Just a free holiday?!

Hi all - wondering if anyone is having the same experience as us where by we are noticing more and more sitters applying who are travelling or essentially using the sits as free accommodation? I have always seen this on THS and don’t disagree with it but have noticed more recently young couples with little to no animal care experience ‘doing a year in Europe’ or even on their honeymoon. We have met some great people of all walks of life through THS so I don’t know if I’m being harsh but it makes me question the true intention of the sit and whether the animals are truly the priority….


It seems that the new advertising to get more Sitters and HO to sign up with THS has leaned into this narrative as a selling point, I understand THS are growing their business in new Countries, trying to build up the numbers in existing Countries, however I am not sure the message that’s being sent out to prospective sitters and HO’s.
We only ever apply for sits making sure we can meet the needs of the Pets, maybe that’s just us, if I was visiting a new touristy city that I had not been to before, I would only apply for a Cat that had a cat flap and was independent and It’s owners went out during the day to Work, so the Cat didn’t have company during the day anyway. We always have a rest day in between going out for the day, usually a couple of days so in our case we are usually at home more than the HO normally would be. I always check if the listing doesn’t state it. If the Cat needs to be let in and out and get’s fed 3 times a day then we would not apply for it. Dogs, unless the Dog travels well in the Car and ie we are in the UK where you can take most Dogs with you, we would not apply.
We always try to keep the routine of the HO that they have with their Pets, because they are already anxious and stressed that their family are going away, as soon as they see those suitcases out, they area aware, they don’t know they coming back, they know they did eventually come back, however they can’t be sure, so they get anxious about it, we don’t want them unsettled, so we always apply for sits where we can keep their routines even down to the times they get walked, the favourite routes etc.
The Animals should always be the priority, it was what THS was set up for in the first place otherwise you could board your Pets or Pay for a Private sitter.
Happy Travels and Sitting.



the entire idea of trusted housesitters is free pet care in exchange for free accommodation

You’re not paying the sitters because they want to travel and experience a new place. They didn’t spend thousands of dollars on airfare and travel to simply look after your dog for nothing.

Why are you so against the sitters actually getting anything out of the arrangement?
Everyone has to start somewhere whether they’re young or old.


They may even get kids without kid experience!


The OP is definitely being harsh and instead needs to make sure they are offering something of equal value to their sitters.

Please be kind to all moving forward.


@lacey.mason There currently seems to be many, many posts about this exact sentiment. So yes, it is definitely being noticed more. I have to say, we are experienced housesitters and we are finding it harder and harder to be selected for sits within our criteria. I think we just don’t get our application in on time, and there are more and more sitters now, many fresh ones who might be fast at applying. Many homeowners don’t even get to our application…they might just go with the ones who applied fastest. We still get sits, but we have to work much harder now.


I’ll admit our family travels full time and are looking for free accommodations in exchange for spoiling the pets rotten with affection, care, and love. If this wasn’t the exchange, why in the world would I spend time energy and money getting to the petsit? I would just use my motorhome or rent an Airbnb instead of taking full responsibility for the week or two that we’re there. I find it odd when I see pet parents’ posts that applicants are just looking for free accommodations. Isn’t that the THS business model? The trick is finding responsibile sitters who will put the pets’ care #1 on the priority list while they are there checking out the area


@lacey.mason Hi there. Are you a HO or a sitter? Or both? I’m not sure what point you are trying to make.

I’m unsure why you would object to a sitter taking a sit to travel and have accomodations provided while caring for pets. That’s what they get from the arrangement. Slow travel with sweet pets for company.

In return the sitter provides pet care that would cost 100 dollars a day in my area. And those paid sitters also stay in the home for free.

A holiday would be when we rent an Airbnb and don’t have any responsibilities while we’re away.


@lacey.mason Aren’t homeowners looking for free pet and home care?

That’s the exchange. HOs want pet and home care and sitters want accommodations in a location they would like to visit. A sitter can provide quality pet care and still have time to explore the local area.


@lacey.mason I want to use THS to travel and instead of paying for an airbnb…I’d rather be part of this shared community.

But because of the THS’ advertising, I will be more discerning in selecting someone to care for my cat and home.

