How to find a local sitter for short stays?

What I would like to know is how to list or find some sitters closer to our area who could come at a short notice for perhaps 3-4 days, for short getaways or long weekends.

I wouldn’t want people applying from long travel distances just for a few days, what’s the best way to locate local sitters who might like to come and care for our pets and home for short, last minute sits?

Any advice would be really appreciated, thank you.

Edited to help make member’s request clearer

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Hi @Hopka Welcome to our community forum I have sent you a Direct Message so that we can help you with your question.

Just a thought that a sitter’s location on the website might not be accurate. My home was in Virginia but I was never there because I was sitting. I tried to change it to no location but THS won’t let me do that. So someone in Virginia might think I’m local when I’m not and someone in Madrid might not realize that I AM local at that point in time.

It’s not just local sitters looking for short sits. My family travels full-time and often I purposely look for short sits to fill in between the long sits. A month ago I did 10 days in CO, then drove to Boise for a week, then to Seattle for a short 3 night while I was on my way to Port Angeles. Today we ended a short 3 night again in OR. Just create a great listing and I’m sure all people who are interested will apply. Good luck

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Hi, I’m in a similar situation and wondering the best way to go about this also. I’m giving a local person a try for an upcoming short trip, but would love to have other options if they’re not a good fit. If you could share your advice, I’d really appreciate it!

Short-notice sounds tricky and stressful if your plan is contingent on getting a house sitter. What about doing some planned “spontaneous” trips instead? I did this earlier this year in Feb/March, and it went so well I’m planning on doing it again for late summer/autumn!

I posted a bunch of 3-day weekend dates on my listing (I believe I did every other weekend, and I did NOT intend to go on trips for all the dates posted.) It was kind of like fishing for my actual vacation dates. If I got a promising applicant for one set of dates, I deleted the preceding and following weekend dates so I didn’t overcommit to trips if more sitters applied. I booked three long-weekend trips over the span of two months which was enough for me, and closed out the rest of the dates. After that, I got to planning my weekends away and coordinating arrival/departure times with the sitters! In doing so I naturally attracted some locals who just wanted a weekend away, and they expressed interest in doing similar mini-sits like it again in the future. Unfortunately I moved across the country right after making those connections, but I definitely would have reached out to rebook them if I had stayed.

Disclaimer: my area is not at all popular so I am definitely able to get away with posting more dates than I will need. This required a lot of upfront attention in updating my listed dates so I wasn’t wasting anyone’s time by letting them apply to dates I thought were unlikely. Ymmv if yours is a more desirable sit!

At the time I also added this snippet to the top of my Introduction on my listing, because I’m sure it looked crazy with all the weekends posted:

** What’s up with our listed dates? **
There’s so much to see in New England, but going on spontaneous weekend trips is really difficult when you have to account for petcare! We’ve listed a bunch of 3-day weekend sits in an effort to plan our “spontaneous” trips ahead of time, and since they are unplanned until we have a sitter booked, there’s lots of flexibility! Please feel free reach out even if they don’t exactly match your schedule and maybe we can work something out.


I’m curious about this as well. I considered adding something like “looking for local sitters with flexibility” to my listing headline, but I don’t know how effective that would be…

Re Local regular sitters, I can take time to build up, however firstly I would look at anyone has saved your profile, then possibly do a “local” search of your area and message them if you like the look of their profile? (I can say the same thing in each message, however I know lots of sitters, ignore or delete messages that are mass messages with vague details and don’t have their name eg Hi Amanda, in them)
We have quite a few local sits these days, it’s take a couple of years, and we have been messaged by many people locally who are looking for short notice, weekends away, overnights, emergency and holiday sits, we are about to start a new one next week, hopefully leading to a longer term arrangement of regular sitting.
Some sitters might feel a short sit a night or two is not worth it, eg travelling, washing the bed linen, towels etc, so maybe you could put in the listing about that.
Personally unless our HO are due home silly o clock in the Morning we do all the bedding, on our sits, because there’s 3 lots to do being 4 of us, I could think of nothing worse than coming home and having all your own Washing, then 3 Bed’s of Linen to wash (we usually take our own Towels, creature comforts) so if you are happy to wash the Bed Linen/Towels list that, it might help with people applying.
Have a great day,


Lots of interesting ideas and replies. Much appreciated.

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I would think long and hard about posting fictitious dates (“fishing”) as many Sitters are not browsing—they are looking for specific dates to fill on their calendar. So, they might come across your ad, spend 10 minutes reading, spend 15 minutes writing an application, and then wait for your response. Hmmm. I am just asking you to think about that. I think that you should only post dates that you actually plan to be away. If those dates are flexible, you can say so in your ad.

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I second the advice to make it easy for the Sitter. If someone has a shedding dog, it does not take long (2-3 days) for a home to look “messy” just given the dog hair. And if we are sleeping there, using the bathroom and kitchen, we would need to clean the kitchen, bathroom, change linens and wash towels too, and clean up the dog hair. That is a lot of work for 2-3 nights in a nearby location. Think of it from the Sitter’s perspective. It would be nice to tell potential Sitters that “we do not expect you to do any cleaning or laundry for this short Sit. Please just come and keep our pet company.”


@adelia does this mean that potentially I could come across your listing, think it’s a perfect sit to fit into my calendar, spend time looking over and reading everything, contemplate the perfect personal message and application to send you, and then realize a week or two later that your sit date wasn’t real? Not cool. Not cool at all

@IHeartAnimals Nope! I mentioned this in my original message but I am very quick to remove dates when I get a promising applicant because I am very cognizant of not wasting people’s time. So if I have 1, 2, and 3 weekends in a row posted and get a good applicant for #2, before confirming or even responding I remove weekends #1 and #3. That way, no one applies to those weekends while I am talking to the sitter for weekend #2. I also mention in my message that this approach may not work for people who are in very popular areas. My sits are not and so they are primarily suited to local city folk who want a weekend away.

I suppose in the worst case scenario, a sitter could be crafting a application message for weekend #1 as another sends theirs for weekend #2, then get cut off because I removed the #1 dates upon receiving the first applicant. I wouldn’t know if this was happening, but my dates usually get applicants over the course of days/weeks, so I imagine the chances of two applying at the same time are extremely low.

I do state the date flexibility at the top of my listing when I do this and invite sitters to reach out if their dates are different. I also do commit to trips as I get applicants and am quick to remove dates that are no longer feasible for me, and I have never removed dates that had existing applicants. I talk more about this in my response to @IHeartAnimals. No one has ever proposed different dates, and since I am not in a popular area I don’t believe there are sitters looking for sits here specifically; rather, I believe the ones who apply are locals who really are just browsing.

I can’t stress enough that I would not recommended this for a popular area. Where I am, I get one applicant every couple days so this feels very low-impact to prospective applicants. No one is planning big travel around my hometown!

@Hopka it would be useful if THS had a feature that allowed sitters who want local sits to connect with homeowners who are looking for a local sitter - some sort of checkbox that allowed you to search or filter for a local sitter .