Use of owner's car not possible, renting too expensive, third option!

I would like to make people aware of other possibilities except using the owner’s car or renting one for the length of the stay.

I would never let a sitter use my car because of insurance reasons being very difficult in Germany but also because “my car” doesn’t actually belong to me. It’s a leased vehicle and I wouldn’t be allowed by the company to give it to someone else. The same applies to my husband’s car. His is owned by the company he works for and the only one else allowed to drive is me.

We live in the center of a small town and many shops and restaurants are easily reached by bike or foot so for most errands a car isn’t necessary. We have 4 bikes, two regular ones and two electric, which the sitters can use anytime.

However if sitters would like to rather drive than use public transport there is car sharing! One of these car sharing companies have cars available around the corner from our home and it can be rented for hours or days. It’s much cheaper than a car rental which you won’t need most of the time and you never have to worry about parking it. Simply return it and for your next trip reserve a new one!

So if an owner says the sitters can’t use their car I recommend not to discard the listing as not suitable for you but check (or ask the owner) if car sharing is available nearby. This is getting more and more popular especially in cities where finding a parking spot is either very time consuming and/or very expensive.


That’s great advice @Düsenzofe as there are many options available depending on where you are staying.

We spent many years travelling around the world house sitting and had no car, so became good at being creative. Although to be honest, we did often get offered a car, especially if dogs needed to be taken to specific areas for exercise… something that often happened in rural England when no way to walk them safely from the house on country lanes. But certainly, with pets that can be exercised from home, or with cats, and where public transport is available, we’ve often used that very happily.

Funnily enough I am just looking at a short break in Paris and we will be leaving our car at home, taking the train instead and using public transport in the city. It’s by far the easiest way to get around Paris without worrying, as you say, about parking spots and hefty fees. Wish we could get our electric bikes there too!! I’m also hoping to prove to myself that now we’ve had to settle for a bit, we haven’t lost the ability to travel lightly :slight_smile:

Thank you for sharing your tips here for sitters but also for owners… particularly where a car isn’t available. Adding some alternatives to the listing might help sitters see how the sit might still work - a great idea. “Car not necessary” could be a useful search term :slight_smile:


Thank you @Vanessa-Admin!
As I browsed most of the topics here, because I would like to be as prepared as possible for the time we might also host sitters from other countries, who might not arrive by car, I only read about renting or using the owner’s car but nobody mentioned car sharing.
This is really a great option for people who don’t want to give up driving completely for the stay but also don’t need a car all the time.
Of course it depends on the location. It’s probably not practicable at rural location with the next town miles away but in a small town like ours it’s perfect.
I agree concerning Paris! There public transport is the best way to get around and it already was easy to use 40 years ago when I was there for the first time.


We very much agree @Düsenzofe. We traveled 23 countries in Europe for a year and only had a car twice, which were purposefully rented - for a road trip in Romania (Transfagarasan highway) and one on the Atlantic coast of Ireland. When it came to house sitting we found public transportation to be wonderful, especially compared to what we’re accustom to in most US cities. In fact, our desire to drive completely changed and we prefer not to drive. Especially abroad because we simply don’t know the rules of the road well and the road signs could be in a language we don’t know.

@Vanessa-Admin We love the idea of Car not necessary! Our only thought would be the same as we have with the tag “highspeed internet”. It should really be quantified. 10MB download on an internet connection is technically not highspeed, but some believe it is. And when getting around town, a couple miles to a grocery store doesn’t scare us away, but for some it’s unreasonable without a car.


I think it really depends on the location. Even in Germany, where public transport is good in cities there are villages where you wouldn’t be able to do any shopping without driving there. It’s because of “optimizing” the routes, which only means they make them more cost effective but not more convenient for the users :wink:
For example the village where I grew up is only 3km from the next town but to go there by bus takes at least 45 minutes, because the bus goes to 4 other villages first. You are definitely faster when you walk🤣


Completely understood! We keep our not having a car in mind when we apply for sits. Often times we can figure out an approximation of the home on a map and can search the area to understand amenities and their distances (street view is wonderful to see how ‘walkable’ a street is!). If we’re not able to determine a location from clues in the listing, we discuss feasibility with the homeowner before committing.


@Düsenzofe , @ScrewTheAverage and @Vanessa-Admin , what do you do if you have to transport a pet to the vet?

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If it’s not urgent there’s the option to use a car sharing car or taxi, because the nearest vet is not far (2-5 minutes by car).
@mars If it’s really an emergency I always leave my brother’s and my mother’s phone numbers. He, my sister in law or my mother can drive the sitter to the vet or animal clinic and, very important, pay for the treatment.
There also are neighbors who would be willing to help. It’s all in my welcome guide so no surprises there😊


@mars This is a conversation we always have with the owners, and why in many cases, particularly with dogs, we’ve had a car provided internationally. Many owners, don’t think about the emergency situations and it changes their view. There has to be a reasonable answer to that question for us that is achievable for us to take a sit with no vehicle. With cats it’s not so difficult… we sat for 8 months over 3 repeats with 7 cats in San Miguel de Allende in Mexico without a car. We discussed this with the owners and we knew we could get a cat to the vets by taxi very easily.