The blind review for HO and THsitters is a big reason why we renewed in January.

I read your post as people you are talking with are not presenting the balance of travel and pet care and appreciating the THS spirit and commitment we make to each other in the exchange.

I am both in the network.


For some the pets are the total focus as they’d love a pet but can’t have their own for example, for some they’re the trade off in order for the free accommodation whilst they remote work or visit a new place or travel to see friends or family. None of these are wrong @lacey.mason, simply different motivators. If we’re travelling somewhere like Switzerland then the accommodation is :100: the driver as it’s so expensive. If we’re in Thailand it’s likely to be the location that swings us. If we’re in our homeland of Turkey then it’s probably a recommendation of nice people with nice pets. Other places it might be great workspace and quiet as there’s a big project to deliver. Just depends on the sit and the situation. We don’t think a great house & pet sitter has to be animal crazy to be good. #takesallsorts


“Just a free holiday”
That made me laugh out loud. The responsibility alone can make it a very stressful experience. Do I want to be stressed during my free holiday?
We are (almost) full time travellers. Retired early and enjoying visiting countries and experiencing life like a local. When we take on a pet sit it’s not done lightly. Every aspect is researched and discussed. Yes, it’s location is where we want to be at that time but that doesn’t mean we treat it as a holiday. I miss animals when I’m travelling so we balance time pet sitting with doing touristy things. Both of us love to hike/walk so we look for dogs who are active and enjoy a good 5 or 6 mile walk each day. This way we get to see some of the countryside and the dog is happy.
It’s not just the animals we look after, there’s the house, the gardens, the contents of the house and everything else from emptying the post box, taking in parcels and answering telephones. Yes, we got a telling off for not answering the phone on one sit!
Maybe it looks like we sit around for most of the day reading but we are up at six, feeding your dogs, out in all weathers walking them, making sure they are settling in and not too lonely.
Free holiday……my ****.


This is most definitely us, what other reason could there possibly be that we are offering to give up our time, and travel to you at our own expense to come to care for your home and pets for free?


Same here! Well said @Colin


I certainly don’t fly from Australia to Europe or anywhere overseas only to care for pets! Of course at a sit, the pets are my priority and I rarely go out during the sit. But I’m there because it is either a starting, finishing or inbetween step in my further travels. I am going to Japan to sit for a week soon so I begin by having a weeks accommodation in Tokyo caring for the pet then I can see more once it finishes. I save a heap by having a week in Tokyo, one of the most expensive cities in the world, so it’s a win win for both parties. I certainly wouldn’t have gone “just” to petsit, that’s absurd to even think someone would do. Of course there will always be the small minority who will take advantage of the point of sitting but that happens in any situation anywhere in life. There’s always good and bad but the majority on THS are dedicated sitters and travellers.


It’s not free really. You have to pay to travel to the home, and are then bound there and have care responsibilities. A real holiday has no care, cleaning , nor other responsibilities. You can’t come and go as you please on a pet sit nor stay away for a few nights.

The entire purpose is the exchange of pet care for accommodation. Sitters mostly want to get out and explore the area your house is in, I would think very few sitters are just doing it to spend time with animals and nothing else.

There’s local volunteering at their local pet rescue or animal sanctuary, and apps like Borrow My Doggy they can use at their own home if they want to be caring for animals. Or they can care for pets in their own home using GuDog or other apps.

But they have signed up to THS so they can go abroad and explore other cities/places.

Why would a person travel to your house to just not do any social or tourist activities outside the house?
They all have their own accommodation elsewhere.


We tried to get a HS for late spring and put an ad up in Nov. Only people that had less experience than needed did apply. We had to change our holiday to later so we found one (the best one :smile: ) we used before. Most I ask about house sitting didn’t have time or other things.

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Of course house sitter want to vacation and as an exchange for watching the pets they can stay for free at the house. Renting a house for some time can be very expensive. I make sure that I have enough information for the HS about my area that they can have a lovely time away from the house too - they just need to arrange that with the pets they are sitting.

I’ve noticed that. I’ve had people reply who are travelling and doubt if they pets are top of their priority

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Hello there, Firstly, I completely agree with your comment, secondly, what do you mean by blind review please?