communication and making sure that it’s a good fit for everyone.

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Good point. Stick shift it is, then. How fortunate there aren’t so many countries that drive on the left! Must remember to check that as well!

@Piper.classique I was confused when I did a sit in St. Thomas, in the US Virgin Islands. I was sitting with my husband at the time. There they drive US cars, so steering on the left, but they drive on the left, as you do in the UK. Thankfully, I didn’t have to drive on that sit as I’m not sure I would have been comfortable. It also wasn’t something the homeowners had thought to mention, and yet they left us both their vehicles. Thankfully, my husband adapted well, even though he would not drive in the UK and always had me drive there. I’m totally comfortable driving on either side of the road, but not a combination of the two. :scream: I also don’t do well on narrow, winding roads where the cliff drop off can be alarming, which was the case on that sit. Features of a sit that are best shared BEFORE being confirmed, I think. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

These points seem very reasonable especially the proof of insurance and the ability to drive on the right hand side of the road.
I have held a clean UK driving license for 40 years and have on occasion offered to pay any excess premium to put me on the pet owners car insurance. It’s a small price for everyone to have peace of mind.

It could be in case a pet needs taking to the vet, without a car that could be difficult

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75 countries drive on the left!!
Mostly former British colonies or territories.
Most of SE Asia - Indonesia, Thailand, India. Also South Africa, Australia, Japan, Caribbean islands.

Interestingly Myanmar (Burma) changed to RHS in 1970, overnight. There are a couple of theories - the military leader at the time had a dream, and made it law the next day, and also one that his wife was keen on astrology and
convinced him it would be better…

Quote "Under the command of the British empire, Myanmar drivers first started out on the left side of the road. Although British rule ended in 1948, we remained a driving-on-the-left-side kinda country for the next 22 years.

However, in 1970, General Ne Win — who was Prime Minister from 1958 to 1960 and 1962 to 1974, and Head of State from 1962 to 1981 — decided that Myanmar would switch to driving on the right side of the road.

Why? Well, no one really knows.

However, there are a couple of theories as to why the general had this sudden change of mind, none of which make any real sense (but then again, neither do several things in this country).

One theory is that Ne Win’s wife’s astrologer told the general that it would be better for the country if people started driving on the right side. While that might sound weird to some, astrology is huge in Myanmar, so this story might very well be true.

Another popular theory is that Ne Win had a dream that the country should switch directions, and well, we did.

Ultimately, it was the general who decided that the country should start driving on the right side, and lo and behold, it happened.

Of course, it gets more confusing when you consider that most of the current cars in Myanmar are right-hand drives, mainly because they’re Japanese imports. However, that might change next year when the new vehicle importation laws come into effect and only left-hand drives will be allowed in the country.

So there you have it — the history behind why Myanmar’s right-hand cars drive on the left side of the road despite the fact that there are still some traffic signs, especially in Yangon, facing the wrong direction.

But hey, what would our wonderful country be without a few eccentricities?"

Edit: Must add, I have been to India a couple of times, and I am not sure they know which side they are meant to drive on - mostly middle I think.


A wonderful piece of history @Petermac … I enjoyed reading that this morning. And agree… Indian drivers frequently drive straight through the middle. My memories are of that famous junction in Old Delhi where it’s just absolute chaos… I’ve twice been through there in questionable vehicles and had to just trust and accept my fate :grin: But that’s what I love about India … It’s so chaotic you can’t make sense or reason… and that actually becomes very liberating if you go with the flow! Thanks for sharing!!


Having lived in India for 6 years @Petermac and being an oddity (a women who actually drove herself, complete with Springer Holly riding shotgun) I can say with some authority that they drive anywhere there’s a space … upside is you rarely get out of second gear so any metal to metal arguments are usually low impact in cities of course, highway driving is totally different and not recommended!!

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@Piper.classique Thanks for this. I have never been asked for an International license. I have rented cars in the UK before and my Canadian license was enough. It’s good to know in advance that this might be needed. Not costly in Canada $25 CAD

It’s always a useful thing to have. I’m actually in France, and although it’s entirely possible to rent a car on a US , UK, or Canadian licence some, not all, insurers will insist on the French or international licence for a private loan.
I’ve never understood why, but as our insurers don’t charge extra for extending cover to a sitter I suppose they can make the rules they want.
UK rules may differ.