Friday, March 11, 2011
Travel Together: Family-Nanny Travel Tips
Families will want to think through their child care needs while planning the trip. Will the nanny be working the same hours as their usual schedule? What expectations do you have for the nanny during the trip? How will the nanny be compensated for their services to the family during the trip? Planning ahead for expenses is important. It is typically understood that all transportation, lodging, meals and required activities are covered by the family. The nanny is responsible for her personal expenses (souvenirs, activity expenses when not on duty, etc.). Discussing all aspects of the trip with the nanny well in advance of the trip is essential – any specific dress expectations, type of lodging accommodations, special activities and specific child care responsibilities. Both parties should be sensitive to the fact that spending so much time together can be complicated.
Nannies should make sure that they are “up” for travel with their employer family. The potential of travel with the family should be discussed when interviewing with the family initially if possible. Understanding that this is the family’s vacation and not your own is crucial. Knowing the family’s expectations will help in the preparation. Being with the family in a vacation setting isn’t the same as working from the family’s home. Be prepared for additional or different duties, and likely a change in schedule or routine. Off hours may also be different due to schedule changes or plans for the day or evening, not to mention your location.
Travel with the family I worked for was always a special experience. We made car trips to Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Arizona, Yellowstone and points west. Plane trips have included Washington D.C., Florida, Hawaii and Mexico. We enjoyed a Disney cruise, and also spent 5 days in London. Some trips have included other family members or friends. Planning, patience and flexibility were our watch words. Having a team-work approach helps each trip go smoothly from packing to destination and home again.
No matter the children’s ages, their interests were incorporated in the planning. By balancing activities and downtime children of all ages can be wonderful travelers. Researching your destination helps in planning clothing choices, activities and age appropriate venues. We also made sure that we brought little comforts from home – games, stuffed animal, familiar snacks, their favorite music, etc. In planning we also tried to be thoughtful about the shifts in the children’s usual routine. Keeping changes to bedtime and mealtimes to a minimum kept us from major meltdowns, as well as pacing sightseeing and other activities to include downtime and snack breaks. Don't over schedule! You'll be glad you chose a more relaxed approach.