This is a very valid question though and definitely one to be discussed at sit outset if no transport available on either side.


Definitely! As a home owner and with, unfortunately, one not too healthy cat (although there might be months between vet appointments), this needs to be discussed and we arrange everything for a possible emergency.
I always tell myself, that the more you prepare the less is going to happen :pray:t3::blush:


@Düsenzofe and @Vanessa-Admin answered with exactly how we would. It’s a discussion to have the homeowner in advance. Often times the vet is in walking distance, there is a car available for emergencies, or a nearby emergency contact. Ride share or taxis (where available) are always an option as well.

We go a step further and when an owner isn’t going to be readily available, we ask what lengths they are willing to go to save their pet(s). It’s a conversation no one wants to have, but trust us from experience, when a time comes where you need to know the information, it’s worth the awkwardness.


Yes… we call it “asking the difficult questions” … we’ve looked after a lot of elderly pets and like you know from experience that having discussed these more difficult outcomes, it empowers us to act and do the right and best thing in an emergency. The worst thing would be that either the home owner was unavailable to contact, or that the time spent clarifying things in an emergency wasted precious time in getting the necessary pet care. Like you say it’s not an easy question, but a very important one. Good to bring that up here.


LoL @Vanessa-Admin , I still think 1.5Mb is exceptional!


Thank you for that @Düsenzofe.
I learned something today.
Not sure if I am allowed to mention the company and please edit if not, but Enterprise- carclub in the UK do this, and I have found out that they have a car and a van parked about a 5-minute walk from my house.
I can book online and for a very reasonable rate, plus mileage, I can access a vehicle using my mobile phone, for as little as an hour hire at a time.
Something I will probably use soon.

In fact, I am surprised that THS don’t have an arrangement with a car hire/hotel/whatever group offering a discount to members - there must be enough members to be able to negotiate some kind of discount?


Yes, it’s really easy to use car sharing. When you have registered you simply load down the app. Then you can reserve your car and unlock it with the code you get. It’s almost like bike rentals in the big cities.
In Germany there are several companies already and I don’t see why we shouldn’t post their names, because it makes sits without using the owner’s car much easier.
Let us know how your first try went @Petermac


Car or not? In about 30 sits, I’ve rented once, driven my own car to the sit about 10 times, used public transportation maybe 10 times and used the HO’s car about 10 times.
For my 3 international sits, the HOs’ offered the car - one in Somerset was out in the country and there was no reasonable bus to even get groceries, in Edinburgh I was set up to use the car but never did, and on Jeju Island you really needed a car as the home was in a ‘country’ subdivision.
Here in the US I’ve done sits w/o a car - Portland, OR, Denver, CO and Brooklyn, NY for example. Other sits really weren’t reasonable w/o a car - a Los Angeles suburb.
Here in the US in many cities we have local short term rental but I’m not sure whether you need a US license and the same for international companies.
In the US, there is a car rental company called that allows people to rent their own cars. Lots of fancy luxury cars on the site but also cars for $15 to $20 a day for an older smaller car.

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The thread isn’t about wether you might need a car or not. I only wanted to add another option which is available in Europe. I am not sure if these car rental companies in the US are the same as car sharing here in Europe.
As far as I know you can pick up a car for example at the airport when you arrive, drive until you reach the nearest possible station at your sits address and drop it off. There’s no office where you actually rent the car as verification of your license is all done by creating your account. Once you have it set up you simply book the car, pick it up by using the code and drop it off at the point you requested during the booking process.
Like this everything is much quicker than regular car rental, which may take up to half an hour at the office.
The car sharing company that is around the corner of our house is book-n-drive.
Here’s a screenshot of their prices .


Well I also have this problem here in southern Italy. People can only afford third party insurance so if you have a crash, bump, the car is stolen or written off I have to pay from my own pocket. For this reason nobody else can drive my car. There is no public transport here. Not busses or taxis, nothing. So people coming to me, as I live about 10k from the nearest shops, must have a car. You can’t even get here from the airport. There is no way around this and I hope I make it clear in my profile.

I’ve used Turo in the USA . People rent out their car . Great prices when rentals are so expensive in the USA


Thank you so much for sharing this information. Germany is on our list for 2022 and even if we don’t find a housesit, this is great to know for traveling. We prefer public transport but sometimes it’s not convenient. Not something I would have ever thought of.