Sitters - do you sit locally? Why?

Hello - I’m investigating this service and was very curious about something. When I search for sitters I get a list of sitters mostly FROM my city. Why would sitters want to housesit in the city they live in? It seems like the whole point of this service is for sitters to be able to travel to new and interesting places. “The Freedom to Travel” is in huge, bold letters on the home page.

What’s the incentive for a sitter to sit in their own city without getting paid? Checking out a new neighborhood? Staying in a nice place?

Or do sitters not really sit locally that much? And if so, why does the sitter search seem to return local sitters, not sitters who’re interested in my city?

Any insight from sitters on this question would be appreciated. Thanks!

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Hello, here are our reasons for starting off locally, I’m sure others have their own.
We started locally as we were familiar with the area, knew where the vets were, the local parks and as new sitters, it gave us the opportunity to meet the pets and owners prior. This worked in our favour as one of the pets was quite ‘alpha’ and wanted to dominate the sitters, the owners wanted to see we were more than capable of letting him know that was not the case! We visited him twice and the sit went like a dream. Another sit we had resulted in a great friendship and we sometimes help out if they are stuck in London (train strikes!) or fancy as day out. Both my husband and I had rescheduled hospital appointments that we wanted to remain local for. Also we often fancy a weekend away from home but not too far away in a part of the county that we wouldn’t necessarily explore. More often than not we see a particular pet and think, yep, that’s for us!
Don’t be concerned about contacting a local sitter, I’m sure there are plenty that might just think you’re perfect for them.
Hope this helped explain a little as to why sitters are happy to remain local.
All the best.

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Hi @kgsf. Welcome to the community forum. You ask a great question. Many people prefer local sits so they can build up their reviews as they’re getting started as pet sitters. Also so they can become comfortable with pet sitting, what to expect, and what’s important to them in a prospective sit.

Another reason I took many local sits for a few years was that my husband traveled. A lot. I loved filling my non-work, non-hubby hours with playing with and walking pets, and exploring neighborhoods I hadn’t explored before.

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I live outside of Houston TX. I sit locally near downtown sometimes because I enjoy being in the city for theater, museums, etc…I would sit with a pool in the summer!
And I absolutely love the pets too.

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Hello! I have sat locally because I was new to the area and happy to explore other areas of my new home city, plus I’d recently lost my own cats and wanted to be around a furry companion again. I’ve recently agreed to a repeat local sit because I love the homeowners and cat, and look forward to a stay in a lovely rural home as a change from my city centre flat. When I was on the homeowner side I had some local petsitters from a similar site who had roommates and liked having a place to themselves.

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@kgsf Here are some answers to your questions. It’s always good to use the search option before posing a question, as it’s often been answered before. :slightly_smiling_face:

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I sit locally. Not in my home town (so far, though I wouldn’t be opposed to it), but within around an hour or two of where I’m from and where my family is.

I lived away from home for the best part of a decade. In the time I was away, my father became very ill and died. Being so far away during this time was very difficult. His death was followed shortly afterwards by a relationship breakup, and I felt a strong pull to return home. Having been away for so long, I have no desire to venture far from home, but house sitting allows me to travel nearby and I have seen some beautiful areas as a result: places I never visited when I was growing up here.

Some people wonder why a sitter would sit locally when there is a whole world out there to discover, but everyone’s story is different. I’ve been house sitting for several years now, and my intention is still to remain close to home :heart:

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Hi! I am new, but I signed up (i.e., paid money) to serve. You can check out my profile, but the short version is I just felt called to. I like staying home and I don’t actually like traveling. But if I did like traveling, I know I’d want someone from like TH.

Also, it’s not lost on me that I will likely gain friends, connections, fond memories, experience, new perspectives, etc., even by sitting locally. And it may build my “rep” for those times I feel called to travel. But that’s just icing.

So I think it’s about one’s personality. I was going to say I’m probably an outlier, but I think I’m just an outlier in that I paid to be on TH with no other agenda. Anyone else with the love language of “Acts of Service” would probably be inclined to do the same.

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:grinning:This is a very interesting question and I have had friends ask me the same.

I live in a part of Australia that suffered multiple lockdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic and like many, I was frustrated and annoyed with it all; despite trying to accept that health and safety was addressed by the government. In the back of my head, was scared there would be more lockdowns to come, and it felt like there was some sort of magnet preventing us leaving the place.

When the Christmas season arrived last year and after visiting my husband’s family in another part of Australia (we got out!) we stayed at a hotel that was quite boring but they had a cat lurking around which the children managed to pat. The restaurant was quite good and very friendly staff on board but again, I wasn’t content. I was also dissatisfied with the price for an overnight hotel room and reflected on just how much I had spent over the years for accommodation especially in England, NZ and even throughout Oz.
I researched online ways to cut down the cost of accommodation and wanted to know ways to make it work for someone returning back to work later in the year after extended leave and we were just getting by financially on hubby’s one income in the meantime. House and pet sitting came up. I was intrigued and explored further.

