How it works

Just making sure I understand correctly. This site allows you to find pet/house sitting jobs. There’s no actual pay for the sitter, just a place to stay? What if a vehicle is required to take pet to vet, etc.? Is it the responsibility of the sitter to rent a car every place they go?

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Welcome Squig. That’s mostly correct. I will refer you to the many existing conversations on those topics, In the upper right of your screen there is search “spyglass” that you can use to explore all of those topics. They have each been investigated in many ways. Be aware that the answers sometimes depend on where the sit is to take place, as insurance rules are significantly different in different countries. Have a great time learning about the opportunities afforded by THS membership.

Hi @Squig and welcome to the forum.

And yes, THS is an exchange. For an annual membership fee, a house and pet owner lists their home on the site with the dates they need care, a full description of the dwelling and the pet and house responsibilities, along with pictures of the pets and the home.

The sitter takes care of the home and pets and in exchange gets to live in the home. Sitters are responsible for their own transportation costs and food.

Some owners provide use of a car and if a car is required to transport the pet, may offer use of theirs. There are many sits, though, that are walking distance to shops and accessible to public transport so you would not even need a car and many sits where you can walk the pet right from the door. The vet may be walking distance or make house calls or a friend may be able to drive if the pet needs a visit. All of this is discussed after you apply and before you accept the sit.

This link has a brief explanation of how THS works if you are interested in joining as a sitter.

This is a very brief reply to your question. Take a look at the THS website and read the information provided there, also read as much as you can here on the forum. There is a lot to know about this lifestyle. It’s an adventure, as there are so many wonderful places to see, and very gratifying if you are a pet lover. As @JEHFromVA mentions, use the spyglass icon on the upper right to search topics or questions, and feel free to post your questions and thoughts here.


Relatively few pets need vet visits during sits. And if they’re expected visits, that should be disclosed in a listing, because some sitters avoid sits if a pet is sick.

Usually there are other ways to get a pet to a vet that don’t require a HO to offer their car. That can include taxis, rides from the homeowner’s network, Uber/Lyft, public transit, etc. Countless people in the world don’t own a car and yet have pets, for instance.

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Hi there

As far as transportation goes, some homeowners may offer the use of a vehicle, some may not. So if you wanted to do a sit in an area that would require one, and the HO has not offered the use of theirs, then yes, you would need to pay.

Depending on where this HO is located, they may get plenty of sitters who have their own transportation and not being offered a car would not deter them from applying. In some cases, this could make the listing less attractive.

Some sitters inquire about the use of a vehicle if a car is required, but not offered, and have had success with the HO allowing them to use it. I personally have never done this. When sitting in the US–where we are from–we have our own car, and when traveling internationally, we can easily find sits where one is not required, so I don’t bother taking the time to apply to these sits and asking such a question.

If there are any financial concerns you have about this arrangement ,it is good to ask questions, and outline expectations . Given the scenario in your post for example: If you expect a HO to reimburse you for transportation costs for a vet visit because you didn’t have a vehicle available, or you would prefer they leave money for such things, let them know this is important to you. I imagine most HO would offer to pay for this if the situation presented itself, but again, if this is something on your mind, it is good to get confirmation.

If you weren’t comfortable fronting expenses for a vet visit, you want to discuss this too. In dozens of sits, I have had to take two animals to the vet I believe ,so I think it is pretty rare, but you never know .

In many cases, the HO can provide payment info over the phone, but if you weren’t able to get in touch with them for some reason to handle it or they were not reachable during the trip, you would want to ask if the HO has an account set up where they can be billed automatically or if they will leave you a credit card

There have been a few times where we paid for things ourselves. This isn’t a problem for us, and most of the time, asking about how expenses would be handled isn’t something that crosses our mind since having to pay for anything ourselves has happened so rarely. And when it has, we have had no issues with the HO paying us back.

I just think that for many people, leaving money or credit cards for unexpected expenses isn’t something that crosses their mind for a number of reasons, namely so many potential needed items can easily be purchased online from wherever they may be. In many sits I have done, the vet info section frequently notes there is an account set up so that expense–which has the potential to be the most costly-- is also covered.

But some sitters may not be in the position to cover costs of any amount, or even if they are, would rather not; so for these people, these financial issues may be an important part of the conversation. So if you fall into either of those camps, then you want to ask these sorts of questions, which are totally reasonable.


Welcome @Squig.
Yes you’ve pretty much got the concept of this site being an exchange.
I don’t drive but had to take a pet to the vets during a recent sit (disclosed to me prior to agreeing to sit) and it was agreed to use an Uber Pet service. The HO left money for emergencies and I took this to cover the cost of the Uber sending the HO the receipts. They offered to book the uber for me but it was easier for me to book it and take the money. The vet was aware of me being a sitter and just handed me a bill for the HO’s to settle upon their return.
I’ve also had HO’s leave me a specific credit card for any emergencies including vet visits and transport to said vets.
So no a car is not needed on a sit unless the HO states no public transport to get you to the sit.

Vets in the locations where we have sat have only been a few miles away at the most, and a few miles of a taxi ride isn’t much money at all, in comparison to hiring a car for the duration of your stay.

But if its a concern, maybe you need to focus on ones that either only provide a car, or are in a location where public transport is close by, ie focus on towns and cities, rather than tiny villages, or ask the HO how far the vets is away before accepting a sit.

If an HO’s home was somewhere remote and you didn’t have a car, you’re less likely to be accepted anyway in comparison to someone who loves pets just as much but has their own vehicle. So focus on the less remote ones.