Traveling with a Nanny or Babysitter

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It may seem decadent, but I’m not at all embarrassed to admit that we travel with our Nanny when we think it will make the trip more enjoyable. Bringing her along gives us the flexibility to see the sights we’re interested in at an adult pace and to go out for a few special meals. We also know that our kids are well cared for and comfortable with a familiar person when we’re out and about.

It is important to set some ground rules up front so that everyone has the same expectations of the trip. Your nanny may be expecting an all expenses paid vacation while you’re expecting round the clock care for your kids in exchange for footing the bill. Furthermore, your nanny may not have a lot of experience with travel and may need some help adjusting. Finally, it can be difficult to travel with others, you need to set things up to minimize any possible points of friction… after all, you’re probably hoping that you’ll employ your nanny for years, and it's not much of a vacation if everyone comes home disappointed with each other.


Passport & Visas

Verify that your nanny has a passport and the visas she needs, you don’t want to find out at the last minute that there is a problem. If your nanny does not have a passport, you might want to help get things started, and you’ll certainly want to pay for any application fees

Expenses

It’s important to have clear communication about expenses up front. What will you be paying for on the trip, and what will the Nanny be responsible for? Here are some examples:

  • Travel (air, train, etc) to and from destination
  • Hotel or Vacation rental expenses
  • Meals. You might have a different policy when dining with family than when the nanny is dining alone
  • Activities and admissions with kids or family
  • Telephone calls home
  • Transportation at the destination
  • Luggage storage at an airport or train station
  • Internet café expenses
  • Remember that your nanny will probably have some extra expenses while she is traveling. She'll eat more meals out, need to call home, and have ATM fees when she withdraws money. If you are traveling out of theo country, exchange rates can also make even everyday needs more expensive. Consider giving a lump sum stipend to cover these expenses.

Sleeping arrangements

You’ll need to decide whether you expect your Nanny to share a room with your children or want to provide a separate space. It’s more expensive to give the Nanny privacy, but giving her a space to call her own can help her be better rested and more mentally available to your kids during the day.

Whatever your decision, you should communicate clearly with the Nanny about what to expect.

Compensation

You’ll need to arrange to pay the Nanny while you’re on the road. If you don’t have direct deposit set up, you may want to give her post dated checks that someone can mail to the bank for her or pay her in cash in local currency.

Decide whether you will provide a per-diem to compensate her for the extra difficulty and expense of being away from home? (some people pay up to $50 per day, but expect round the clock availability in return.) We give a small amount extra if we feel that expenses are more (due to the low dollar) in our destination.


Schedule

It’s important that your communication about work hours and overtime pay be just as clear while you’re travelling as it is at home.

I go so far as to bring a printed calendar with me on trips and write the planned hours & actual hours on each day.

We set expectations in advance with the nanny that the work schedule will be different than it is at home. Here’s how we have chosen to do things:

  • We set a schedule at the beginning of each week of travel. During the week we track the actual hours and adjust the schedule as needed.
  • We pay for each hour that the nanny is in transit with us, and expect her to work during that time (ie. From the time she arrives at our home until the time we reach our destination).
  • We set up the schedule so that we have more hours with the kids during the day than we would at home and several date nights a week. The travel hours usually eat into the schedule enough that we have lots of daytime hours with the kids to enjoy our destination.
  • We always give a day off after a travel day. Travel days can be stressful and it’s good to give everyone a little time apart to recuperate. Also, we want the nanny to have time to scope out the destination before she’s responsible for entertaining the kids.

Work Expectations

Not being in your house and in your usual environment will bring up a lot of new questions about what’s expected. Also, unless you have a live-in Nanny, this is probably the first time you’ve shared a space. You’ll want to make sure you answer any questions the Nanny has and set expectations up front about what will be different and what will not change even though you’re all “on vacation”

  • Remind your nanny that the kids continue to be her first priority when she is working. Any personal sightseeing or shopping needs to be done on her own time.
  • Once you’ve ironed out exactly what you expect in terms of work schedule, remind her that because you’ll be sharing a space, she’s likely to get woken up at night if the kids wake up and that the kids will see her coming and going. Explain that of course you’ll all try to be sensitive about this, but make sure she realizes that she’ll not be able to totally turn walk away from work as she might at home.
  • You’ll want to decide what types of activities she can take the kids to do. Can she take them on public transit? To a museum? How should she expect to be reimbursed for these activities?
  • Nighttime work is a little different than at home as well, if you’re sharing an apartment, is it ok for her to go to bed once the kids are asleep? Or do you expect her to wait up until you are home? Our policy is that the nanny can sleep once the kids are settled, as long as there is a baby monitor or some way for her to hear them and attend to them.
  • Review any special safety issues related to your destination (E.g. only bottled water, no taxi rides, parts of town to avoid, etc)
  • You’ll want to decide what types of activities she can take the kids to do. Can she take them on public transit? To a museum? How should she expect to be reimbursed for these activities?
  • Is the nanny still responsible for household chores that she would normally do in your home?
  • What is your policy about the Nanny bringing guests into your shared space?
  • If there are any limitations on how much luggage your nanny can bring (perhaps you have booked a rental car with a small trunk) or if you anticipate needing her to have hands free to help with the kids on travel days, let her know in advance so that she can pack light.
Related Links
Top tips for Traveling With a Nanny or Babysitter

Comments

  1. Amy

    October 27, 2008 at 6:56 p.m.

