Family vacations are awesome, and if you love to travel there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to do so when you have a child.
We’ve been traveling with our daughter, Poppy, since she was just a few weeks old. The problem is, when you’re supposed to be vacationing, you don’t have your typical army of childcare options and babysitters.
When it comes to carving out some time to relax baby-free, enjoy a date night, or just get away for a bit, we’ve investigated just about every option imaginable. So I’ve compiled the ultimate list of childcare solutions while traveling.
Childcare Options While Traveling
Like the idea of enjoying a couple of lazy cocktails at a local hotspot, a romantic dinner at a resort restaurant, or an adrenaline-pumping outdoor adventure?
#1: Bring Parents or Family Members
If you have the family members interested in traveling with you, this can be the most affordable childcare solution.
As somebody who gets along well with her family members, this is by far my favorite childcare option for traveling, because I get to spend quality time with loved ones, create some amazing multigenerational memories, and score some kid-free time while I’m at it.
For some, this might not be an enticing option because bringing the in-laws with you on vacation may sound like it negates the purpose of a … vacation. But, enlisting the help of family members boasts a two-fold benefit:
- Your little ones are bound to feel more secure with people they're familiar with
- You get added peace of mind knowing your kids are in good hands.
If grandma and grandpa aren't quite spritely enough to keep up with the kiddos, don't overlook a favorite aunty or trustworthy niece.
✓ Don't forget to include the babysitting factor as part of your invite
✓ Depending on how your family operates, it might be helpful to offer to pitch in for the cost of the trip
#2: Bring a Nanny With You
This option isn't as easy on the pocket as the first. But having a personal childminder at your beck and call can be a godsend, if you can afford it.
You’ll have to cover:
- Travel fees
- Hourly rate.
You’ll also want to settle on a daily childcare rate and routine before you jet off, and lay out a clear outline of your needs and expectations beforehand so your schedules are in sync.
Consider whether the nanny will have her own room or be hunkering down with the kids? Does she need to be on-call all day or only during certain hours? Will she be going on kid-friendly outings with the littles or entertaining/caring for them primarily from your holiday accommodation?
And last, but not least, will she have a daily allotment of time for recreation? Even nannies need a breather every now and then.
If you don't already have a nanny of your own and need a reliable, temporary solution just for traveling, Adventure Nannies is a great resource for finding a take-along nanny for your next trip.
#3: Hire a Nanny in the Country
Don’t have the funds to foot the traveling expenses for a family member or nanny?
We feel you. Traveling isn't exactly cheap. If bringing your own childminder along isn't an option, you could find a nanny at your chosen destination.
There are nanny services for just this purpose. You can find them by reaching out to childcare/nanny agencies in the country you’ll be visiting.
While going the agency route can sometimes be a bit costly, the upside is that these organizations typically have stringent screening methods in place to ensure that their nannies meet vital childcare criteria, and most will work with you to find the best personality match for your family.
#4: Hire a Babysitter
If hiring a nanny via an agency is too expensive, look around for reliable babysitters in the area.
Granted, leaving your kids with a virtual stranger in an unfamiliar country can be nerve-racking, but finding a trustworthy babysitter in just about any country is totally doable. Parents from all corners of the globe require childcare solutions.
Ask hotel staff for recommendations or browse relevant social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Many childcare providers utilize social media marketing to advertise their services and you should be able to get a good feel for the quality of care by scanning user comments. Of course, this means you’ll have to take extra time to get in touch and screen potential candidates yourself, but you’ll be saving a good few dollars in the process.
Having a tough time finding the perfect sitter? Care.com offers a broad range of babysitting services in over 20 countries across the globe.
#5: Find Accommodation with Childcare
This doesn’t work if you’re staying in an Airbnb, but if you’re opting for a more traditional accommodation like a resort or hotel, check to see if it has childcare services.
There are thousands of resorts and hotels that provide childcare services for vacationing families. Depending on the establishment, this can take the form of:
- Kids clubs: Most family-friendly resorts have kids clubs that offer age-appropriate activities that are overseen by friendly, trained supervisors. In fact, many resorts go the extra mile to ensure that little ones have a blast while parents unwind. So go ahead and lose the guilt — your kids are probably having more fun than you are 😉
- Hotel babysitting services: Lots of hotels offer babysitting services for parents in need of a little breathing room. Sometimes these services are only available during certain hours, so remember to schedule your downtime accordingly. You'll also want to find out whether the hotel has their own babysitting facilities or whether childcare is provided in-room. If you're traveling with a younger tot in tow, make sure to find out if there's a minimum age acceptance (some establishments only offer babysitting services for babies over 3 months old).
- Airbnb babysitting services: Going the Airbnb route is a great way to save on the cost of accommodation and meals. And with the ever-present need for childcare for vacationing families, more and more Airbnb are seeking out babysitting solutions for clients. Before you book, ask your host if they’re affiliated with a babysitting/nanny service or if they can provide a reliable recommendation. Some hosts are even willing to take on the job themselves for an added fee.
#6: Find a Drop-In Daycare
Traveling to the USA? Well, then you're pretty much sorted already.
Most cities across the country have drop-in daycares that will keep your kids entertained, fed, and happy while you go sightseeing or treat yourself to some adult-only time. And the best part? Unlike regular daycare centers, most drop-in daycares only close at around 9 or 10 pm.
Before you dive in, though, don't forget to do your homework. Check out the center’s credentials, make sure they're fully licensed, and that all staff are equipped with the necessary childcare skills — that includes first aid training, CPR training, early childhood training, and, of course, hands-on experience working with children.
Because these facilities can fill up pretty quickly, it's vital that you book in advance. Can't find a drop-in daycare in your city? Check out Urbansitter to review and connect with babysitters and nannies across the country.
See, guys? There’s a childcare solution for any trip. Even if you don't have a penny to spare for a babysitter or nanny, booking a room with a balcony (and a view, if possible) will still allow you and your partner to enjoy a candlelit meal or a couple of drinks while the kiddos are sleeping — hey, even a couple hours are better than nothing, right?
So, go ahead. Round up your crew and get out there. There's a whole world waiting to be explored — and, no, you don't have to do it all with a baby attached to your hip or a tiny hand clinging onto yours.