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How to Travel With Your Au Pair
Is your family participating in an au pair program? Hosting an au pair is an exciting, beneficial experience for both your family and your au pair. In addition to gaining in-home child care, you and your children will gain the rich benefit of cultural exposure — and your au pair will get to experience a brand new country.
During your time together, she'll become an important part of your family — eating family meals with you, celebrating special occasions and holidays, going to special events and activities and even accompanying you on trips. If you're planning an extended getaway or long family trip, your au pair will be included in your travels, as well. But what is the typical etiquette for traveling with your au pair?
Summer is one of the most popular times of the year for family vacations, and host families are no exception. Vacation is a time to recharge, reconnect, explore and enjoy — and traveling with your au pair can make it even more enjoyable. However, when planning a vacation for the family, the au pair's needs and hourly restrictions still need to be considered. Here are some questions and tips to consider when you're headed on vacation all together.
Is Your Au Pair Working or on Vacation?
The most important step in planning your vacation as a host family is setting clear expectations before you ever hit the road — that way, both your family and your au pair have a well-defined idea of what your trip will look like from the moment it begins.
First, determine your au pair's role on the trip. While continuing to depend on her for child care during vacation can give you more structure and time for your spouse or alone time, your au pair should still have time to enjoy herself on the trip. In fact, you might decide it's best for her to accompany you only as a family member and not worry about working at all.
Whatever you decide, make sure there's clear communication on how the trip will go and what your au pair's role will be. Here are three scenarios for you to consider when planning your vacation.
1. Your Au Pair Comes Along to Help with Child Care
If you are planning on having your au pair come along on the family vacation to continue to provide child care, her schedule and other requirements must still be met as if it were any other time. This includes ensuring she has her own room, does not work beyond the 10 hours a day or 45 hours a week, and still receives her weekly stipend. It's important to make sure your au pair has her schedule clearly laid out to prevent miscommunication while away from the home.
During a host family vacation with an au pair, any meals and admission tickets should be provided by the host family. For extended vacations, the au pair's time off must be accommodated as well (1.5 consecutive days off per week and full weekend off per month).
2. Your Au Pair is Traveling with You as a Family Member and Will Not Provide Child Care
When your au pair joins you on your family vacation as a member of the family and is not be expected to provide child care, the following should be considered:
- Your au pair will still receive her normal weekly stipend.
- She will have free time, but should be considered a part of the family.
- Cost of meals, and who is responsible for them, should be decided beforehand.
- Your au pair may share a room with the children.
- Price of tickets or admission to tourist areas should be paid for by the au pair if she wishes to join the family.
3. Your Au Pair is Traveling with the Family for Her Personal Vacation
If your au pair decides to join the family during her personal vacation time, she must have her own room, be free to do as she wishes, and she will be responsible for her meals and any admission tickets. Since this is considered her vacation, her weekly stipend should be paid at the start of the vacation.
What Will Hotel Arrangements Be?
Before you pack up and head off for your family vacation, make sure you know what accommodation arrangements you and your au pair are comfortable with. Depending on whether she will be working or taking a vacation with you, she may need her own room in your vacation home, share a room with the kids or stay in an adjoining hotel room. Whatever your living arrangements during vacation, make sure you continue to keep appropriate privacy boundaries and time arrangements between yourself, your children and your au pair. This way, you can all enjoy an exciting, relaxing vacation!
What Will Expenses Look Like?
Expenses are an essential part of your family vacation planning, but they can also cause issues if you don't work them out beforehand. If your au pair is coming along to offer child care during your trip, you'll need to cover all her expenses and continue to pay her stipend. If she's coming with your family on her own vacation time, you'll still be responsible for her stipend, but she will need to take care of her own meals and other expenses. If you're taking her along as a family member, however, the rules are less clear — you'll have to look at costs, decide what you're comfortable with paying and discuss arrangements with your au pair before you take off on your trip.
No matter what, address these issues before you go! When you and your au pair have everything planned and everyone knows what to expect, your family trip will be a fun time you'll never forget.
To learn more about managing a host family vacation with an au pair, or about EurAupair’s amazing au pair services, please contact EurAupair today!