Over time you learn to read the ads very carefully. I am retired and I mainly look after cats, most of whom are very independent and need love and care but are able to be left so you can go out. I make sure I say I want to explore the area on my application and find I am left lots of info on where to go. I choose an area where I want to visit and as a bonus I have nice accommodation. I wouldn’t look after a puppy they are a lot of work or multiple dogs as I am a solo sitter. It does work well for me I like to sit in winter when it is less busy and as a bonus my household bills are then also much reduced!
Welcome to pet sitting! There is a wide variety of requirements from pet owners on this site ranging from people who say that their pets can’t be left alone(I wouldn’t apply for those sits) to simply just feeding and playing with cats in the morning and evening. It’s important to read the responsibilities to determine which sits to apply for.
Anyone who has had a dog knows that they need to go to relieve themselves every 4-6 hours depending on the dog. That’s why the owner is allowing us to stay in their home, to take care of those situations. The way we handle sightseeing is we usually arrive a day or 2 early or stay later where we do the sightseeing in the region. Then during the sits, we check out the area close to the home where we can still adhere to the needs of the pet as that’s the reason we’re there. We were able to spend 3 months in New Zealand and only had to pay for a hotel 8 nights.
If sightseeing is your major focus, you need to only apply to sits that would work for you. There are very few sits that don’t involve pets so you might look for sits without dogs. Review the responsibilities carefully, ask lots of questions, and hopefully you can find sits that work out for you and the owners.
I am curious why you applied for a sit that required you to be at home all of the time, when that doesn’t seem to be what you want?
There is a filter button where you can rule out dogs, as they take a lot more attention and from what you have said that isn’t something that you want to give. Whereas there are others (like us) that love being around dogs and spending time with them as we miss having our own.
Go for rabbits, cats, etc instead, there’s plenty to pick from, where you don’t need to be at home so much. But read the advert you apply for, and it will say what they expect.
There are some where there aren’t any animals, but they are few and far between.
@Tgo53 it looks like you have fallen victim to the style of publicity that has more recently been promoted - free holidays with no responsibilities. That’s not what we do here, as many have pointed out in this thread.
@Tgo53 to answer your question “Clarify the purpose of THS “
The purpose of THS is that it a platform to introduce sitters to hosts/ hosts to sitters . Its ethos is that it’s a mutual exchange where no party receives / expects payment .
That’s it - Nothing more.
Hosts offer their home to the sitter and they list the responsibilities that they want the sitter to take care of , in exchange for staying in their home without charge. Sitters are able to apply to any of the available listings that suits them.
It’s possible to browse listings before becoming a paid up member and that shows that on an average day there are 6,000+ hosts worldwide looking for sitters and less than 10 of these will have no pets to care for.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t combine travel, house and pet sitting and visiting new cities , museums, places of interest.
We’ve been able to find sits where we could care for the pet and have time go out and about .
Usually in the responsibilities section of a listing it will state how long the pet can be left for . So we know if it’s suitable for us and we won’t apply if the responsibilities seem too onerous for us . We also have a phone or video call to discuss everything with the host before accepting a sit
Currently on sit number 7 - this time with a cat - who spends most of the day doing their own thing outside -and there is a cat flap . So as long as they have been fed in the morning we can go out during the day if we want to . We are always back for dinner and cat cuddles in the evening and it’s working well for the cat, host and us .
We have also done a sit with 1 very lovely dog who didn’t like to be left alone for too long ( we knew about this upfront) but could be taken along to the local places of interest, parks cafes etc and the host suggests places that might be of interest where we could go with the dog and gave us a pass for a popular local visitor attraction. It was a great sit and we’re going back as we really miss the dog and the local area has loads of places to visit.
If you have the mindset that this is a platform for mutual exchange - think about what you are willing to give to the host ( in terms of time spent on pet care ) in exchange for staying in their home . Apply for only those sits that match the amount of time you are happy to spend looking after pets / balanced with time you’ll spend visiting places that you want to experience.
I am on my 7th sit, and I have been able to do that kind of thing.
1.) Two dogs near the center of Brussels: regular dog walks in magnificent parks in the neighbourhood, restaurants around the corner, tram/subway stop close by.
2.) A dog and two cats in a wine village near Beaune: dog walks through the vinyards, cycling trips to Beaune for restaurants and museums.
3.) A sit without pets in Bologna: tram rides to the center, train trips to Ravenna etc.
4.) An old dog in Basel: three very short walks around the block, cycling trips up and down the Rhine, the Roman ruins in Augst, tram rides into the center, I bought a museum card for the area and I used it quite a bit. Some museums I visited twice.
5.) A medieval home in the Dordogne with a cat: I had a very busy social life there, several parties, quite a bit of wine, trips to Michelin-starred restaurants and castles.
6.) The cutest maltezer dog at the Costa del Sol: breakfast with the dog under a table at a café on the beach promenade, trying to learn Spanish with locals, there was a fiesta, plenty of restaurants
7.) Lovely well-behaved border collie in Groningen, close to a large park, but I can take him anywhere on walks to the center. He sits under the table when I am reading the paper at sidewalk cafés. And he can wait outside when I am in a store.
