Having a trusted caregiver to help you care for your kids while you’re on vacation is one of the many perks of having a nanny. But before you pack up and head out, there are some essential questions to ask yourself about traveling with your nanny.
Is travel part of my nanny’s job description?
Not all nannies want to or are able to travel with their employers. Some caregivers have their own families and don’t want to be away from them for extended periods of time. Some nannies volunteer, go to school, or have other commitments during their off time that make it next to impossible to get away. And other nannies simply don’t like traveling as part of their job.
It’s always best if you talk about travel during the interview stage and include the details in your nanny contract. However, if you didn’t talk about travel with your nanny up front, don’t assume she’s unwilling to head out on vacation with you now. Sit down with her and outline your needs and your plans, and ask if it’s something she’s willing to do. Once you have that conversation and decide how travel fits into her job description, it’s a good idea to update your nanny contract to reflect the new agreement.
Can I afford it?
When you take your nanny on vacation with you, it’s your responsibility to pay for all the costs related to her trip. That includes transportation (e.g. airfare, train ticket, car rental), lodging, meals on and off duty, and fees related to the activities she joins in on while on duty (e.g. amusement park pass, resort fees). Of course you still have to pay her normal salary plus any overtime she works. These costs can add up very quickly, and for some employers it’s simply too expensive.
What do I want my nanny to do?
A nanny’s responsibilities often expand when she’s traveling with a family. You may need her to care for additional children, or do more family-related tasks like grocery shopping, cooking, family laundry, or errands. Talk with your nanny about the scope of her responsibilities while you’re traveling. Communication is key; there’s a fine line between expecting your nanny to be flexible during travel times and expecting her to do things that are not part of being a nanny. Make sure you’re both on the same page before you leave home to avoid the stress of miscommunication during your vacation.
What schedule do I want my nanny to work?
A nanny’s schedule is often different during vacation time. You may need her to work a few very long days then have a few days completely off. Or work flexible blocks of time (e.g. from when your child gets up until after breakfast, from nap time until dinner, from bedtime until late night) throughout the day. Or you may just want to play it by ear and have her on call during the entire vacation. You have lots of scheduling flexibility during vacation time but make sure to put some boundaries in place to ensure your nanny gets adequate downtime to relax and recharge.
Remember, nannies are paid for their availability so if you want your nanny to be close by and ready to go to work at a moment’s notice, expect to pay a higher hourly rate during travel times or to pay a daily travel stipend.
Do we have a workable team approach?
If you’re a working parent, chances are you don’t work side-by-side with your nanny very often. However during vacations you’ll often be caring for your children in tandem, which can cause some confusion about boundaries and expectations. Setting basic guidelines ahead of time will make your time together go smoothly. Figure out what role you want your nanny to play in planning activities, handling discipline, and pitching in on other tasks. Do you want her to be a proactive partner, making decisions and taking the initiative, or do you want her to simply be an available extra set of hands, waiting for specific instructions from you?
Will having our nanny with us interfere with our privacy?
Many families want vacation time to be strictly family time. Having an outside person, even a beloved nanny, can change the dynamics of the vacation considerably. If privacy is important to you, make sure you provide your nanny with separate living accommodations. If she’s simply in a bedroom in the family condo, there’s a good chance you’ll be sharing time with her in the kitchen, living room, or deck, and you’ll get little “alone” time.
If you decide traveling with your nanny doesn’t work for your family, yet you still want to have some help with the kids and enjoy some adult time on your vacation, consider hiring an on call nanny. Most hotels, resorts, and condo rental offices can connect you with a reputable local agency that can provide a caregiver to meet your particular needs.