Strategic advice for longish-term sits in UK/Europe

I am an experienced sitter with wonderful reviews here on THS and many regular pet parents who I stay in touch with. However, the 5-application limit has increased the competition for the kinds of sits that I seek:

__UK or anywhere in Europe
__3 weeks or longer
__accessible by public transit or includes the loan of a car
__cats preferred or easy-ish dogs (seniors, smaller, max of 1 large dog)
__reliable internet for working at home

I have been invited to return to a favorite cat sit in Hampshire, England in March/April 2024 and again in October/November 2024 (3 weeks each time). That means I am looking to fill time in April/May and November. (I am not a full time Nomad. I go home to California for several months in between my petsitting “tours”.)

Sorry for all that detail. I am looking for advice because on my current trip (June-November 2023 in Berlin and then England) I ended up with far too many one-week sits. I really want to stay longer in one place where I can settle into a remote work and petcare routine for awhile.

Given the details above, how long should I “hold out” searching for the longer term opportunities? That is, when should I get worried and start applying for the 1 week sits? I don’t mind paying for an Airbnb or budget hotel here and there, but it is nerve-wracking to wait for the roulette wheel of the 5 sit rule.

Also, right now I am in BST, but when in the US, I will get get up at 1am to check for new listings. Are there any tricks I don’t know about? Is it true that certain membership levels get alerts sooner? What alerts do you get (liked sits vs. saved searches) and where (phone app vs. desktop)?

Any words of strategic advice or tech “know how” are most welcome. Thank you pet-loving community.

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As someone who booked 5 London sits from Australia, I’m not sure you have to wake up in the middle of the night to get sits. We had luck securing new sits as they have to go through a review first and are often posted off-peak.

You can also do a search in the app for the places you want to sit and favourite any profiles that look good, even if they don’t have current dates. As long as you enable pop up notifications you will get notified if they post new dates. Likewise, create saved searches for the areas you want to sit through the app. It’s not an instant notification, but it’s better than the daily email digest you get if you only use the website.

Also, whenever a promising sit does pop up, I hit ‘Apply’ immediately. Then, before writing a message I go to “view profile”. This holds your place as an applicant while you read the listing and decide if you want to apply. Not doing this means you run the risk of 5 people applying while you read the listing.

We have seen longer term sits posted anywhere from 6 days to 6+months in advance. The sit we’re on now is one month and we booked it in May, but we typically don’t book so far in advance and have had decent luck.

I will say, in general, there just aren’t that many 3+ week sits. Quite a lot more two weekends, and plenty of 1 weekers. I think the nature of traveling like this is a constant disruption of routine, and as much as we try to mitigate it, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to piece together 6 months of travel with mostly 3 week or longer sits that do not overlap and have your other requirements.

I’m assuming you have a visa that allows you to spend more than 90 days in the Schengen? At least that will free you up to take any sit that looks good, rather than counting Schengen days.

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@Shella_in_the_Forum There are so many sits in U.K. and you have great reviews, so that puts you in a good position.

My own research has shown that the majority of sits are listed < 2 months before .

For example when I looked earlier this week, this was the number of U.K. hosts looking for sitters :

Sep 1258

Oct 1454

Nov 806

Dec 780

Jan 150

Feb 157

Mar 82

So my suggestion is to hold your nerve and wait until closer to your time of travel for the long sits to come up. As there will always be plenty of shorter sits.

U.K. Locations: Central London sits get 5 applications very quickly ….but sits in outer London and other cities like Cambridge ,York, Bath, Oxford, Portsmouth, Hastings , Edinburgh, Cardiff are frequently listed for several days/ weeks . These are all great cities to stay in and easy to travel to on public transport. Most of these places have listings now for this year , favourite them so that if the hosts go away at a similar time next year you will be notified .

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I don’t know, I am not doing anything special. I had a four-week sit in Groningen in August. It is not the most well-known Dutch city abroad, but it is really nice. The dog was a darling, the home central yet quiet. It was very walkable. First-time HOs.

Tomorrow starts a month in Provence, in a village a bit east of Avignon. The owners said of course that it needs a car, but I think I will manage on my bicycle. The village is large enough, not remote, the weekly Sunday market attracts crowds from far away.

I am just a basic member with fewer than ten reviews. I rely on the daily emails with new dates in the areas of my saved searches.

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We’re a Brit Turk pair of experienced sitters who oddly don’t sit in the UK but do hail from beautiful Hampshire :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: I did a random check for British sits of 1 month plus earlier today (long story but unrelated reason) and was amazed how many good sits there were on offer and that’s from someone who’s lived in 29 UK homes. Honestly @Shella_in_the_Forum i think you’ll have plenty to choose from. Enjoy! :raised_hands:t3:

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I’m a full-time sitter and your description could fit me, except for the internet part. I’m currently East Coast US and I also check listings in the early hours. I’ve found that when I see them, most EU sits posted are 4 applicants or under review especially the longer sits. I can often get an application in if they are still open.

You’ve gotten good advice and they all sound UK-centric. I think there are plenty of UK sits and we’ve done one in the suburbs, Surbiton, which was charming and had a train to London. My plan for a EU sit in the Spring is to take a sit or two in the London area and look for EU sits when I’m in their time zone.

Good luck and good travels.

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Hiya,

We have a similar situation: return sits that we really like to do, and the logistics of filling the gap with longer sits. I try to build out from the beginning or back end of gaps, but even so, still have more and shorter sits than I’d like. I think holding out for longer for the right dates is probably a good strategy if you have lots of good reviews and thus a good chance of ggetting the sits you apply for. It can take a bit of nerve, but I find @Silversitters research reassuring!

My partner and I overlap slightly sometimes so we can work the logistics (may as well, as HOs’ dates often move and it ends up working out as often as not!) Also for small gaps we stay with friends/family or - last resort, if the geography doesn’t work - overnight at an inn etc. If we do have to do that, we usually splash out on somewhere nice, and treat it as a little holiday from responsibilities!

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Is this true? Can anyone confirm that sits are held for review? If so does anyone know the peak work hours for that?

No I have to count Schengen days. Fortunately UK is more generous with 6 months.

@Silversitters thank you for that helpful intel. I will favorite more sits but I never seem to see the supposed alerts or when I do I can’t seem to figure out which favorite has posted new dates. Not sure if I don’t know how to see them or if they are already gone when I look. Is there a way to search on listings one has favorited?

I love London but there seem to be fewer opportunities there of late. On this trip I landed 1 week in Dulwich and 4 nights in Clapham. That was it.

I have been lucky enough to sit in Bath, Emsworth, Chester, Edinburgh and many other amazing towns and cities. I do hope someday THS can offer more diverse options.

Thanks again.

Yes, I can confirm that the our first listing was reviewed before publishing. No idea about the peak hour though.

I just meant that we would often get notifications of new sits in Australia when it was the middle of the night in the UK. I casually mentioned it to one of the HOs and they said they had made the listing about ten hours before I was notified.

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Ah, I was just wondering because you said June-November in Berlin.

Ah I see. It was Berlin and England for the 5 months. Only 1 month on Berlin.