While traveling with a nanny may seem like something reserved for the rich and famous, it’s not solely for the extremely wealthy. In fact, almost everyone can afford some form of a travel companion, but should you?
What Are The Benefits?
The luxury of traveling with a nanny provides you all the time as a family traveling, but with an extra set of hands. It allows for one-on-one time with your significant other during your holiday or times of relief when you need a break. Instances where a child might be bored and not want to participate in an activity, having a nanny provides an alternative to everyone doing the same thing. On plane rides, or adult-only functions, having someone along for the journey can be a great idea.
Whilst our family has never traveled with a designated travel nanny or babysitter, we have traveled with family members who have tagged along to help us out during some of our trips. Our daughter’s first trip abroad was a destination wedding when she was just eight weeks old. Since I was in the wedding, I knew there would be times where my husband and I would need a little extra help. We asked my mother who was also an invited guest if she would be willing to join us on the trip and help out during certain times. As a “Nani” to her 9th grandchild, she was more than willing to take on this task.
There have been other instances where family has helped us on different trips – I am so grateful for those experiences. But I can’t help but wonder what advantages and disadvantages to traveling with a designated nanny versus a family member would look like.
What Kind of Childcare Should You Consider?
Bringing a nanny on holiday has proved to be the only way to travel for some, but that doesn’t mean it is for everyone.
If you are looking for occasional help than maybe traveling with a friend or family member is the right solution for you, but if you are looking for full-time help during your travels, you may want to consider hiring help. There are online services like Adventure Nannies and Nanny Poppinz that charge a fee, but will help you find the right nanny to take on your next holiday. They will even help you negotiate terms and pay.
Other options may include finding someone more along the lines of an Au Pair who will help out in exchange for room and board (and a free trip.) It is possible your babysitter from home may be interested in tagging along on a trip, or a family member who is willing to help out from time-to-time. Determining which type of experience you are looking to have will help to guide you in the next direction.
If you BYOB (Bring-Your-Own-Babysitter) you have the comfort of better knowing their caretaker and the ability to set your expectations ahead of your travels. Aligning the terms of babysitting during your trip is a key step. What expectations do you have? What expectations will they have? What will be included? Will they be on call 24/7? And what sort of compensation should be given?
My husband and I have never traveled with a babysitter but we have often talked about this idea and wondered what type of an agreement would be appropriate. For us it might look something like this:
- Free Airfare (But would that be in Business or coach?)
- Free Accommodation
- Free Meals
- Compensation (For time spent working; see expectations)
It would be important to set expectations of when your babysitter/nanny is on the clock and when they are off. Communicating these terms and agreeing upon compensation before taking off on your journey would help things to go much smoother and avoid any awkward situations.
- Assistance during flights if needed
- Help during meal times
- Help during night-time routines
- Possible daytime or nighttime activities with child
For us, we might try to use our miles to fly a nanny with us or cash-in hotel points for an extra room. These redemptions can help us save on the total cost and make the option of traveling with a nanny more affordable. Other than true cash compensation and meals, the majority of this could be quite affordable and reduce stress during your trip.
If you are not ready to bring a nanny or traveling babysitter along with you or don’t have family members willing to take on that role, you may want to try to find child care once you arrive at your destination. Many hotels offer a babysitter service on-site with fees that are billable to your room (you’ll earn points). If there are not babysitting services, you could ask the concierge if they can recommended a local agency. Outside of your hotel, try searching online for sites like Care.com which offers babysitting services in 20 different countries and allows you to search through profiles and interview babysitters ahead of time.
This family is searching for a nanny that will also join them on their travels and it seems they have laid out all their expectations ahead of time. We don’t find ourselves in the same category unfortunately.
While we have never traveled with a babysitter or nanny during our trips, I can attest to those times when family members have traveled with us. I enjoyed moments to myself knowing that my daughter had someone watching her, allowing me to read a book by the pool, or go for a massage. The purpose of family vacations are meant to be spent as a family, so maybe skip the sitter and enjoy all the time you have together.
…But I can appreciate where it would be nice to have a little extra help.
Have you considered taking a family member, friend or paid help on a trip? What were some of the challenges and drawbacks you experienced/foresee?