Sitting Without a Car

I’ve been housesitting full-time for over a year now. I’ve been driving to different housesits across the United States using my own car.

I was wondering how sitters manage without their own car. Most of the housesit listings don’t have the use of the owners’ car included. But often the owners do actually leave a car behind.

Do you wait until you get to the interview to try to negotiate for the use of the car if it happens to be available?

Do you mention in your application that you would need to use their car?

What if there isn’t a car even available? Do you just apply to locations in urban settings where it is walkable or there is public transport or Uber?

Would love to know how different people handle this! Wondering if at some point I can leave my car behind, especially if I do international housesits at some point!

Thank you!

I have used the owner’s car once. For that one I asked about it while we were discussing my application. I have another sit coming in a few weeks where the HO offered it without me asking. So it does not hurt to ask.

We don’t usually apply on sits that are in remote areas or not accessible to transit or walkable to shops, etc. as I enjoy being in a city. We have done three house sits where a car was offered and required. We also recently accepted a sit that was described as being accessible by public transit but when I asked the homeowner if a car was required, she offered the use of her car which is always a bonus.

We are UK-based full-time sitters and only use public transport. you could easily do the same if you decided on a trip here. Car insurance is a minefield here and offering cars to random people for short periods is difficult and expensive to insure. We have done over 40 UK sits and have never been offered a car to use.

Other countries are different, we did 10 sits in Australia & New Zealand last year and 8 of those offered us their cars to use

If you really think you will need a car for specific sits I think it is only fair to mention that in your application so that you are not wasting the home hosts or your time should that criteria be a deal breaker

I only pursue sits in urban areas and I fly in.

Depending on what amenities are nearby and what I want to do, and how parking and traffic are, I usually walk, rent a car or take Lyft, Uber or cabs, or some combo.

On two sits, I’ve been offered use of cars — in the U.K. and U.S.

All 11 sits I’ve done — plus ones I’m on or have scheduled — have grocery and meal deliveries available, for starters. I wouldn’t take a sit otherwise.

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It totally depends on the country and sit location as to whether you need a car. We’ve been offered cars in Switzerland, Holland, Italy and Thailand by owners. (We don’t sit in the UK but are half Brit sitters. You don’t need a car there unless you’re taking really rural sits) As @Colin says, if you see a sit you love and there’s no mention of public transport and no car offered in the listing then you should make it clear you would need one to take the sit. Worth noting that if you do rent cars on international sits then many of them say “no animals allowed” which makes them much less useful as a pet sitter! :+1:t3:

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Hello @JoyceH welcome to the forum!

Good question as we are planning a UK/Scotland sit in the Fall.

My concern about not having a car on a sit where we are responsible for a family pet is an emergency, so when we start applying for sits, I will be talking about this issue with HO’s… :thinking:

My sit dog in Glasgow never got sick, but I took her to various places via ride share apps and black cabs. A few drivers were worried about their cars being dirtied, because it was raining a bunch, so I kept her on my lap or on the floor mats at the drivers’ requests.

Don’t know whether you’d be willing to, as an alternative: If anyone’s pet was sick or injured, I’d have no problem asking a neighbor or even a stranger for a ride in a pinch. Many people would step up if so. I know I would.


We can’t offer our sitters the use of our car due to insurance restrictions. In Ireland there generally isn’t open insurance on car policies. My Insurance company would not even include my sister on the policy as she has a foreign licence. If sitters are coming from abroad we pick them up at the airport. We do live beside a train station and have a good bus service though.

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@HelenS62 hello and welcome to the forum!
There have been interesting comments on the forum about cars and insurance policies. Yours fits right in!

Keep posting!

I’m US based and for US sits where a car is probably needed and not close enough to drive to, I’ll ask in the first contact message. Either the HO agrees or not. About half of the US/Canada HOs have agreed to let me drive their cars. I do limit the use - to the grocery store, take the dog to the dog park, take the HO to the airport. Several sits I’ve driven to the airport on departure, parked the car and texted a photo of the parking spot to the HO for their arrival. For a sit in Calif ‘fire country’ the HO actually wanted me to have car access in case there was a fire and I had to evacuate with the cats.
Before Covid and I turned 70, several UK sits have included the car - the HO added me to their insurance (in the UK auto coverage goes with the driver, not the car as here in the US).