Normal to travel over to get keys before the sit?

Is it normal to travel and fetch the keys before the sit? I’m not sure why but travelling twice to the destination essentially doubling my travel costs feels a bit off. I don’t know if its because I’m especially tired today but I feel a bit agitated by it.

How far is the sit? I am guessing it is pretty far if you are concerned about travel costs.

I would suggest that the HO leave the keys somewhere safe, or get a lockbox with keypad where they can leave keys for you. I’ve had a few HOs do that for me. When I have a sitter arriving after I have left, I give them the garage code so they can enter through the attached garage and I leave the keys on the dining table.


Its about an hour. I just don’t want this to reflect badly on me to agree to pop round and get the keys, then later suggest the lock box or collecting on the day.

No, that’s definitely a bit too far to go (1 hour one way?) to pick up keys, we wouldn’t do that. There are so many ways to get keys another way. Like leave it with a neighbour or with the local shop (if it’s a small town), or in an agreed upon hideaway on the grounds, or in an envelope in the mailbox if unlocked, or meeting at the airport! Or can you meet halfway somewhere? We had so many key exchanges over the last 3 years, the possibilities are endless.

I agree with @botvot that the possibility of key exchange is endless. We have never visited a property to obtain the keys.
On a few occasions the HO has suggested that the keys are posted to me well in advance with no address mentioned of course.
Care though, make sure that, if they have an alarm, then you know how to access it!

If you have already agreed to get the keys in advance, then you should stick to that agreement. In future, you have good suggestions for other options.


I’m usually travelling from another country to do a sit but if I were doing one near home, no I would not travel to get the keys. I would be happy if the owner wanted to drop them to me as long as the time suited.
I think that’s a big ask.

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Thank you for everyone’s input. I wonder if theres anything official in the guidelines regarding obtaining keys?

We once had to drive to a homeowner’s house TWICE before the sit for a detailed tutorial on how to feed the dog!

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Yes, we have gone and got keys. It was a good time to meet the pet owners as well because they were leaving before we arrived and returning after we left.
If it is such an inconvenience I’m sure they could “hide” them somewhere or you could pick them up at a neighbours or friends or relation. There is always some sort of solution out there.

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Hi @catsitter. We typically drive a long way between sits. The approach that’s worked for us and the pet parents we’ve had the pleasure of helping is to arrive late afternoon the day before the owner(s) will be leaving. We get the keys and the lay of the land, ask any additional questions we have, get to know the owners, share a meal with them, and the pets get a chance to see that their owners are comfortable with us.

For second or third sits closer to where we’re currently staying we usually ask that the keys be left with a neighbor.

I asked about staying the night before and it wasn’t really welcomed

Hi @catsitter each sit is different and each arrangement the responsibility of the owner and sitters involved including obtaining keys and gaining access to homes what we do always advise is clear and agreed communication on what those arrangements are.

I am sitting locally and I pick up keys in advance if the owner wants to, but I wouldn’t agree to do that if the distance was more than 30 minutes out of my way. There’s always some option for keys with a neighbor, keys under a pot, mat, etc., etc. Most people have a garage door code or a keypad anyway, it seems.

The people I have house sat for always left their keys/pass somewhere for me. I had one house sit where I met the home owner before they left.
I had a house sit that was interstate (I am in Australia) and the owners left their key in a secured box next to their house.

If it is more than 10 miles away but less than 30 miles I would say it is reasonable to ask HO to meet half way. Otherwise they should make other arrangements IMHO