Need to return home early - what would you do

We have to travel back from holiday a day earlier than planned due to train strikes. Rather than book a hotel, we thought about coming home on the sitters’ last night. We can sleep in the spare room so wouldn’t be asking them to move rooms or leave early. But I’m not sure if this is really bad practice. What do you think? What would you do?

As sitters, as long as given advance warning, we would have no problem with this.


As a sitter I would be totally fine with this. This isn’t any sort of major disruption to their plans. And even if it was, things happen and trips need to be cut short sometimes. But in the grand scheme of things, this is a very small issue.


It would be totally fine with us as long as we were told in advance and given the option to leave once you were back. (In case your sitters feel odd sharing your home) You sound like very considerate HOs :raised_hands:t3:


Hi @sleepless
Each sitter will have a different thought process. If you ask, a sitter will feel uncomfortable saying No.
This topic has been raised before - have a look at the eyeglass and type in “Returning home early”
I personally try to apply to sittings where I don’t have to spend the night with the hosts otherwise I end up with a “@sleepless” night" especially if we are sharing the bathroom


It would be against THS rules, so I think that you should ask nicely, and not argue against a no.

But as a sitter, I would not have any problem with that. I have had an HO come back one night during a stay, when he needed to visit his old and frail father.

@sleepless you can certainly ask the sitters if they would be okay with it. We, as sitters, would highly likely vacate when you arrive, as we are not too fond of being around once the home owners arrive back. We would arrange a hotel night at our cost then.


@sleepless For an unforseen situation like this, I would be OK with the HO returning. Give me some notice and I’ll be prepared. Some sitters are not comfortable with being in the home with the HOs present. You can offer to get a hotel for them or yourself. I’ve stayed the night before with the HO but this is out of the comfort zone for some people and to be respected. With that in mind you should be able to work something out.


I wouldn’t mind as long as I knew about it.

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I like advanced notice because I am very particular about having certain things done in the house before the hosts return. With a 6-8 hour notice, I would be fine with it. This would give me time to clean and navigate my work obligations. I would be a little bummed if someone came home without that much notice.

Why at your own expense, when the situation wasn’t because of your changes to curtail travel plans?

  1. the HO changed the agreement, so the HO can ask… but I’m not obligated to agree. (1br apt, no way; see below. 2br/2bath/no children, I’d consider it.)

  2. If they insist on coming home, (instead of staying at a hotel or with friends) then they should offer to cover costs for me to be elsewhere.

My time and money is valuable too!


@sleepless usually returning a day early is curtailing of the trip and against THS rules .

“ Once a sitter has begun their sit, we require that the pet parent(s) have vacated the property for the entirety of the stay,”

Although train strikes may make this fall into the category of unavoidable circumstances???

Some sitters will be ok with it , depending on their personal circumstances and how far in the future this is . For others it will be a deal breaker and they will not feel comfortable to stay on with you being there. If they are not comfortable with this arrangement and have to find alternative accommodation for that night they will incur additional expenses.

In all cases sitters will want as much notice as possible so that they can revise their plans .

I suggest that you contact the sitter at the earliest opportunity ( today ) and explain that due to the train strike you need to come back a day early - say that you are very sorry for any inconvenience and that you are willing to

  1. pay for a hotel room for them that night ( check out the price of the local hotel and specify which one you are willing to pay for ) or 2. they can leave a day early if it suits them better or
  2. that if they are ok with it you will come home a day early but stay in the spare room .
  3. If none of these options suit the sitter you can unconfirmed the sit and re-list .

By Giving the sitter these options the sitter will not feel pressured to say yes to staying there with you and they will also not be out of pocket. if they are not comfortable with the arrangement and have to find alternative accommodation for that night.

Edited to add that if the sitter is also travelling by train then the date change may also benefit them .


@MissChef yes true. But I don’t want to negotiate about it, and I definitely don’t want to spend the last night with the HO’s. Yes, it would be fantastic if HO offered to pay, and hopefully the reasonable ones would do just that. But I would rather extract myself from this situation asap.

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As @Silversitters said, early returns are against the terms/rules. It should not even be a negotiation.

Think about when you leave a sit: you clean certain things last minute so you don’t have to clean them twice. You have planned to use any leftovers as the last day’s lunch. Washing sheets & towels. And maybe one more local restaurant the last full day of the trip.

Best case, HO puts themselves elsewhere for the night. They’re already packed, right?

2nd best is the offer of paying for a hotel, (meaning you must rush to clean up, pack and move & then unpack and repack again)
… or …
offering to share the space (with the sitter’s permission) if it’s just one night AND there’s enough room.

Edit: FWIW the sharing option would be my preferred 2nd choice. A lot depends on the HOs attitude & amount of advance notice, and whether it affects prepaid travel.

Unfortunately the few unreasonable situations must be considered, even though most people are thoughtful and kind.

Expect the best, plan for the worst, and prepare to be surprised.

Denis Waitley


Adding on to our being fine with the HO arriving home a day earlier than planned (with advance notice), we would more than likely also move into the guest room so the HO can return to their own space upon arrival home. We normally wash and change linen anyway, so a day earlier would be no big deal for us.


This has happened to me a couple of times in the last 2 years. We have a lot of strikes in the UK at the moment and air travel is subject to change. In both cases I have just left earlier and come home. I don’t do back to back sits for this very reason. I have a car, so it’s easy for me. I have been offered to stay till the next day if I prefer but people are usually wiped out from a long journey so I think they need their own space. It’s nobody’s fault and I have also been in the situation when I have stayed a bit longer due to flight changes. (Technical fault plane cancelled no other until next day) It’s always been agreed what is best to resolve it and mostly common sense prevails

@MissChef All true and very good points. And worth considering, of course.
But oh the luxury of a lie-in without a dog to walk the next day - it’s like a little holiday :joy:

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:wink: I don’t know if you know this, but you can do that without petsitting :wink:

And certainly without the risk of :money_with_wings:out of pocket :moneybag: expense when someone else’s plans change!

It’s against the THS terms and conditions and I would not be okay with it. If I had the funds, I would get a hotel. I guess if it was the opposite way around, would it be okay if the sitter left a day earlier due to a strike? I don’t think any homeowner would be okay with that but I could be wrong. If you ask the sitters, they will feel pressured to say yes because nobody wants to be the bad guy but it’s against the rules plain and simple


You could start by asking if they would like to leave a day early, but personally I wouldn’t be comfortable asking to stay in the house while they’re still there. I’m surprised so many sitters would be okay with it. As mentioned, a lot of cleaning and stuff happens on the sitter’s last day, and preparing for travel has enough potential for stress. I think the responsible thing to do is get yourselves a hotel room for the night.

We once came home a few days early from a three month trip to deal with a family emergency and we stayed in an Airbnb. The sitter was working remotely from the house so it would have been really disruptive for us to be there or ask him to pack up and leave early. Granted that was three days, but the same rules apply. Just my 2¢.