I remembered that I had looked after a lady’s house and dog previously before having kids and always looked after my parent’s house when they went away on holidays so I thought I would it might work!

Unfortunately, prioritizing our children’s schooling and both my current permanent job and husband’s, we can’t venture too far at the moment; but we prefer local sits and short ones to make us feel like we are on a holiday. Australia is a massive country so driving is our only option timewise especially with the incredible cost of airfares at the moment and we don’t want to spend all day driving. It’s not like in Europe where in two hours, you are in another part of the world. Here, I am lucky to get out of a capital city in two hours.

Our first house sit was interstate, but it cost a lot in travel because at the time, petrol was far more expensive than it is today, and we went with friends (who stayed elsewhere) and we had heaps of fun activities but now prefer local sits.

The reason why we do local sits is… the kids get a break away from home (after lockdowns understandably so!) but WE LOVE ANIMALS. We also have formed some friendships with the people we have sat for. We are zoo and farm members and the joy with the kids is priceless meeting new animals on each housesit.

There was a post somewhere on here about people doing it for the free accommodation. Goodness no. I travel with children and I go to great lengths with the care of pets and upkeep and tidiness of someone else’s house. I want positive feedback! I think it is a fair and square transaction.

I think localized housesits are good for someone starting off and getting feedback.

To answer your question, we only get Friday to Sunday (sometimes Monday) so our sits at the moment are ideally local, plus we have our own pet so we need to ensure we aren’t away too long from home.
When we eventually go overseas, we will use this service for a housesitter.

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When I was first starting out, there was a lot of competition on here with so many members. In order to build up more experience and reviews, I started off by applying for sits in my local area. Even though I live in a popular city on the site often attracting lots of applicants, owners loved it when I suggested popping over briefly to meet them and their pet before the sit started so this gave me a real advantage. Owners were then far more relaxed and comfortable with the whole arrangement thereafter from having the opportunity to meet me in person beforehand. I have also been much further afield though on this site and have looked after some wonderful animals in Berlin, Vienna, Copenhagen and Geneva.

When we were in that limbo stage of being in and out of lockdown with travel restrictions galore, I then reverted back to applying for a local sit as cabin fever was really getting the better of me and I was desperate for a change of scene. That turned out to be a great decision as the I loved the animal, the owners, the house and the garden and it’s become a regular little home from home for me. There are a myriad of reasons why a sitter may opt for going local so please don’t be concerned by this.

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Because it’s fun to meet new people, spend time with animals when you don’t own any, take a break away from home.

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This topic has come up before as a number of homeowners wondered why sitters would want to sit locally. As sitters, we started doing house sits in the heart of the city which was an hour from where we lived. I grew up in the city and we lived in a more rural area for 25 years. We did a lot of local house sits to get a feel for how we’d enjoy being sitters, to build up our references and to enjoy time in the city. After five years of sitting with THS, we sold our family home, downsized and moved to a condo in the city. Best move ever so joining THS helped us in making a huge decision which was right for us.

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Replying to @kgsf, the OP

You have had some fabulous & thoughtful replies so I won’t add mine as it’s pretty much a mix of all the above.
However, I wish that the essence of the replies could be condensed into a headline for THS to prove its not about the accusations levelled at “travelling freeloaders” and “free holidays”. I’m 100% sure that everyone who replied here is a truly excellent sitter who really cares for the pets involved; they’re like a group of ambassadors representing most of the sitter community on THS.

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I sit locally (as well as farther afield) because I enjoy meeting new pets and people. When we started, we had two dogs of our own and I wanted to be around cats as well (I was trying to convince my husband to get one, or two…).
But also, in our city there is a difference in the ‘feel’ of the area, even if it was just a 30 minute drive away. Our own neighborhood was suburban, but the downtown area had a completely different atmosphere. It was just fun to experience how different one major city could actually be.

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HS often sit locally to gain reviews and experience or because they can’t have animals of their own. But not everyone will be interested in a local sit. We like to use THS for places that we haven’t explored yet, but might still consider local sits if you have an unusual animal (snake, St. Bernard, Savannah etc.).

