Travel planning: Learn from my mistake!

Hello fellow sitters,
This is likely common sense to most folks, so I don’t know how I could be so daft. But I had booked a sit for the actual day I was supposed to arrive to another country, and my flight ended up being cancelled at literally 4 a.m., when every normal human would be sleeping.

I have just had to re-book on a new airline (because United are useless) at enormous expense so I could still (I hope) arrive to my destination today, because I feel 100% responsible for my sit.

Thankfully, I had already asked the owner to make a contingency in case my flight was delayed, so the dog will at least be let out by a neighbor. But no way did I think my flight would actually be totally cancelled and I’d be left stranded.

So my new rule is “Always schedule sits for at least 2 DAYS after my scheduled arrival date!”

This last-minute scrambling is simply too stressful and too expensive otherwise.

Learn from my mistake!


100% THIS :arrow_up: @Haubigut.

We have sit rules, as I’m sure many do. We highlight it in our profile like this;

“ We have a policy of allowing flexi-days around your sit dates. With age comes wisdom (we like to think!) and we have been in a situation where an owner’s flight was cancelled so we were all glad that we could stay on to look after their dog until they could get home. If you are nearby, we try to visit in advance. If you are distant in the same country we will arrive near you at least one day ahead. If you are abroad we will arrive with days to spare. We are always pleased to be asked to stay the night before you leave; it’s reassuring for owners and pets alike.


@Haubigut it’s very humble of you to post this on the forum. We all gain experience with each sit we do. You had the foresight to have a back up plan discussed with the homeowners beforehand .

You determination to honour your commitment at great expense to yourself is the type of qualities in a sitter that homeowners are looking for .

Thank you for sharing this and I am sure it will help other sitters especially ones planning long distance/ international sits for the first time.

Please let us know when you have arrived safely at your sit .


Yes I always leave time before and after to cover travel changes, not just for me but owners as well. I always ask for a Plan B just in case for both parties. Since Covid, not so many flights run or are cancelled, trains in UK are unpredictable due to strikes and with the world suffering the disaster of fires and floods things can change pretty quickly and the best laid plans don’t always happen.


I like this @Saltrams - we always build in fudge factor to all our sits (& at least three have needed to use it) but we don’t emphasise it enough to the HOs. Am going to steal a bit of your spiel if that’s okay? :thinking:


You’re welcome @Cuttlefish (can’t get grilled calamari out of my head now when I see your posts! Will you share the story behind your screen name?)
Anyway, I recommend mixing the words up a bit, no sitter wants to be obvious plagiarists when presenting their profile!

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Yup, this is something I build in, which I discuss with HOs. I don’t trust travel to go without hiccups.

Even when I’m traveling at my own leisure, I don’t make reservations or book events and such on the first day.

And Europe and the U.K. often have strikes and such that disrupt travel.

It’s also good to check ahead whether there are holidays where you’re arriving, if it’s abroad, because you might have a challenging time getting squared away on the ground, getting food, etc. In the U.S., we’re often used to even a limited number of services being open on holidays. That’s not necessarily so everywhere.

That’s funny, because I think of this type of Asian snack, which reminds me of childhood and my dad. It’s popular in various parts of Asia.


:100: to some text adjustments, thank you @Saltrams My maiden name was Cutcliffe so it was a nickname at school that still gets used by half a dozen old pals (I’m 51 :joy::joy:) We saw one snorkelling a few weeks ago in Malaysia & it felt like bonding with a kindred spirit :smiling_face_with_three_hearts::squid: they’re amazing, like an underwater hoover. Sorry forum, fully off topic!


Love that @Maggie8K :two_hearts:

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@Haubigut what I love about your post is your lightbulb moment. Every mistake is a learning moment and you have nailed that plus shared it
for the benefit of others! :clap: :clap: :clap:


Hi @Haubigut,
After I verbally agree a sit. I’ll confirm my flight options to the HO for the day of and the day before. That way everyone knows what’s happening. Usually european sits that involve a flight from the UK many HO’s ask me to arrive the day before.
Also FYI flights to/from many European countries are covered by EU law which requires compensation if a flight is cancelled and you to be put on the next available flight to your destination regardless of carrier.
Good article from MSE site -

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Yikes! Glad it all worked out. As sitters, we’ve not (yet) experienced travel delays but we always buffer in at least a day and a half ahead of our sit. We’re Canadian and most of the sits we do are in Europe or Australia/NZ, so we have a bit of a distance to travel. We’ve also found the homeowners quite keen to host us (if they have space) a night or two prior to the sit. It works well for us to see the homeowner interacting with their pets and for them to get to know us. Win ↔ Win


Thanks, @Silversitters. I did make it to the sit! Only now getting online, though, after a much-needed night of sleep. :slight_smile:

I appreciate your kind and caring reply. It’s certainly been my goal to honor my commitments to HOs and their pets.

Wishing you the best (and easy travels)!


Thanks, @Crookie !
I do love to help others via my mistakes, if I can. Why earn wisdom the hard way and then keep it to myself? :sweat_smile:

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Thanks, @richten1 . This flight was to the US, but I was pleasantly surprised (really, amazed) that United made it easy for me to get a full refund. :tada:


Yumm! I love dried squid

You better hang out with me when you get to Asia then @IHeartAnimals :rofl::rofl::rofl::rofl::squid:

My husband is Caucasian and it took him a little while get used to the fact that I snack on dried squid versus potato chips. Now we have kids who all love squid and anchovies. Lol, :rofl: that’s what he gets for marrying an Asian.


@IHeartAnimals my hubby John spent a few years in Singapore as a child and the amah would feed him fish eyes and rice as a special treat.