    Thank you for these tips. We just hired a nanny, and we wondered what would be expected if we traveled with her. This lays out what needs to be covered in advance very well.

  2. Michael

    July 23, 2010 at 5:34 p.m.

    This applies not just to travel but also in general, but make sure when hiring your nanny in the first place that you're on the same page with regard to expectations. A nanny is not the same thing as a housekeeper. If you expect your nanny to do household chores, make sure that expectation is communicated up front, before you offer them the position.

  3. Christy

    March 5, 2011 at 4:44 p.m.

    I was wondering how much do you pay a nanny to travel with you? I have never hand anyone who is not family watch my children but my husband and I are considering vacationing out of the country and I would like to know how much a nanny for a week would cost. Airfare and food would of course be paid for so how much else would be involved in this? Thanks for the info

  4. Debbie

    March 9, 2011 at 2:39 p.m.

    Christy,

    Every arrangement is different, and some people might be willing to give you some childcare hours in exchange for the airfare and food. Most likely, though, they will still have rent to pay at home, and will need an income.

    In the area where I live, the going rate for a nanny is between $14 and $19 / hour and we have always paid the same hourly rate when we travel that we pay at home.

    Hope this helps!

  5. krista macdonald

    July 10, 2011 at 4:45 p.m.

    I find it very scary that one would ever expect 24/7 care for an extra small sum of money. Nannies are people who have lives outside of your home. They need sleep, food, personal space and stimulation the same as you and your kids. Consider these things when traveling with your nanny. Also consider that this is NOT a vacation for them. No matter how you look at it- that one day out of 6 that she has off does not count as a vacation. The nanny is taken away from their home, life, bank, comforts and should be compensated for this. The nanny should receive their own room, all meals paid for, transportation paid for and extra wages for the extra hours.

  6. kathleen

    August 7, 2011 at 2:20 a.m.

    I am a traveling nanny for the family I usually nanny for. We are traveling internationally for three weeks in one location, and smaller travels within that time. The family is not paying me. They have given me a room with their three year old. The three year old is up throughout the night while trying to overcome jetlag, so I am on nighttime duty, sometimes up to eight hours - then expected to work the next day up to 12 hours with NO PAY.
    The family has paid for all my traveling expenses and food, but there is no pay for all my work including being up all night,

  7. Debbie

    August 7, 2011 at 8:27 a.m.

    Kathleen,

    I am very sorry to hear that you are in such an uncomfortable situation. In general, it's best if all the details including who sleeps where and work expectations are arranged in advance so that there are no surprises. Once you are already on the trip, it can be tricky to renegotiate without damaging the relationship you have with this family.

    At this point, the best thing you can do at this point is to sit down with the parents after the 3yo is asleep for the night and have an open and respectful conversation about how the trip is working out differently than you expected. Try to be concrete about solutions, for example - if they need the daytime care in order to work, you might suggest that they help with the nighttimes or that their child sometimes sleep in their room so that you can catch up on sleep.

    Good luck!

  8. michelle cook

    January 14, 2012 at 2:13 a.m.

    hello i am about to travel from Australia to America I a have booked 5 star acommadation and have organized my nanny to have her own room and all meals paid for. i want to know what is fair to pay my nanny i have told her that she will be able to have lots of time off over the four weeks as I have booked her into many shows with us as a family and told her I will do nights and she can have as many days off as she likes. she just told me that because she is away from home that she needs to be paid for 24 hours for the four weeks? I know that she wants to visit friends on a number of occasions while we are away and it looks like she wants to be paid? Any thoughts as I want to be fair.

  9. Megan

    February 7, 2012 at 8:19 p.m.

    Hi,
    I'm currently in the process of discussing the possibility of being a traveling nanny for a family that travels stateside and internationally on a regular basis due to business. I will be sitting down with the mom soon to discuss all the juicy details but wanted to know what the general going rate for a traveling nanny stipend is? I have not done any traveling nannying before and honestly don't know what to expect, but like it was said, I do have bills that have to continue to be paid even while I'm gone nannying. Any help is appreciated! Thanks!

  10. Debbie

    February 7, 2012 at 8:40 p.m.

    Megan,

    Traveling nanny jobs are rare enough that it's tough to figure out the "going rate." Instead, I'd focus on figuring out a plan that feels equitable to both parties and allows you to be both financially healthy and have good work/life balance.

    Good luck!

  11. Alexa G

    June 2, 2013 at 8:39 p.m.