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We’ve sat locally across the past decade for a number of different reasons.

a) Initially to try this out, to see if we were comfortable living in other people’s spaces with their routines. We didn’t want to book overseas travel only to discover it wasn’t for us. Of course, we were hooked pretty quickly, but our first few sits were for friends (we were living in Bocas del Toro, Panama at the time so easy to find people who wanted to have time away).

b) When you live in a place, working 24/7 you often experience it through different eyes to someone new to the area. We spent a year back in the UK, taking short sits all over the country, in places we’d never visited, but also in some in our old “backyards” discovering things we’d never experienced while living there. We explored our home country, still living like locals, but often through the eyes of our charges as they led us on a voyage of rediscovery!

c) Now we are looking after a long term pet free house sit in France. Taking care of a second home for members who live in the UK and are travelling before selling up in 2024. We take care of a big garden and pool through the summer months, which require ongoing maintenance. But our lovely homeowners know we love to have our pet fixes too, and so they don’t mind that we go off on short term sits now and again. Of course these have to be local, so we are close-by the property if needed for an emergency (like cows in the garden :joy:) - So next week we are looking after a cat just 10 minutes away, and the week after we have 3 days in a small village we haven’t yet had time to visit just 20 minutes away with a gorgeous pup!

Over the years we’ve spoken with so many sitters who’ve benefitted from local sits for all sorts of reasons, most of which you’ll find on this thread. There’s so much diversity in our community with people inspired, motivated and drawn to house and pet sit for so many different reasons - and in our experience that evolves. We’ve done 6 years of international sits and now we are more settled again… but I know that could change at any time because the options are there to explore and spend time with pets in ways we may not have imagined yet but which could be presented at any time :slight_smile:

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I have 4 “local” recurring sits. One actually 5 minutes from my house, one the other side of town (which actually gives me an amazing late 19th C house & 15minute walk to the beach) and two in other cities both with great museums which gives me the whole sit to go see all the latest exhibitions (but still same country) during the pandemic these were actually great things to have as it gave me a chance to work from somewhere else. After the 1st year my walls got pretty irritating :rofl::rofl:
As others have said it also gives you the opportunity to explore your own country which many of us often overlook.

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Our very first sit on this site was about 15 minutes walk away. We had actually signed up but were still talking about it when this couple approached us and being only overnight and so close we said yes. We have actually pet sat for them more times and also see them socially now too.

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A few reasons from me:

  • meeting new people locally must be the number one for me, we often remain friends with local homeowners. You also get to know your nearby area much better, find out details or discover places you never knew existed under your nose.

  • unusual pets or favourite breed: I recently sat an Amazonian parrot 20 mins away from my home, it was a great opportunity to look after a lovely animal individual (cant call him a pet really, he is too clever for that). Also, offer me to look after a pair of daschunds locally, and I’ll be there in a flash (I used to have daschunds and I absolutely in love with the breed).

  • my current work project covers the area about an hour - hour-and-a-half drive from where I live. Finding suitable sits in that (relatively local) area gives me an opportunity to deep dive into the local community, understand it better (there are many differences between urban Birmingham and rural Shropshire), and simply spend more time in the area .

  • it’s good to change scenery once in a while. Having spent 2 last years working from home is nice to be able to have 4 different walls to look at and to change the routine a bit. I still have the benefit of being able to pop by my own home to change clothes or mow the loan.

  • one of the things I love best about house-sitting, whether it’s far away or locally, you get to see many different houses, lifestyles, decors, engineering or storage solutions etc. - I really like that side, it’s always gives me motivation to try different things in my home, whether I picked up the idea hundred miles away or just down the road.

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Thank you @Vanessa-ForumCMgr and @Anywhere.Local you have saved me a few minutes of keyboard time … as your reasons are also mine.

My first ever sit was a 10 minute drive from my home on Vancouver Island. I had lost by beloved dog Holly just 2 months before and I was asked by a sitter I had used just once for Holly if I would help, she knew I loved animals and that I was grieving, in fact heartbroken would not have been an exaggeration.

At first I did not know if I could but the pet parent/owner’s story was too compelling.

A very recent young widow who’d built a successful business together with her husband, needed to go to a conference in Toronto. Mom to a 2 year old Cocker Spaniel Charli, she didn’t see how she could go and leave him for two weeks. Boarding was out of the question, I went to see her, Charli was adorable, a Spaniel (Holly was a Springer) I said yes.

That sit was both healing and cathartic and so began my pet and housesitting journey, 15 years ago.

I thank Charli, his Mum, my sitter but most of all Holly every day … that clever girl (Holly) led me to this lifestyle that has given me both joy and purpose.

Sit locally? Absolutely, pet love is the same 5 or 500 miles away, plus what a tonic it is to get a room with a new view and meet the most surprising people who may just become a new best friend, along with the two and four legged creatures, great and small.

Also working from home it helps give me a good work life balance. At home my commute is down a flight of stairs to my desk and devices, WFH at a sit, with a new canine best friend, I have to walk first thing, feed, toilet (the pet :wink: :dog: :heart_eyes_cat:) and more times during the day … I have to get out of my chair and away from devices … my mind and body become more relaxed, I get fresh air, exercise and recharge the grey matter.

Pawfect …

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