And I spend time on the couch, computering, pet close at hand.
So I am enjoying this
Next is a few days near Geneva, on the way to a month in Provence. That dog is said to have some separation anxiety, so I guess that will mean a lot of walking in the hills, and no visits of museums in Avignon. That is perfectly fine.
If you want to be out all day, this might not suit you. Depending on the pet, you can go out and sight see for a few hours, but if you’re out all day, most pets will feel lonely.
For me, this has become more about slow travel, exploring an area but not going very far. I do a lot of dog sitting and hate leaving dogs for more than 3-4 hours, even if owners tell me that it’s OK. It’s a bit easier with cats who have access to outdoors; I’d feel more comfortable staying out longer then, but still wouldn’t be gone all day.
@pietkuip what wonderful unique travel experiences so poetically described- you should be the advert for THS ! Or feature in TrustedTimes
@Angela_L what do you think ?
Great observation and advice Ty
Sorry !!..If I commit to a sit for 1 home owner the homeowner next door will be using their own THS. I don’t think it’s even proper to have a THS care for their neighbor’s
animals during a house/ pet sit! That’s absurd!!..
I’m also wondering why you confirmed that house sit and how you got the house sit as surely you must have known what was involved before you accepted that sit!
To be blunt it seems that you have been taken in by the emphasis placed on recent advertising by THS on travelling the world free when the priority is looking after pets, very occasionally just a house, with the benefit of sightseeing in different places. I feel you have come to the wrong place.
@Tgo53 - If this is a serious post (questioning???) it seems you did not do your due diligence before becoming a member of THS. The message is clear on the THS website:
We’re TrustedHousesitters, a global, pet-loving community on a mission to create a world where pets enjoy their pet parents’ vacations, just as much as they do!
Founded in 2010, we’ve connected thousands of pet parents and pet sitters worldwide through their mutual trust and love of animals. Which means when it comes to pet sitting, we’ve got it covered.
Perhaps reach out to membership services as it doesn’t seem THS is the right fit for you.
Thank you so much for all the comments. All of the comments were helpful. It is much clearer to me. I assume some THS’s are still working and working from home. I did have a different impression of THS, BUT I am not disappointed. I love pets and I love to travel so hopefully I can make the two work together. I put everything in storage and plan to travel for the next year. One big attraction to THS is I don’t pay rent or utilities. I am experiencing my first house sit on a farm and enjoying the animlas and area. I enjoy rading the community forum and reading about others experiences and travels.
I am so sorry if I gave the wrong impression. I do love sitting with pets and the concept of house sitting. It is a great fit for me, I think because of the name I expected more house sitting and less pet sitting.
The comments were very helpful and I plan to move forward with more pet sitting.
Good on you @Tgo53 for being responsive and answering all the feedback so promptly and positively. Some people join the forum, ask questions and then go radio silent when they don’t attract the answers they were hoping for. Enjoy that first farm sit, good luck in your THS adventures and the many pets and places you’ll discover, and please stay on here and keep contributing to the forum
I also first heard of THS through the travel community (when I did a 16 month RTW trip). I did not work during that time, and the purpose was to travel and see the world - BUT, I understood that THS was about exchange, and I have always seen petsitting as a bonus to travel. I think THS is very conducive to long term travel because it can give you a chance to stay somewhere long enough that you don’t have to pack all your exploring into 1-2 days!
Unfortunately, I have noticed that even some of the travel bloggers who used to emphasize the responsibility that comes with house or petsitting have started advertising THS as “free accommodation”, and the pet part of it is just an aside. This does everyone a disservice!
I’m glad to hear you’re enjoying your farm sit - that sounds like the kind of sit I’d love! Hopefully you can fine tune your selections to get some future sits that allow a bit more exploration and enjoy the ones you’ve booked for what they are. Long term travel is awesome, and sometimes the situations that seem at first like “why am I here/doing this” can end up being the most profound experiences to reflect back on.
Keep us posted on your travels and experiences!
I am so sorry to give the wrong impression. I am very happy with the concept of pet sitting and am enjoying my first sit on a farm. I think I expected more house sitting on the menu. It seems to be mostly pet sitting, but the comments were very helpful in moving forward.
@Tgo53 we did get a 2 week garden sit this summer because they took their dogs on a camping trip. This was the one that gave us total freedom to drive 2 hours away to the coast, do excursions, and low responsibility because we just had to keep their big garden alive. They allowed us to eat anything in the garden to we helped ourselves to lots of lettuce, raspberries, and lettuce. This made up for some of the other multi dog sits requiring a ton of time. But even those are enjoyable because the animals end up having so much fun with our family and I get to see my kids laugh and enjoying themselves
That’s great to know that you have come to the right place after all. I’ve spent a total of one year travelling/housesitting in NZ (6 months on each island) and am currently on my 4th month in Australia besides 18 months in the UK (where I’m from). I would have gone through my savings without the housesits, and have met wonderful people & pets. While the pets always come first I’ve seen a lot of places I’d never dreamt of. More to come.
It is up to you to accept or reject a sitting opportunity.
Every homeowner is different.
So, do your due diligence and make sure it is a good fit.
It must be a mutual agreement. If not… say, no thank you, and move on.