    I am traveling with a family I currently nanny for. They are providing a place to stay for most of the trip, but decided they do not need me for a week in the middle of the trip and have left me to fend for myself in a country I am not familiar with, nor speak the language. Should they pay a stipend for a hotel expense? At this point, they have not offered to pay anything, but suggested I use my vacation days towards this. Thoughts on how to approach this situation? I feel as if this is something that should be covered as I agreed to the trip far before knowing I would be given a week off (which I am grateful for) minus the fact that a third if not more of my earnings of the entire trip will have to cover the expenses of staying in hotels.

  12. Debbie

    June 3, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.

    Alexa,

    Yes, they should be covering your accommodation and possibly a stipend for other increased expenses (e.g. you'll have to eat out instead of cooking, or perhaps exchange rates make your destination more expensive than home)

  13. Ash G

    June 29, 2013 at 6:25 a.m.

    Nannies that travel should be compensated for all 24 hrs in the day. I would not do it for less than $400 US per day. In no way is it a holiday and if they make you have time off during this was not your decision and you should be compensated.

    Negotiate before you leave but it is a tough job and you should be paid for the whole trip. If they aren't willing to pay and don't think that your time is not worthy of being paid for don't do it. There are families that will. If you are good at what you do and can be on point for the whole trip. Name your price :-)

  14. Net Nanny

    http://babysittersearch.com.au/
    July 27, 2013 at 4:21 a.m.

    Hello Everyone,

    What a wonderful post about a topic which really can create problems when things are not spoken about upfront.

    There always needs to be a bit of give and take on the part of the family, but also on the part of the Nanny.

    Obviously a trip around the country or even a trip overseas is reward in itself for most nannies, but then again it could be seen as being 'Just one of the perks' of being a Nanny.

    As a nanny l am always happy to go away with families and l treat it as a 'working holiday' which means l am there to work, but get the extra privileges when my services are not required.

    The job (The Family needs) always come first, but at the same time us Nannies do need a few hours off each day to relax and unwind. Most families are perfect and do not place unreasonable expectations on Nannies and most Nannies do not expect a "all expenses paid holiday"

    I think the family and the Nanny need to discuss the upcoming holiday/trip and be sure to ask the questions that may be floating around in your mind..... no point holding back with the "What abouts" or the "What ifs" All parties need to have a fair understanding of what is required, what is being offered and what is being covered and included during the holiday..... of course there must always be willingness on all sides for compromise, adjustments, variations and a whole lot of understanding.

    Can l also just add the point that l do not believe a Nanny has to be paid for 24 hours a day because we are travelling. It is a case of each Nanny must decide if she is actually excited and interested in travel then there should be no need to feel like you must be paid for the entire 24 hours a day. If you feel like you must be paid for every single hour your on holiday with the family you nanny for then perhaps you need to find another family to work for. Yes you should be paid a higher rate for being away, but keep in mind the holiday itself is likely to be a reward in itself.

    Bottom line is why be greedy.... just be fair and enjoy the family you work for and enjoy the adventure and excitement of seeing new places.

  15. magdalena cruz

    November 24, 2013 at 7:44 p.m.

    Hello,am a f/t Nanny I don't live in . I just travel with my boss and the baby for the first time and I was just wondering how much does a nanny get paid when they travel. See I left with her Monday at 2:00 pm to the airport and we didn't get home until Wednesday around 9:30 pm . But see my working hour at her home are from 7-6 M-F the thing is I can seem to get how much she has to pay me and also I share a room with her and the baby she pay for my plane ticket & meals
    Any help I would appreciated Thanks

  16. Heather

    December 3, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.

    I have been a nanny on and off for over 16 years. I have been a nanny for 3 different families full-time and have traveled with all of them. My experience is that the family will pay for all travel expenses (flight, hotel, meals, etc).

    While on the family's vacation (a business trip for me), I usually get paid for all hours that I am with the children at my normal hourly rate. I include any hours that I am alone with the kids and all hours that we are all together.

    If I am sleeping in the same room as the children then I consider that as part of the hours that I am with the children as I will be the one to take care of their needs if they wake up and may possibly be disturbed by their sleeping habits.

    If the family does not want to pay for 24hrs while on their vacation then they have the option of providing me with my own room and let me know what hours they are expecting me to be on duty. I usually get nights off or if they would like to have a night or two without the kids then they will trade me some hours during the day for those nights.

    It's important to have some time to yourself so you are not working 24/7. I see myself as a professional and I like to ask the family what benefits they receive while on business trips for their job. I usually get the same benefits that they receive from their job. I have had many great experiences while traveling as a nanny. It can be mutually beneficial for the family and the nanny.

  17. Barbara from Ants in our pants Travelblog

    http://ants-in-our-pants.com/travel-nanny-thailand-children/
    March 21, 2014 at 1:54 a.m.

    I just wrote a post about travelling with a nanny. We made very good experiences and would do it definitely again.

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