To need a car or not need a car - that is the question

Hi, I looked through topics on this and there was a similar one made on April 7th by Off_Leash but I’d like to expand on it, so I created this.

I’d like to (re)raise an “issue” and a solution regarding:

  1. Sitters need a Car
  2. Use of car Included

I don’t own a car and so I typically gloss over many listings that say Sitters need a Car (SNAC) unless I’m really interested (and then my next thought is “how can i make this work?” even before getting into the listing). Having said that, I’m not necessarily looking for sits where the car is included because frankly, although it’s a nice option (I do drive), I enjoy being somewhere where most amenities are within walking distance which for me, would be within 30 minutes one way (I’m referring to essentials like food not sights). I mean if it’s a nice walk why wouldn’t I?l

Some homeowners would never think of walking 30 minutes one way for their groceries so they put SNAC. But, the more I’ve started to look at sits saying SNAC, I see that once you get into the description, many homeowners talk about how walkable their area is or how close transit is. Thing is, I have to read down into many SNAC listings (which technically would exclude me) just to check on the walkability/transit.

I realize that homeowners can put something about walkability/transit in their headline but why use up valuable real estate on that, when they could be featuring their home and furr-faces? A suggestion is a middle ground that TH could introduce that’s additional to the only two options for HOs. So how about a 3rd “button”? Example:

  1. Sitters need a Car
  2. Walkable/Transit options
  3. Use of car Included

If it’s important enough to have the the car options shown up front, then surely it’s important enough to show sitters that there are walk/transit options right away too (environmentally conscious) without having to scroll through down into each the posting.

As a bonus, TH may find that it increases the amount of applications some homeowners would receive - ones that sitters without a car may have normally skipped over, simply for that reason. It just seems to work for everyone, while also being a lot less work.


Yep, a lot of people agree with this.

Also, if you go to the magnifying glass, you can search “need car” and see quite a number of posts discussing this very thing.

@Leftcoastofcanada I agree. I saw a listing recently that I thought was great. They said car needed but then went on to explain walking distances to local shops, restaurants and points of interest. They mentioned terrain as well. Nearest public transport and regularity was mentioned. This to me as a non driver helps me decide whether I want to apply for such a sit.


Good morning @Leftcoastofcanada and thank you for posting your very clearly presented suggestion. We will pass this feedback over to the product team. I’d welcome this, or a version of, as an option, especially when we are looking at international sits. Thankyou.

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Hi I am new and just learning all the ropes. Although most amenities are within walking distance some attractions are not and our transit system does not run 24/7 or go to the attractions. Where I live there is so much to see nature wise that they may prefer to have a car to get around.

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Yeah, I agree with your thinking. I think so long as you spell that out for sitters, they can decide how important it is for them. We always rent a car because we want access to things like that, but some sitters prefer to use transit, know how to organize themselves to shop etc on limited schedules, and don’t mind missing out on the local attractions.

Would love to have a filter on this so you could avoid having to rent a car.


Came to forum for this reason! User interface from a sitters perspective could use some refinement for sure

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I don’t necessarily need a car when I sit. I do need to find a sit that has local transportation. Is there any way to filter out sits that require the sitter having a car?

I agree with this well-thought-out suggestion. I much prefer walking 30 minutes rather than jumping in a car and driving 10. One has adventures when you walk. You meet people with dogs, you get to see intricately painted houses up close, you get to admire the vegetation, and last, but not least, you get the exercise. Public transportation is an opportunity for adventure too. I’ve been automatically passing over SNAC listings, but if there were a third option I would definitely check them out.

As a disengaged observer, I support @Leftcoastofcanada’s proposal. We are gas-guzzling eco-dinosaurs who go nowhere without our car; for me that pleasant 30 minute downhill walk meeting interesting folk and admiring the foliage means a less-than-pleasant 50 minute slog back, carrying my shopping in biodegradable bags which split because of the rain that started the minute I left the shop! But I digress…
The proposal is eminently sensible & could only assist in what should be the primary aim of matching suitable sitters to suitable HO’s & their pets.

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I wish THS would ask homeowners to provide:
Distance from nearest supermarket etc. (or, if any of the stores have grocery delivery avl)
Distance to nearest bus stop/ train station/ major airport
If it’s a smoking/nonsmoking household
Dimensions of the bed the sitter will be using (since apparently UK king size bed is totally different from a US one, and the european doubles are another thing again).

I can deal with almost anything, but these are things I need to know up front. Can I walk to a store, is there any sort of public transit, and can I sleep with at least a little elbow room.

Just realised I made myself out to be someone who won’t go anywhere except in a covered litter borne by 8 uniformed Nubian slaves! There’s a world of difference for me between going for a lovely walk, unencumbered by baggage, with or without a dog and trudging to a supermarket & carrying my own shopping home.
So, a house that’s at the end of a 2 mile farm track, leading off a country lane that’s another 5 miles to a village shop and no bus service is SNAC but a house 2 miles from some decent shops and a bus stop half a mile away definitely isn’t.

I agree on the smoking & bed size; transport I have covered elsewhere. In the old days I would have said that these were things one could discuss with the HO but now if you’re not in the first 5 you can forget amiable discussion. ANY discussion in fact. If the communication element, once so vaunted as valuable has been closed off, there needs to be more tick-box information provided in listings.
Lordy, I hate small beds!!

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Needing a car or not can be very subjective. I prefer to walk rather than use public transport or car but others are not used to doing this or don’t wish to use their time in this way. There is another issue however - I am a sitter but can see from the perspective of some owners especially those in more remote areas that they might consider a car essential to deal with the potential necessity of a dash to a vet for a sick or injured pet. Having previously lived in rural Devon it would have been incredibly difficult to get to a vet quickly without a car although I could walk 30-40 minutes to the nearest village for supplies with no problem.

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What an excellent point. There’s no dialling 999 for an injured cat!

I’ve seen sits posted near where I live, saying this, which i know for a fact, are in areas very well served by public transport. I don’t think HO’s realise that this puts some sitters off. Reading the feedback sometimes gives you an idea.

I just have to say, I enjoy your writing style. :slight_smile: The down and then up the hill again description illustrates my current situation rather well. Those rain clouds seem to just wait for me to lock the front door and venture out!

Last year, we had a sitter with no car sit for 6 weeks and they seemed to do well. (No car is provided by us, except in the event of an emergency.) They rented a car once for specific sightseeing.

Next year, two more of our upcoming sits (two weeks each) have been filled and the sitters will not have use of our car (again, unless there’s an emergency for them or the pets). After discussing it quite a bit during the video chat, they are each fine with it. Here’s part of why that is. This excerpt is from our home listing on THS:

"…Because stores are within walking distance ( 1/2 mile), we provide a wheeled cart for carrying items and reusable canvas bags for your convenience.

Also, the small town of Mount Joy has restaurants, a brew pub, pharmacies, retail shops, etc. They are all walkable from our home.

A bus (part of the Lancaster County system) runs right through Mount Joy and can take you to the larger city of Lancaster, where there are the vibrant arts, music, theatre, restaurants, farmers markets, museums, historic homes, and brew pubs.

To use the bus, you pick it up along the main street in Mount Joy, which is where the nearest grocery store is – only about 1/3 mile from our home…"